Season Review: Volleyball
A shortened season doesn't mean a bad season as we learned from Louisville Volleyball. The Cards had another successful season, capping it off with their sixth Sweet Sixteen appearance.
Like the other fall sports, volleyball split their season in half and saw the NCAA Tournament held in the spring. The Cards posted a 5-2 fall record, a 9-0 spring record, and then 1-1 in the tournament for a 15-3 year.
COVID-19 was quick to hit Louisville's season. After a season opening loss to Notre Dame, the Cards saw a delay before picking up action again. They traveled to Boston College for a two-match series sweep before returning home to sweep Syracuse in a two-match series. The fall season wrapped up with a trip to Pitt, where the two rivals split the series.
The Cards were set to pick back up in late February, but another COVID-19 issue led to a delayed start. Wake Forest came to town with the Cards winning a pair of matches. A road trip was on the schedule next with the Cards taking down Duke twice and Florida State once with Clemson and Virginia having to bow out of their matches for various reasons.
One final home stand at L&N Federal Credit Union Arena was next with Louisville taking down Georgia Tech and NC State before hitting the road to cap off the regular season with wins against Miami and North Carolina.
Louisville earned the 11-seed in the NCAA Tournament and a first round bye. They met San Diego in their first match of the tournament. San Diego took the first set before the Cards would win three straight. The Cards then met up with 6-seed Washington and held a 2-1 set lead and a 7-1 and 11-5 lead in the final set before faltering down the stretch.
Washington would go on to beat Pitt in their next match to advance to the Final Four, where they fell to eventual national champion Kentucky. The Cards and Cats did not play this season.
Statically, Louisville had a great season with 804 kills and a .274 attack percentage while holding opponents to a .143 attack percentage. The Cards tallied 754 assists, 83 service aces, and 771 digs.
Blocking was one of the strong suits for the Cards who were the highest ranked teams in blocks and blocks per set. Amaya Tillman averaged 1.65 blocks per set, putting her third in the country. She tallied 100 blocks on the year.
Alexis Hamilton led the back row with 212 digs but had plenty of help from Tori Dilfer, who had 114.
Offensively, four Cards powered through, which we discussed during the quiz last week. Anna DeBeer led the team with 174 kills and Aiko Jones was close behind with 168. Claire Chaussee and Anna Stevenson had 146 and 145, respectively.
With only Alexis Hamilton and Piper Roe graduating and no known players transferring out, the Cards return an highly-skilled lineup with plenty of postseason experience. The last two tournaments saw the Cards make the Sweet Sixteen twice and Elite Eight once.
Coach Dani Busboom continues to impress with her team consistently getting better each year and becoming a recognized powerhouse. We should see matches against tough teams such as Kentucky, WKU, and Dayton resume in the fall.
Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!