Cards Sweep Samford to Advance
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.
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.
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
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!
Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
Until next time, Go Cards!