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Sunday, September 12, 2021

Volleyball Finishes the Weekend Sweep - Sunday Cardinal Couple

 Volleyball Shoots Down the Musketeers

The wide net Cards spent the weekend in the Queen City and came away with a full sweep.  Six sets of volleyball and six wins.  They finished off the feat last night, beating Xavier University 25-16, 25-12, 25-10.

UofL jumped on XU quickly, going on a 4-0 run to start the match, then extending the lead to 10-3 before XU would show a bit of life to narrow the lead a bit to 13-10.  That was about all of the life there was for the Musketeers in the first set though, as the Cards cruised away to the 25-16 win.

The second set started with a bit more back and forth.  The Cards never trailed, but XU kept it close through the opening points, getting to only a single point deficit at 6-5 before Emily Scott and Nena Mbonu both put down kills and a couple of attack errors from XU pretty well ended the challenge in the set.  UofL would again cruise on to the a 25-12 win in the set.

Finally, the third set was pretty much a UofL sprint to the finish line.  The best stretch for XU would be from 18-6 to 21-9, and that was only exchanging points.  XU would not get a single point out of their own service in this third set, and the deed was done, 25-10.  

Let's be fair, here.  Xavier is a good mid-major team, but is for sure a mid-major.  Meanwhile, Louisville has silenced any doubters that they are a Top 10 team, and are making arguments for Top 5.  I don't believe anyone truly expected a Xavier win, here, but there was some concern of a let down match after UofL handily knocked of 6th ranked Purdue Friday.  Even with a bit of a shuffled line-up, it was clear that UofL was a finely tuned machine and in another class of play from Xavier.

We did see a bit of a line-up adjustment in this one, giving Amaya Tillman and Anna DeBeer a bit of a rest before the mid-week game against rival UK.  This means Nena Mbonu and Claire Chaussee were both in the starting line-up at the same time, a combo we haven't seen yet this year.  It also brought Emily Scott into the starting ranks.  The Wisconsin connection between Chaussee and Scott worked well with two getting together for a huge block on XU in the 2nd set.  Scott also got several blocks shared with Aiko Jones on the right side.

The hitting was gaudy, but the cheeseheads reigned with Chaussee leading the charge.  She put down 17 kills on 24 attempts for an eye popping .667.  Emily Scott was close behind in percentage with .636 from an error-free seven kills.  A quick shout out for Jamie Vasilou, the former manager now walk-on, who came in and served several vicious serves in the 2nd set, picking up a pair of back-to-back aces in the process.  We also saw Rachel DeMarcus come in to set for the last third or so of the third set and Brooke Smith got a chance to play in front of a number of family, friends, and former coaches.

All in all, a great weekend for the Dani Busboom Kelly's squad.  The big win on Friday over Purdue made the volleyball world sit up and take notice, but the win last night was just a fun romp in the midst of a really tough section of schedule.

Next up is, of course, the big battle with defending National Champions, and huge in-state rival Kentucky on Wednesday night.  The first sign of danger for the Cats was getting swept last weekend by Creighton, but this weekend didn't help their ranking prospects.  A loss on Friday night to, admittedly 2nd ranked, Wisconsin will likely drop them a little further when rankings are updated tomorrow.  And while it was a UK sweep, last night's match against unranked Marquette was a battle, 25-21, 30-28, 26-24.

After UK, the Cards will do battle against a very good Nebraska team Saturday night in Lincoln.  Nebraska is ranked 3rd currently, but will drop after 20th ranked Utah pulled off the reverse sweep in Lincoln, 18-25, 24-26, 27-25, 25-22, 15-13.  I was listening to the audio stream of this one on the way back from Cincinnati, arriving home very late in the 3rd set and turned it off thinking NU was going to finish it off.  As the great quote machine Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

Today's Action

Two women's teams are in action today.

Softball hops on the bus to head down I-64 to open their fall exhibition schedule with a double header starting at 1pm against Eastern Kentucky.

Our 6th ranked Field Hockey squad will also be in action at 1pm today, but at home in Trager Stadium.  They'll play host to 11th ranked Liberty.  The Cards and the Flames each have a single win in the series with Louisville winning the last one 3-1 in 2015.

The Flames are coming off their only loss of this young season so far against 5th ranked Northwestern.  They have wins over UC Davis, Cal, and 25 Stanford.

Keep an eye out for Jill Bolton, who shared the preseason Big East Offensive Player of the Year award, and Azul Iritxity Irigoyen is expected to do great work in the Liberty cage, picked as the preseason Big East Defensive Player of the Year, after winning the 2020 same postseason award.  Irigoyen is from Buenos Aires, and of course, Louisville knows all about the skill Argentinians can bring to the game.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, again for the CCRHP, with Case, Jared, Paulie, and myself on the call.  We miss having Daryl on the show and hope she will be able to join us again soon, but she has button pushing duties that she has to attend to.

As you would expect from the mid-fall timeframe, we spent out time talking Volleyball, Field Hockey, and Soccer.  This show was engineered live from the lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn Cincinnati Midtown and I don't think you can hear the Muzak in the background behind me at all.

Check out the show below on Youtube, or you can pick up Case's slightly edited and tweaked version from your favorite podcast location, a number of which are listed below.

Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Breaker: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
RadioPublic: Link
Spotify: Link

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