Defense Powers Cards to Sweep of Syracuse
Syracuse opened their season with a pair of wins over Pittsburgh, the heavily favored team in the ACC. Since then, though, things haven't gone as planned for the Orange. Last weekend, they lost at Notre Dame 3-1 and 3-0. Last night, hoping to get back on track against, they hit themselves out of the gym. The Cards used strong defense and capitalized on Syracuse errors to secure a 25-15, 25-12, 25-21 sweep.
In the first two sets, Syracuse out-erred the Cards 25-4. That is not a recipe for success. Though they were able to win the error battle (by just one) in the final set, the Orange still hit negative on the day. When you outhit your opponent by over 300 points, as Louisville did last night (.310 to -.023) you should be able to come out victorious. Even in the third set, which saw Louisville commit 7 errors to Syracuse's 6, the Cards still outhit the Orange .273-.143. Louisville was just clicking last night in all the ways that Syracuse wasn't.
Friday night saw Tori Dilfer's return to action after she missed the trip to Boston College and she quickly quashed any potential setter controversies. Dilfer completed 25 of the teams 29 assists, picked up four kills, an ace, and three digs. She had just one error and no service errors. While Rachael DeMarcus was very good in Dilfer's absence, Tori appears to be secure in her starting position.
On the defensive side, Ayden Bartlett was again tapped as the primary defensive specialist. As with last week, she was not as effective as Coach Dani Busboom-Kelly would like. She finished with just four digs, coupled with three service errors and a receiving error. Positively on defense, Louisville finished with 12 blocks. At the helm of that effort was Amaya Tillman, who was all over the net. Tillman finished with three solo blocks and six block assists in addition to her five kills.
Offensively, Aiko Jones led the way hitting .500 with 11 kills. Like Tillman, she also had six block assists and added two aces to finish with 16 points responsible for. With just two errors and two service errors, she had an outstanding evening.
Following the match, Coach DBK was in high spirits, but held reservations for today's rematch. She provided a postgame quote:
"Our big focus this week was to be better defensively. We held Syracuse to a negative hitting percentage so we executed really well. The challenge is far from over as we know Syracuse will be much better tomorrow."
Better today indeed. Syracuse is highly unlikely to commit so many unforced errors, but Louisville's blocking was very encouraging. The Cards and Orange will be back in action tonight at 7PM on the ACC Network Extra.
Field Hockey Heads to Wake Forest
After an undefeated start to the season at home, Louisville will wrap up their season from here on out on the road. Having already knocked off Duke and UNC and getting revenge against the BC, Louisville will get the road set underway in the driver's seat in the ACC. As Jared noted on Twitter last night, if field hockey teams were being ranked this season (they aren't due to the ACC being the only conference playing), Louisville would probably be ranked 1st. At 4-0 with wins over the teams mentioned, it's hard to make any argument to the contrary. Louisville will probably be happy to get to open this road slate with Wake Forest, a team not known for being one of the top teams in the league. So far this year, the Demon Deacons have played just UNC and Virginia. The Deacs opened with a loss against the Tar Heels and took one of two from the Cavaliers. As this will be Louisville's first road game, it will be Wake's first game at home. As this is the first of the double header, today's game will act as the conference matchup. Action will get underway at 12PM and the game is listed for ACC Network Extra.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
We're back in action this morning for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. We've had some good results this week and there are plenty of games to preview as well. We'll get underway at 11AM on the Cardinal Couple YouTube Channel and the rebroadcast will be available on YouTube following the show with the podcast coming a bit later on. Join us as we chat about the joy and excitement of UofL women's athletics.
Until next time, Go Cards!