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Wednesday, September 15, 2021



Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd (I had a hat just like his...) 

Does it surprise you with the news that UofL and UK have played in Volleyball against each other 56 times since 1976?  45 years worth.  Some of you dear readers weren't born when the rivalry started. As for me, ol' Paulie was a dapper dude down on the Belknap campus, making the conversion from disco, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and leisure suits to Lynyrd Skynyrd, blue jeans and "Free Bird". 

The long-standing series is currently in the Cats favor 31-25. And, slipping back to 2019, UK won the last matchup between the two Volleyball squads 3-0 -- up in Memorial Barnyard Coliseum. Both squads are top 10 ranked coming in to tonight's battle...the Cards (8-0) sitting at #5 in the latest poll and UK (6-2) is at #8, according to the coaches who vote on such. 

The incomparable Katie George 

Tonight's venue is the LNFCU, affectionately still called Cardinal Arena  and, no, not a new vegetable soup option, but the L&N Federal Credit Union Arena. The showdown is sold out, but will be available on ESPNU. And, Katie George comes in for the color analysis work tonight, with Eric Frede on mic as well. It's set for a 7 p.m. E.T start. 

It'll be Cardinal VB hed coach Dani Busboom Kelly's fourth attempt to best the Cats.  They'll  no doubt be buoyed by the news that Louisville libero Elena Scott was just named ACC Freshman of the Week. She put on the hard hat went went to work in the Cards last two outings, getting 16 digs against Purdue and 13 against Xavier. In case your Volleyball terminology is not real proficient...a "dig" is the first contact made after an attacker from the offensive team sends the ball over to the defensive team. Basically, you're keeping the ball from hitting the floor -- and we can dig that. 

(We love DeBeer ! ) 

Weapons? Yeah, the Cards have an arsenal full. 

Anna DeBeer, Aiko Jones, Tori Dilfer and  Amaya Tillman were all named for ACC pre-season honors. Anna Stevenson, Claire Chausee and Elena Scott have impressed and played well for the VolleyCards this season, too. And, the Cards have been a dominant force in sets. Consider that the Cards have played 26 sets in eight games -- and won 24 of them. And blocking? (No. not the gridiron kind) It's been superlative as well. The Cards 3.21 blocks per set is tied for first in the country. And, the .335 hitting percentage ranks second in DI. 

The Cards eight wins have been against Cal Poly, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, Arizona State, Missouri, South Dakota, NKU, Purdue and Xavier. 

As for the visitors, they still have Cardinals nemeses Madi Skinner (98 kills), Alli Stumler (79 kills and eight service aces), middle blocker Azhani Tealer. The Cats battled Creighton  University early Saturday morning on Sept 4th and inexplicably suffered a straight-set loss (in Lexington) to the BlueJays. They also fell, in four sets, to #2 ranked Wisconsin five days ago in Madison. Wins have come against Texas St., Dayton, Cincinnati, N. Iowa, So. Cal., and Marquette...and they've all been straight-set, 3-0 sweeps. 

I'm not seeing either squad taking tonight's match in straight-set fashion. The only thing you can depend on is that it'll be loud (and very warm) in the LNFCU. When the facility was upgraded a few years back and Volleyball moved from the KFC YUM! Center to their current home, someone forgot to call a HVAC company in to upgrade the A/C units. At least there are none of those annoying fans that grace the ceiling of UK's home court. I always wondered if a high "set" were to get clipped by one of those fan blades in Memorial, how the officials would react? 

Our Volleyball expert Jeff will be "in house" cheering the Cards on and probably too busy to tweet. Ace photographer Jared will also be in the LNFCU. taking "selfies" with attendees and snapping photos of student-athletes jumping. He'll also recap the results in the Thursday Cardinal Couple and we'll add plenty of his excellent photographs to the article. 

As for me, I'm content to rest these old bones in my recliner and watch the proceedings on my TV. It should be a great evening of Volleyball action, let's hope the VolleyCards can win the blocks, kills and aces battles and break the seven-game UK win streak. The Cats will come in with mucho attitude, after all, they are the defending National Champions and very, very talented. Hopefully, it won't be a "Wildcat Win Wednesday" and they go back on their bus back to Lexington on I-64 East tonight with an "L" levied by Louisville. 

What could be a better birthday gift for L/DS senior Mia Stander than a UofL win? 

Have a Wise Wednesday! 



  1. Paulie apparently isn't a big fan of the Big Ass Fans (yes, that's the brand name of them, it's a company based in Lexington) in Memorial.

    There are rules for handling the ball coming into contact with the ceiling of the facility, and the ceiling fans would be considered part of that. Basically if the ball comes back down on the same side of the net, it's a live ball, play continues. If it comes down on the other side of the net, it's considered out of bounds and the point is awarded to the team that didn't hit the ball into the ceiling. The idea, I guess is that hitting into the ceiling for your own play isn't a great idea, so no advantage as it actually makes it harder to play the ball with it ricocheting in unexpected ways. But you can't use that crazy ricocheting to get an advantage against the other team.

    Makes sense, I think.

  2. I’m excited for tonight’s match! A sold out L&N FCU Arena is LOUD. I saw UofL’s RED Out promotion tonight so kindly wear red if you’ll be in person at the match.

    As for the “Big Ass Fan” brand, I’ll do some digging to see if I have a photo of the fans from Memorial Coliseum. If I’m so fortunate to find one, I’ll add it to tomorrow’s column for kicks and giggles.

  3. Based on what I saw on UK Basketball broadcasts, there are a lot of "Big Ass" fans that attend Kentucky sporting events. Go Cards, beat UK !

    Nick O

  4. Yep. I have driven by the Big Ass Fans warehouses numerous times going to and leaving Lexington.

    I'm currently looking at the feasibility of having Jared "ride" one of the fans for photo-taking opportunities the next time the Cards play UK in Memorial.

    More on this if/as it progresses.


  5. I was at Memorial a few years back to attend a UOFL vs UK WBB game. I had numerous big ass fans sitting in front of me, wearing blue.

    Go Cards
    Beat Kitties!

    Blue Lou

  6. My uncle Lennie worked at Big Ass Fans in the early 2000's when he lived in Lexington. He used to tell people "there was a time I had a big ass job in Kentucky."

    Fun guy. Huge IU fan. Died of a heart attack several years ago. He was, to put it honestly, a big ass man who never watched his diet or exercised.

    Curtis "Be Kind" Franklin

  7. Hello Friends!
    Arthur Here!

    Hoping you can beat those Wildcats tonight in VB!

    We are 5-3 in Volleyball so far, probably destined for a mid-level ACC finish.

    Your Friend
    # 1 Clemson Fan
    Greer, SC


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