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Saturday, November 25, 2017


Louisville Volleyball Scores Ticket to Big Dance

Louisville defeated Syracuse yesterday afternoon to clinch at least a share of the ACC regular season championship. ACC Volleyball does not have a conference tournament, so the winner of the regular season earns the ACC's automatic qualification to the NCAA tournament. As Louisville holds the tiebreaker over Pittsburgh, the Cards are guaranteed the AQ. Louisville could still win the conference outright, if Pitt falls to Virginia today, however that is rather unlikely.

While Louisville managed the win yesterday, finishing with a .900 winning percentage in the conference season, they didn't do so without earning the "Cardiac Cards" moniker. After holding off a reverse sweep effort by North Carolina on Sunday, it was Louisville that found themselves playing from behind after losing the first two sets to Syracuse yesterday. With Louisville a bit out of sorts, hitting only .211 and -.050 with 19 total errors in the first two sets, Syracuse managed to win 25-27 and 23-25. Louisville found themselves behind the eight ball and their NCAA hopes may have been on the line with yesterday's match.

Fortunately, Coach Dani Busboom-Kelly had a strong halftime message for the Cards, who came out
taking care of the ball much better. After 19 errors in the first two sets, Louisville had only 15 errors in the final three. In the third set, Louisville worked their way out to a 14-9 lead and maintained the lead, holding off a late Syracuse to push to win 25-21. In the fourth, the Cards took advantage of 0.000 hitting by the Orange to get a big win 25-15. Thus set up a decisive fifth set. After back and forth scoring for the majority of the set, Wilma Rivera took over the serve tied at 10. Rivera has a wicked serve and was able to put the Orange off balance enough that the Cards were able to win four straight points to force Syracuse to call time out at match point. Syracuse won two points out of the timeout, but a Jasmine Bennett kill secured the match for the Cards. 

Bennett had a great game, with 10 kills and 9 block assists. She had five errors but most of the team didn't hit well so we can let that pass. Also having a great game was Melanie McHenry, who finished with a double double. Her hitting percentage wasn't great (she had a triple double if you count her errors), but she got 20 kills and 12 digs, peppering in 4 block assists. Molly Sauer was solid, with 20 digs, 2 aces, and only one service error. Maggie DeJong also went to double digit kills with 14. Wilma Rivera may have had the best game of all, though, finishing with 49 assists, 3 kills, 5 block assists and 12 digs. She had one error and one service error. 

Louisville is playing great volleyball right now, and it's great that a team that finished so poorly last season and was picked to be inconsequential in conference this year has outperformed all expectations. The team is full of talent and Coach DBK is only scratching the surface of putting her mark on this program. The Cards will find out their fate with the NCAA selection show tomorrow night. All of the matches from here on out will be tough, so it may be best to hope for Louisville to get stuck in Kentucky's region, just so there are more opportunities to see them this season. Cardinal Couple will be on the lookout for the latest news affecting UofL Volleyball. 

WBB Sets New Scoring Record en route to Win

Murray State came into the Yum! Center yesterday afternoon to get an opportunity against a top-5 team. They were promptly dispatched, as Louisville set a new scoring record in the victory, winning 115-51. The Cards jumped on the Racers early, winning the first ten minutes 29-8. The halftime score was 57-22 and the beatdown was on. Murray State apparently received the halftime speech of all time, as they came out of the break with their best performance of the game, losing the third quarter only 26-23. Louisville responded with another dominant quarter in the final stanza, finishing 32-6. 

Murray State is not off to a great start in their first season under their new head coach, sitting at 1-4 after yesterday's game. The Racers were picked to finish fifth in the OVC with the preseason player of the year. Their one win came against Northern Kentucky, but they lost by only 1 point on Tuesday against Lipscomb and by only 8 earlier against Butler. Reports say they showed promise in yesterday's game, so they'll have plenty of opportunities to improve as the year goes on. 

Louisville played the way you would expect a top 5 team to play yesterday, but they put up a school record 115 in ways you might not expect. The Cards made only 7 of 21 three point shots and only 14-17 free throws. They shot only 1 free throw in the second half. It was two point efficiency that the Cards rode to victory, scoring 66 points in the paint and posting a 62.5% shooting efficiency on two point field goals. The Cards got 76 points from their bench, showing that they've got quality depth at all positions. 

Louisville had five double digit scorers and two double digit rebounders, with Bionca Dunham posting an amazing 19 and 16 in only 21 minutes. Early season Player of the Year candidate, Asia Durr, had a less than stellar outing with only 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal in 20 minutes. She shot only 20% from the floor. When Durr is shooting the ball well, she's unstoppable. When she has a cold shooting start, though, it is a bit tougher for her to get back on track. Walz and Durr will have to work together to develop strategies to keep her out of her own head when she isn't shooting well so that she can turn around cold starts. Myisha Hines-Allen put up 8 points and 12 rebounds in only 14 minutes and peppered in 2 assists and a block. Kylee Shook was the leading scorer in the game with 21 points in 19 minutes. She shot 3-4 from behind the arc and 8-10 overall. Dana Evans, Arica Carter, and Jessica Laemmle were great distributors, with totals of 18 assists and only 5 turnovers.

The C-A-S-E Report

I still haven't figured out quite how to best represent these statistics, so the CASE Report is still fluid, but let's see how the Cards fared in the blowout.

C-Care - The goal here is to determine how well the Cards took care of the ball. Sheer volume of
turnovers is an OK indicator, but as was pointed out in the comments, adjusting for the quality of the opponent's defense would help put the value in context. Louisville finished with 15 turnovers, which isn't great, but it's far less than Murray's 26. According to the old model, Louisville would earn a lowercase 'c'. Using the NCAA statistics site, we can see the opponents average turnovers forced, then compare UofL's performance to the average. Before yesterday's game, Murray State forced an average of 17.5 turnovers/game. Louisville had 85.7% of Murray's average. I'd like to see that number be below 66.7%, so we'll stick with the lowercase 'c'.

A-Assists - Louisville finished with 25 assists. I've decided to not track assists compared to the opponent. We'll look at assist ratio and assist/turnover ratio. An assist ratio of >50% will be worth half a letter and an ATO ratio of >2 worth the other half. Louisville had an assist ratio of 53.2% and an ATO of only 1.667. That's a lowercase 'a'.

S-Steals - Louisville had 15 steals and Murray State had 10. I like the comparison of this stat to the opponent because of the way it compares the two defenses' performances. More than the opponent is half a letter and they were well over the 5 steal benchmark for the other half. We may need to address that benchmark. Definitely an uppercase 'S'.

E-Efficiency - Efficiency is the mark of the offense. We'll work free throws in here instead of comparing it to the opponent.
o with 75% free throws for that half of the letter and stick with 45% from the floor for the other half. Louisville shot a whopping 55.3% from the floor and 82.4% from the stripe. That's enough for an uppercase 'E'.

That wraps up the CASE report with Louisville earning a c-a-S-E. As mentioned earlier, they played the way you expect them to against a very outmatched opponent. Let me know what you think about the revamped CASE report in the comments below. Louisville now gets a break before going on the road to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers of Indiana on Thursday.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

Jared and I are out of the studio today, but that isn't stopping Paulie and Jeff from holding down the fort. They'll be joined in studio by Julie Sullivan and may have other guests in the works. They'll break down some Louisville wins, with Jeff surely to wax poetic about the huge volleyball news. They may even mention a specific football game today. Tune into WCHQ FM at 11AM for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. You can listen at 100.9 FM or via the WCHQ app or

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Until next time, Go Cards! (Beat UK!)


  1. I'm not at all worried about Durr's shooting. She missed her first two or three against Ohio State and we all know how that ended up. I think that yesterday was one of those games where she didn't have a chance to get herself going (due to the early and often substitutions) and didn't really need to.

    Murray was obviously terribly overmatched at all five positions, but there was still a lot to like - most notably Dunham's 10 offensive rebounds.

  2. This is the new version of the breakfast club the UofL bench.
    Bee Dunham,kylee, Jazz & Dana the freshman Burger girl wow!


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