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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Volleyball Rolls in First Round of Tournament -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Sweep Samford to Advance

Louisville invited three teams to the L&N Federal Credit Union Arena this weekend with the intention of beating two of them so they could invite a few more to the Yum! Center next week. The Cards got off to a good start in that goal, as they took on the 16th seeded Samford Bulldogs in the late match yesterday evening.  After Purdue took care of Tennessee in the first game of the evening, one half of Saturday's matchup was set. Louisville didn't take too long to set the second half.

The Cards cruised in the first set, winning 25-9, and would not have much more difficulty after that. The first saw Louisville finish with 15 kills and just one error to register an 0.636 hitting percentage, which contrasted greatly to Samford's -0.071 first set hitting. The Bulldogs were, on the whole, outclassed in this one, which isn't terribly surprising considering it was a 1/16 matchup. While it's possible, there is a lot less room for tournament magic in volleyball than basketball. Louisville had advantages in size, speed, and accuracy, and all three showed up. The Cards finished with six blocks, which isn't all that many given their history, but it was six more than Samford. Of the six, three came in the first set, leaving five more errors in the set for Samford to find on their own. Louisville committed two service errors along with their one hitting error (an errant shot by Amaya Tillman) to give Samford the three more points they scored on top of their six kills.

While focusing on the negative there at the end, I should say that the set was never in doubt. Louisville took the first three points before ultimately going up 9-2. Samford managed to cut the deficit to 11-5, but six points would be the smallest deficit they'd face for the remainder of the set. The second set, despite being Samford's best, was actually even less close than the first. While the Cards dropped to a woeful (sarcasm intended) 0.591 hitting percentage and Samford came up to 0.172, Louisville again took a 3-0 lead and this time turned it into 10-1. The Bulldogs were able to get the deficit down to 16-8, and even had a 3-point run to get to 20-11, but their points were very spread out and Louisville won the 24-13 set point on a Samford service error.

The third saw Louisville commit four errors, continuing their odd trend of two extremely clean sets and one head scratcher, but it didn't make much difference as they pushed Samford's hitting back down below zero. It was Louisville mistakes that made the third set "close" as Samford actually reached 10 points before Louisville got to 20. In those 10 points, though, Louisville committed all four of their errors and had two service errors. They also scored 18 of their own points.  The Cards closed out the match on a 7-2 run, which started with a four point stretch of an Anna DeBeer kills, an Aiko Jones kill and ace, and a Raquel Lazaro kill. 

Speaking of Aiko Jones, she led the way for the Cards today. Aiko was the only Cardinal to pick up double digit kills, finishing with 11, as Claire Chaussee was defended well (she still ended up with nine kills). Amazingly, no player committed more than one hitting error, which contributed to Louisville's 0.514 overall hitting percentage. In addition to the 11 kills, Jones added an assist, two aces, just one service error, and two block assists. While her error was just one of Louisville's six (that can apply to hitting and service, funnily enough), her two aces accounted for all of Louisville's on the night. While 2/6 is better than the 1/9 registered by Samford, it still isn't great, and you'd like to see it cleaned up a bit. 

Chaussee added an assist and a solo block to go with her nine kills and also picked up seven digs. Amaya Tillman, unsurprisingly, was the defensive leader at the net, grabbing two solo blocks and a block assist. In the back, Elena Scott picked up 10 digs and added five assists. While they may not all of have been on Raquel Lazaro digs, Lazaro coincidentally ended with five of those. Anna DeBeer looked a bit more comfortable defensively, grabbing eight digs and contributing to a block assist. She also picked up five kills. Hopefully, that can be a sign that she is getting back to form at the right time for Louisville.

The Cards take on Purdue this evening at 6 PM in the L&N FCU Arena. While Purdue is not the ninth-ranked team the Cards faced in September, playing anyone a second time is difficult. The Cards swept that first match at home, so Purdue will be looking for revenge and playing for their season. Louisville, among many advantages, should be more rested despite getting the later match last night, as the Boilermakers took five sets to finish off Tennessee. The winner of this evening's match will take on Baylor, as the Bears held off a Rice upset bid in the 4/5 match. While every match from here on out will be tough, Louisville just has to keep their head down and focus on one at a time. Tonight's match, like last night's, will be on ESPN+. Should the Cards advance, every match for the remainder of the tournament will be on ESPN networks.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

We're back again this week with what should be a full house. We'll have the exciting volleyball win to cover, but we'll also have to talk about the unfortunate occurrence in the KFC Yum! Center earlier this week. All in all, we'll keep it light as we focus on the joy and excitement of UofL women's athletics. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

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Until next time, Go Cards!



  1. Hoping for a convincing win for Volleyball today against Purdue and that WBB can bounce back and handle MTSU in Murfreesboro Sunday..

    Blue Lou

  2. Hello Friends!
    Arthur Here !

    Hope Cardinals Volleyball delivers a good beating on Purdue tonight. We are headed to Charlotte in a few for the 1-1/2 hour trip to see our Tigers take on UNC for the ACC Football Championship. Hate to make the trip without Bea but we have a good and solid tailgating group going up and hope we can "kick the Heels".

    Your Friend
    #1 Clemson Fan
    Greer, SC


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