Cards Take Down Cats in Five
Everyone good? Heart rates back to normal? Recovery mode is much easier following a win!
#5 Louisville Volleyball defeated rival and #8 Kentucky in five sets (17-25, 25-20, 25-22, 20-25, 15-9) last night at L&N Federal Credit Union Arena in front of 1258 fans.
Louisville broke a seven match losing streak dating back to 2013. The Cards last won at the KFC Yum! Center in 2012, 3-1. Prior to last night's match, Louisville last won a set in 2015.
The first set started anything but great for the Cards. It appeared that nerves got to the Cards early with attack errors and service errors coming in from left and right. UK doubled up the Cards 16-8 about midway through the set before Louisville went on a 3-0 run to help close the gap some. The Cats responded with a 4-1 run to push their lead back to eight. Louisville never got closer than five points the rest of the set as Kentucky cruised to an opening set victory, 25-17.
Louisville seemed to have calmed down and focused better in the second set. The teams played a game of seesaw for much of the set, often trading points as we got midway through the set at 13 apiece. Led down the stretch by Team Anna and assisted with a pair of UK errors down the stretch, Louisville would pull away for a 25-20 second set win.
A freshly energized crowd welcomed the Cards out for the second half, and Louisville wasted no time riding on their momentum to push ahead to an 8-2 lead. UofL spread the wealth with four different Cards earning a kill for the first four points. Louisville held a 16-10 lead and was feeling good, but the reigning national champions weren't ready to go down in the third set without a fight. Kentucky won the next four points and seven of the next nine to pull within one. A quick pair of points for the Cards gave them a 21-18 edge, but Kentucky fought back to even the score at 21 all. A kill and a little help on an attack error gave Louisville a two-point cushion before the Cats cut it back to one. A timely service error for the Cats put Louisville at a set point and the Cards capitalized to take the 25-22 win.
UK pulled a reverse card (in UNO terminology) out with the fourth set, pulling out to an early 10-5 lead. Five of Kentucky's points came from Louisville attack errors as it appeared the first set might repeat itself. A few mini runs helped UofL pull within one at 17-16. However, a 4-0 Kentucky run featuring an ace and a pair of UofL errors gave the Cats room to work with down the stretch. Louisville would not get within more than three the remainder of the set as the fast-paced Kentucky offense sent in a volley of attacks to win the set 25-20.
What's a rivalry without a close game, right? The two foes geared up for a fifth set in front of a rocking L&N FCU Arena crowd. If there were ever time to see ping pong scoring the fifth set would be it. UofL and UK would trade points up to a 6-6 score. Back-to-back attack errors by the Cards gave Kentucky a two-point edge. The Cards and Cats traded the next two points, and with Kentucky holding a 9-7 lead, things seemed to be slipping away for the Cards. Cue the Disney movie script. Down to the wire with their backs against the wall, everything seemed to go right for the Cards. A solid attack with several blocks helped Louisville to an 8-0 run to claim the set, 15-9.
Game, set, match! The Cards bench ran onto to court to celebrate with the active rotation, hugging each other and jumping into each others' arms, the crowd went wild, the lights flashing on and off, and the Louisville fight song played over the speakers. This is the point in the Disney movie where you see the credits start rolling. What we're hoping for here is one of the feel-good sports movies where you see a freeze frame with "Louisville would go on to win the national championship in an undefeated season" moments happen.
Louisville put up some impressive numbers on the night. Amaya Tillman, the block queen, recorded nine blocks. Many of Tillman's blocks came down the stretch in the fifth set in crunch time. Claire Chaussee led the Cards with 18 kills. Chaussee came alive in the third set to help power Louisville to a win that set and then she played a crucial role in the fifth set. Team Anna (DeBeer and Stevenson) recorded 14 and 12 kills, respectively. Kentucky actually had three more kills the Cards on the match.
Despite being a five set match, aces seemed to be far and few between. Louisville had four aces (three by Aiko Jones and one by DeBeer) while Kentucky finished with three.
The big difference of the match was blocks. Kentucky recorded eight blocks, but were no match for one of the best blocking teams in the country. Louisville tallied 15 blocks on the night, nearly doubling up UK, mainly from the big night by Tillman, Jones and Stevenson each having strong nights on the blocking end.
Tori Dilfer powered the Cards in the middle with 44 assists as well as recording nine digs and a pair of kills. ACC Freshman of the Week Elena Scott led the back row with 18 digs. DeBeer added 10 digs.
Improving to 9-0 on the year, I think we can thank the blazer for the win. Coach Dani Busboom Kelly pulled out the red blazer for the match.
Louisville now travels to #6 Nebraska for a match on Saturday, Sept. 18. It's the second straight Top 10 match-up for Louisville and their third in the last four matches.
WBB ACC Schedule Announced
|This dynamic duo has been everywhere lately|
Louisville Women's Basketball announced their ACC schedule yesterday. The 15-game schedule features two games against Boston College, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse.
ACC play begins Dec. 30 when Boston College comes to the KFC Yum! Center. The conference schedule runs all the way through Feb. 27, with the season finale coming at Notre Dame. Senior Day is set for Feb. 20 against Virginia Tech.
Louisville had two conference losses last year- at Florida State and at home against NC State. The Cards travel to Raleigh on Jan. 20 and host the Seminoles on Jan. 27.
We will go over the the schedule more on Saturday on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podast and in the weeks to come.
Happy Thursday and Go Cards!