A busy Sunday for UofL women's athletics yesterday, with two programs active on Floyd Street (Softball and Lacrosse) and one in Omaha (Volleyball).
Unfortunately, not the results we hoped for...as all three squads fell to their opponents. Exciting games, for sure, but Louisville falling short in the results. Let's look at the action.
VOLLEYBALL FALLS IN FIVE SETS TO WASHINGTON
The VolleyCards looked to be on their way to the "Great Eight" last night against #6 Washington, but an almost unbelievable fifth set between the Huskies and Cards resulted in Washington advancing. They took the fifth set 15-13, after trailing Louisville 7-1 and 10-4 in the deciding set.
In that final set, the Cards came out on fire, after falling 25-14 in the fourth set. Louisville is the #1 blocking team in the nation and blocks provided six of the first seven points in set five for the Cards, who held the 7-1 lead.
Enter Maria Bogomolova for the Dawgs, .with Louisville up 11-4
She ran off seven straight serves against the Cards and the Huskies were suddenly, amazingly back in the contest with a 12-11 lead. She finally had a service error to knot the set at 12-12 and Louisville took their final lead at 13-12 on a Claire Chaussee kill...but Washington ran off the final three points of the match to take game and match 15-13.
Cardinal head coach Dani Busboom Kelly on the loss:
"It was a disappointing way to end a season. To blow a great lead is one of the worst ways to go down at the end of the year, in my opinion. I don't know if it has sunk in yet, that we lost the game, because we were in it. It felt like we had all the momentum and that we were going to win it. ...Hopefully, it is a learning experience for the players who are going to be back next year. It comes down to little things like fundamentals. Washington is a team that is really good at those. We knew that going in, We just didn't execute at the end of the game."
The evening started a bit late, because of the five-set thriller between Pitt and Minnesota -- which Pitt won, in upset fashion.
The first set between Louisville and Washington went to the Huskies 25-23. It was a set where UW led most of the way, with just two lead changes. The Cards drew within one point at 23-22, off a Anna Stevenson block, but the Huskies took two of the final three points for the "W".
Louisville roared back in set two. The Cards used a 6-0 run to jump out to a 13-8 lead and increased that to 17-12. Washington battled back, forcing a Louisville timeout with the score 21-17 in the Cards favor. The teams split the final eight points of the set and UofL had tied the match at 1-1 with the 25-21 win.
Louisville started set three strong again, jumping out to a 7-2 advantage, and survived a Washington run that tied the contest at 9-9. After that, though, Louisville gradually started to pull away, they held a 24-19 lead before taking the third seet 25-21. It seemed momentum was fully in the Cards favor after the first three sets and the Cards quickness was getting the best of the taller Washington front line.
Set four saw a reversal of fortunes. The Cards offense struggled and disappeared and UW was the aggressor, taking a 13-5 early lead. Louisville never could get in sync and the Dawgs increased the lead, getting an impressive 25-14 set victory.
So, a nine-month season ends. A split season that saw several matches cancelled and delayed because of COVID pauses. Still, the Cards went 15-3, were the ACC Champs and lose just one starter, in Alexis Hamilton and one reserve in Piper Roe to graduation. A lot to look foreward to in the fall for this Louisville squad.
Maybe freshman Anna deBeer sums it up best:
"In the fall, (tonight's match) is going to make me work harder and really not take a play off. In that final set, we were up 7-1....we know we had it right in our hands and we just didn't execute So, I really think we need to have a mentality that we are going to win the game we are in and finish every single point until the end...and we have a better outcome."
Losing to a higher-ranked team is no disgrace, obviously. It's just the way that it happened that needs to serve as motivation for the 2021-22 squad.
SOFTBALL DROPS ONE TO DUKE IN EXTRA INNINGS.
The Softball Cards got four runs in two swings of the bats yesterday in their 5-4 loss to the Blue Devils. A two run homer by Taylor Roby in the bottom of the fourth inning pulled Louisville within two runs at 4-2 and then a two-run blast from Rebecca Chung in the bottom of the seventh sent the game to extra innings at 4-4.
Unfortunately, Duke got a two-out single in the top of the eighth to take a 5-4 lead
Louisville tried to even the score and win it in the eighth. Carmyn Greenwood singled with one out and Taylor Roby was walked by Duke pitcher Peyton St. George . The tying run was 180 feet away, but, St. George showed why she is one of the best pitchers in the ACC, getting the next two Cardinal batters out. A called third strike to Cards' Charley Butler (the pitch was not a strike!) ended the Cards rally chance and Duke took the 5-4 win.
Louisville goes to 16-20 on the season and 10-15 in the ACC. The stand in eight place in the ACC -- the top 10 teams make the ACC Tournament (that will be held in Louisville) but the next opponent that will visit Ulmer Stadium is Florida State next weekend and the Noles are 29-6 (17-2 ACC) and pounded a total of seven home runs yesterday in a double-header sweep at Syracuse yesterday.
Taylor Roby started the game in the circle for Louisville, but the Blue Devils touched her for four runs in three innings. Gabby Holloway relieved Roby and held Duke scoreless until the fateful eighth inning.
LAX LOSES ON SENIOR DAY TO SYRACUSE
ACC Lacrosse is a gauntlet that few would choose to run through, with five squads in the top six of the national rankings. It is the conference Louisville is a part of, though. The Orange squeezed out a work-man-like 19-7 win over Louisville in the Cards final home match of the season.
#3 Syracuse was the Cards opponent Sunday and jumped on Louisville early, with three goals in the first eight minutes. It was A Hannah Morris goal got Louisville on the board 11 minutes into the action, but it only served to fire Syracuse up to score seven straight times and build a 10-1 lead with ten minutes left in the first half.
Syracuse went the mass substitution route to end the half...Scott Teeter also went deep into his reserves and the half ended with an encouraging 4-1 Louisville run. The Cards got scores from Kokoro Nakazawa, Ally Hall and two from freshman Kylea Dobson...to make it a somewhat more respectable 11-5 Syracuse lead at the intermission.
Syracuse went back to the starters to start the second half and they increased the Orange lead to 14-5 before senior Caroline Blalock connected for the Cards first score of the second half.
The 'Cuse increased their lead to 19-6, as Teeter and Syracuse head coach Gary Gait went deep into the reserves again. Senior goalkeeper Jen Schaaf relieve Rachel Florek and picked up a career high six saves in her final appearance this season in the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium.
In a pre-game ceremony, student manager Trent Porter and former student-athlete Allie Arcidiacono were recognized along with seniors Maddie Birch, Alex McNicholas, Shayla Scanlan, Jen Schaaf, Ally Hall, Rachel Florek, Sarah Blalock and Caroline Blalock for Senior Day.
I caught up with Scott Teeter for a post-game recap and you can hear that below:
(THANKS TO JARED ANDERSON FOR THE SOFTBALL AND LACROSSE PHOTOS!)
Have a meaningful Monday...