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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Volleyball Gets Road Win; Field Hockey Takes Home Loss -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Volleyball Sweeps Duke

In the first match of a four match road trip, the Louisville volleyball team got off to a pretty good start with an easy sweep of the Duke Blue Devils in Durham. Duke was only 8-9 on the season up until last night and only 1-3 in conference, so a clean win was to be expected. However, it was still the first conference road match of the season for the Cards so it was good to see them put together a solid performance. 

The Cards wins in last night's sets were progressively more lopsided as they completed the match at 25-21, 25-17, and 25-14. Louisville's biggest struggle came obviously in the first set as they worked to get their feet under them. The Cards had only 3 errors in the set, but Duke was able to stay around throughout the first set, even taking a lead past 15. Louisville's only other real trouble came in the third set when the Blue Devils went on a five point run to tie the set at 7. That would be short lived, though, as Louisville ultimately ran away with the set and the match.

Louisville's hitting last night was fantastic, as the Cards finished with a .430 percentage and had just 7 errors in the match. Noting that Duke had 3 blocks, that means the Cards hit the ball out of bounds just 4 times in the match. One of those just barely clipped the antenna. Louisville finished the final set with no errors and hit .630. The Cards were truly dialed in, as the Duke block number could have been much higher, had Louisville not shown excellent recovery ability on numerous block attempts. On the flip side, Duke also had some pretty good recoveries, as Louisville was only able to muster four total blocks. The Blue Devils would go on to finish with 20 errors, though, as they struggled to keep the ball in play.

As you might have guessed by the stats in this one, Louisville's primary standouts were on the offensive side. The Cardinal leading the way yesterday may come as a bit of a surprise, as Anna Stevenson paced the team in kills with 11. Stevenson also finished with just one error on her 17 attempts to finish with a whopping .588 hitting percentage. Other strong offensive performers were the usual suspects, with Melanie McHenry and Aiko Jones combining for 17 kills and 4 errors on 38 attempts. Tori Dilfer also assisted on 34 of the team's 36 assisted kills and had 4 kills on 4 attempts of her own. Claire Chausee returned to the floor in the final set and put down 4 of her 5 attempts with no errors. 

The one blemish for the Cards was one that has been ongoing throughout the year: service errors. Louisville finished with 7 of them, compared to just 3 aces, and they came from unusual servers. Four players had an error and no ace, and they aren't the ones you'd expect. Alexis Hamilton, Mia Stander, Tori Dilfer, and Claire Chausee couldn't put the ball in play, and Dilfer, uncharacteristically, added three assisting errors. These are certainly things to clean up, but in such a dominating match, they're a fairly small portion of the game film to have to correct.

Louisville is back in action tomorrow as they'll travel just up the road from Durham to Wake Forest to take on the Demon Deacons at 1PM. The match will be available on ACC Network Extra and should be another important road match for the Cards.

Field Hockey Falls to Virginia in Rain Adjusted Match

With last night's field hockey match due to start at 6, I thought Jared had made quite the error when he texted the group to say that Louisville had fallen 2-1 at around 6:30. As it turns out, the Cards and Cavs had made the decision to move the match start time to 5PM to try to avoid the worst of the rain. That would have been a great plan for Louisville, had it have worked. Unfortunately, as the rain began to fall in the fourth quarter, so too did Louisville's handle on the game. The Cards gave up two goals in the final period to lose their slim lead and drop the match 2-1 to 9th ranked Virginia.

This one was truly a tale of two halves, as Louisville fairly well dominated in the first half, and the script flipped in the second. The Cards scored their only goal off of a penalty corner in the first quarter as Mercedes Pastor knocked home the goal with assists by Meghan Schneider and Alli Bitting. They'd go on to earn four more corners in the half but would score none of them as their only other "goal" was waved off by the referees. Virginia did pick up two shots on goal in the first half, but both were saved away by Hollyn Barr. Louisville led in overall shots, penalty corners, goals, and, presumably, possession.

The second half, though, saw the Cards fall away. The offense was unable to continue to apply much pressure, earning only 3 shots in the entire second half. While all three were on frame, Virginia was able to keep the Cards out of the cage. The Cavs, on the other hand, put up 8 shots with 5 on frame, only three of which could be saved by Louisville. Hollyn Barr played well, earning four saves and nearly blocking the last goal as it was off of her legs, but she ultimately took the loss. Sam Minrath saw her first action for the first time in awhile as she was called upon early in the fourth quarter to act as the goalie for a penalty stroke. She saved the shot, at the time keeping Louisville ahead 1-0, but was immediately subbed back out for Barr. 

Yesterday's match put the two teams virtually even, as the Cards are now 10-2 (2-2) and Virginia moves to 10-3 (2-2). While a top ten conference win would certainly be nice, it doesn't hurt too badly to lose it. Louisville will likely drop from their fifth spot this week in the rankings, but they should stay in the top 10. The Cards will get their chance to get back on track on Tuesday when they take on the Cardinal of Stanford at 12PM at Trager. The match will be aired on ACC Network Extra.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

Jared and Paulie have left us to our own devices yet again, so Jeff and I will do our best to bring you the show on our own. We'll be as in the dark as everyone else about whether or not Daryl will join us, so tune in to the show for a surprise. We'll talk about the continued strong starts for Louisville's fall sports and preview the next couple of games for the Cards. The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour is brought to you each week by the fine folks at WCHQ FM. Tune in at 11AM as we bring you the joy and excitement of Louisville women's athletics. WCHQ is available at 100.9 FM, the WCHQ App,, or on Facebook Live.

Until next time, Go Cards!

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