Softball Clinches Series at Pitt
Louisville softball clinched their first ACC series yesterday by defeating Pitt 9-5. The Cards recorded a season-high 12 hits including three home runs.
Pitt stole a game from Louisville on Easter when they hit a walk-off home run to bring the series to 2-1 in Louisville's favor. The Cards would not allow the Panthers to even the series and keep the race for ACC Tournament qualification any tighter.
Celene Funke found herself on base in the top of the first inning and did what she did best- run. The senior stole second and then relied on a fielder's choice later in the inning to zoom home for the 1-0 lead.
Louisville added a pair of runs in the second starting with a Maddy Newman single. Gabby Holloway got Newman to third on a single and then was replaced by Jenna Servi on the base path. Servi stole second to get both runners in scoring position. Sydney Bickel's sacrifice fly plated Newman and Carmyn Greenwood followed by a single to score Servi.
The scoring continued into the third inning for the Cards. Makayla Hurst used a hit up the middle to reach first. Taryn Weddle came up later in the inning to send a shot over the center field wall to push the lead to 5-0.
Bickel found herself at the plate again, this time in the fourth inning, and beat out an infield hit. The older Greenwood sister would come up big again with a double to the outfield wall that sent Bickel all the way home for the 6-0 lead.
Pitt would not go down without a fight as they would put multiple runners on base in the fourth inning and used back-to-back hits to score two runs.
After a quiet fifth inning the Louisville bats (lowercase "b" as to not be confused with the Triple-A team that plays at Louisville Slugger Field) awoke once more. Louisville did all their damage with two outs started with a Funke single. She then recorded her second steal of the game which later proved irrelevant as Taylor Roby sent a blast out to left field for her ninth home run of the game. Hurst would follow for a solo shot as she enjoyed her fifth trot around the bases.
The Panthers did add a run in the sixth to put the score at 9-3. A two-run shot in the seventh cut Louisville's lead to four, but the Cards registered three outs over the next four batters to seal the win.
The Cards improve to 13-15 on the year with a 7-10 ACC record. A .412 win percentage puts the Cards at ninth in the conference out of 13 teams. Only the top ten teams qualify for the ACC Tournament at Ulmer Stadium in May. There are still 20 conference games remaining.
Louisville returns home on Wednesday to host a Top 10 Kentucky team. Let's hope we see the same result as the last time the Wildcats stepped foot on campus.
Volleyball Rakes in Awards
Louisville Volleyball seemed to assert their dominance over the rest of the conference this week as they swept the weekly awards and claimed four of the five major postseason conference awards.
Anna Stevenson was named ACC Player of the Week had a strong presence in the Cards final two matches of the year. She recorded 11 of Louisville's 22 blocks while also posting 21 kills and adding five digs and a pair of aces.
Anna DeBeer earned her third ACC Freshman of the Week honor. The younger of the two Anna's, DeBeer tallied 24 kills, nine digs, four aces, and three blocks with most of those coming in the season finale.
Although Pitt's Kalya Lund earned ACC Player of the Year, the Cards took the other four awards.
Dani Busboom Kelly was named ACC Coach of the Year after leading the Cards to their third ACC Championship under her tenure. Louisville finished 14-2 on the year and earned the overall 11-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Senior Tori Dilfer earned ACC Setter of the Year after commanding the position all season. Her 10.93 assists per set ranked one of the highest in the country.
Amaya Tillman was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year after an impressive showing all season. Her 1.65 blocks per set ranked first in the ACC and third in the NCAA.
DeBeer heard her name called again, this time for ACC Freshman of the Year. Her 3.17 kills per set ranked 10th in the conference and she recorded a .283 hitting percentage.
DeBeer, Dilfer, Stevenson, and Aiko Jones were named to the All-ACC First Team. Tillman was named to the All-ACC Second team and DeBeer was named to the All-ACC Freshmen Team.
The Cards open the NCAA Tournament on April 15 at noon on ESPN3 (online). The 11-seed Cards will face the winner of San Diego and Corpus Christi. A victory would guarantee Louisville's sixth ever Sweet Sixteen appearance.
Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!