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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Volleyball rolling through the Big East



***********SPECIAL REPORT**************


The Cards are the 2012 BIG EAST Volleyball Tournament Champions with a straight set defeat of Marquette 25-19, 25-23, 26-24. Both Lola Arlansbekova and Gwen Rucker with double-digits kills in the win! The NCAA Selection Show is next Sunday at 4 p.m. on ESPNU . We'll have a full recap of the action later here at CARDINAL COUPLE.

CONGRATULATIONS to the 2012 BIG EAST Regular Season and Tournament champs....your UofL VOLLEYBALL TEAM!


( Jeff McAdams gives us the who,what,where,how and why of Cardinal Volleyball as they roll through the BIG EAST Tournament)


Big East Tournament recap

The Louisville Volleyball team has shown no signs of weakness to speak of in the Big East tournament so far.  With sweeps of first St. Johns and now Cincinnati in dominant performances, they have advanced to the Big East title match to be played Sunday at the Al McGuire center in Milwaukee, WI.

Cincinnati defeated UConn in the 4 seed vs 5 seed match to meet up with the Cards in the semifinals.

The Cards will now match up against Marquette University who handled the USF Bulls in the other semifinal match to make also make it the Big East Championship.  South Florida provided the only upset of the tournament so far as they overcame Notre Dame in their quarter-final matchup.  Marquette beat 7th seeded Pitt in their opening match.

So, the stage is set for UofL to achieve the double Big East championship...both regular season and tournament...all they have to do is beat Marquette.  They've done so twice in the past, but...of course, there's always that age-old wisdom that its hard to be a reasonably competitive team 3 times in a season.

The match will be televised on ESPNU at 2pm EST.


The match against St. Johns was never really in any doubt.  When the score hit 7-1 in the first set, and UofL already had 4 blocks, I figured it wasn't going to be too much of a match.  Paul already mentioned Gwen Rucker's hitting percentage in his recap yesterday, but she also had an amazing 9 blocks...almost a double-double with blocks.  That's kind of like getting a double-double in basketball with one of the stats being steals.  It happens occasionally, but its pretty rare, and if you see it happen, you've usually watched a really amazing match...or really amazingly awful match if you're cheering for the other team.

On the other side of the semi-final bracket...played before the UofL match...Cincinnati and UConn engaged in a great struggle, taking the match to 5 sets before Cincinnati was able to pull out the win over the Huskies. It's always great to have your opponent go to 5 sets in the match before they play you as the compressed tournament format of a match played every day, leaves little recovery time from a long, hard-fought match like that.


One of the classic matchups of teams in the Big East Tournament is UofL vs Cincinnati.  These two teams are usually among the class of the conference, and frequently meet in the Final match.  Cincinnati has been off their game this season, however and only came up with the 4 seed, putting them on the same side of the bracket with us.

Again, the match wasn't terribly competitive, with the first two sets coming in at 25-16.  Gwen Rucker continued her impressive play, hitting .765 (15 of 17, with 2 errors) with good contributions from others.  This UofL team just has so many weapons, it can be any player that steps up to have a good match, and sometimes several do.

Cincinnati started to pull it together a bit towards the end, making a real competition of the last set, forcing the Cards to come from behind to take the set and match at 25-23.


So its down to Marquette and UofL.  This will, of course, be the third matchup of these teams this season, with UofL coming out victorious in both previous meetings.

Marquette is a team to be reckoned with an RPI ranking of 33.  While UofL has demonstrated that they are the better team in general, you still have to play the game to see who comes out victorious on this particular day.

Around the NCAA

An epic battle occurred this week between Oregon and Washington.  #6 Washington won a slight upset over #4 Oregon, with a fifth set score of 25-23!  The normal 5th set winning score is 15.  It doesn't really have much implications for rankings, but I would've loved to have seen that match.

We'll likely have a change in the #1 position this week as #1 Stanford lost to #8 Southern Cal.

Otherwise no upsets yet that would give Louisville the opportunity to move up another spot in the coaches poll.  There's still another day of play in this week, though, so its still possible.

At this point, I don't know all of the details of the math behind the RPI, but it seems very unlikely that we could drop enough with the remaining two matches to not host 1st and 2nd rounds.  Losing to Marquette wouldn't hurt us much in the RPI, but losing to Belmont...who upset Morehead State to claim the OVC's automatic NCAA bid, as well as the opportunity to play Louisville next weekend at Cardinal Arena...would hurt, I don't think it would do so enough to drop us out of hosting range.

It does torpedo my idea of having a sub-regional of all Kentucky teams at the KFC Yum! Center for the first and second rounds, though.  I was kind of hoping for first round matches to be Louisville vs Morehead, and Western Kentucky vs Kentucky.  With Morehead not getting the bid, its quite possible that Belmont will get sent to Knoxville and the land of orange, and another team would get brought in to Louisville, likely from further Purdue.  The selection committee can do just about anything, of course, but Louisville vs WKU, and Purdue vs Kentucky, for first round matchups could be what happens.  I suppose it would be better to play Purdue on our home turf in the sub-regionals, than to advance and play them on their home turf in the regionals, though.

All this ultimately just amounts to speculation, of course, and we'll just have to wait and see what transpires...there could be other shakeups, yet.

( Best of luck to the they look for the BIG EAST Tournament title today against the Golden Eagles in Milwaukee! As mentioned, the Cards are on ESPNU at 2:00 )

Finally, today we leave you with the "Three Stooges Moment" in college football this year video. Watch at the 45 second mark, as Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville pulls a "Moe" on an unsuspecting assistant coach following a botched attempted play. Anger management issues? Yeah, you betcha...



  1. Oh, and this is what I get for writing these things after coming in from a night out with friends.

    I forgot that I wanted to also recognize Caitlin Welch for setting the single season dig record for Louisville. After taking over the all-time #1 dig position against Cincinnati in the last regular season conference match-up, she goes and sets another record against Cincinnati in the conference tournament.

    Liberos never get enough acknowledgement, I don't think, since the stats collected for volleyball never seem to really capture the value they provide to the team, so I wanted to make sure to recognize "C-Dub" for this.

    1. Caitin has been the backbone of Anne Kordes' squad this season. Her stellar play is one of the main reasons the Cards have had the success they have this year in Volleyball.

      IF you watch the Marquette v. Louisville game today, take some time and focus in on all she does during a play. Talk about intensity!


    2. Agreed completely. If I had a critique of Caitlin's play in past seasons, it would have been that it was a little lackadaisical.

      Not this year, though. She has really turned the effort knob up to 11 all season.

      Good advice from Paulie, take some volleys and keep an eye on her movements and efforts and you'll be amazed at how much territory she covers and how quickly she moves.

      Oh, and as a tangent, listen for the "C-A-R-D-S" cheer anytime Marquette takes a timeout. Her father always leads those.

  2. All the girls really looked great out there this afternoon. What was really impressive is that when Marquette threatened to either take the lead or gained a lead late in the second and third games, the Cards found an answer in either Gwen or Lola and shut them down. Katie George is a real fireball out there.

    --Joe Hill--


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