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Friday, December 17, 2021

Volleyball falls in the Final Four 3-2 -- WBB routs EKU 82-38FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


I really anticipated a much more joyous Friday morning of recaps.. I cannot express how much I did not want to cover a volleyball loss today.  Especially the first one.  There was so much action in this match as well as a basketball game to cover.  I'm not going to lie, my eyes were glued to ESPN where the Cards and Badgers thrilled its audiences for close to three hours.  So lets just go ahead and pull this band-aid... 

                                                                                                        Photo: Jared Anderson
Set 2 CARDS WIN 25-15
Badgers' Dana Rettke error gives the Cards the first point.  Cards get it up to a 8-5 lead early on kills by a couple Cards before Anna DeBeer took over and extended the lead 11-6 on several big kills.  This set was all Cards.  DBK had to use a challenge card on a ball that I thought was obviously touched live to make it 13-8 Cards.  UofL continued to push the pace in this set feeding the hitters all over the floor to make it 15-8 heading into the media time out. Cards came out of the timeout to double the score 16-8.  By this point Debeer was 5-8 hitting .500 in the set, a stark contrast to the first set where she went 3-10 with a couple errors.  Cards were tempted to use second challenge on a shouldve been called correctly but didnt.   Wisconsin native, Claire Chaussee lead the back and forth with the Badgers.  The Cards controlled the set 21-13 after Wisc. 7th serving error, badgers opt to use another TO.  Wisc. came out and got another point but Debeer would not go away quietly.  Anna Stevenson also went one on one with Wisconsin's Rettke and Anna won that battle on the block.  Cards scored 4 straight points to win the match's only decisive set 25-15.
                Photo: Jared Anderson 

Set 3 Cards Lost 25-21
Wisconsin's Anna Smrek scored the Badger's first point of the set making her presence known with 10-11 and no errors on the day. Aiko missed the attack for the second Badger point before Chaussee missed the mark to put them up 3-0. Wisc would push it to 4-0 before the Cards registered a kill by Aiko. Debeer couldn't save the next one but Wisc would put it in the net to make it 6-5.  Chaussee registered the kill to tie it up 7-7.  Badger's Big 10 freshman of the year, Julia Orzol was 6-18 with no errors on the day to make it 8-7. Tori Dilfer  was able to find the gaps multiple times on the night for the kill to make it 8-8.  Cards take lead on Chaussee kill from Alexa Hendricks as this set would go back and forth.  Freshman Anna Smrek improved to 11-14 to tie it up 10 all, service ace by wisc puts them back in the lead.  Debeer took over the next two series to register a kill and block to make it 14-12 Cards with the Cards offense heating up heading into the media timeout. Wisconsin took three of the first four points following the break to even the score 16-16 but UofL jumped right back in front 18-16 after Anna Stevenson and Tori Dilfer combined for a block and force the Badgers to use their first timeout of the set. Wisconsin's timeout paid off as the Badgers rallied for four of the five points following the break to take a one-point lead at 20-19 as Louisville called its first timeout of the set. The Badgers scored the first point out of the timeout, but a massive block from Amaya Tillman put the Cards right back within one at 21-20. The teams traded points to get to 22-21 but back-to-back points from the Badgers saw the Cardinals down 24-21 late as they used their final timeout of the set. Wisconsin would take the first point after the timeout to win the third set 25-21.  

                   Photo: Jared Anderson

It was a sea of red fans in Columbus on Thursday evening with 3 out of the four final teams donning the scarlet shade. The Cardinals wore the home whites with Wisconsin in the reds. As a team, the Cardinals had 63 kills, hitting .230 with five aces, 69 digs and 11 blocks.

Set 1 Cards Lost 25-23
The Badgers scored first, but the two squads kept exchanging kills before a couple Wisconsin errors put the Cards ahead 5-4. UofL maintained the lead trading points with the Badgers until it was 13-12 Wisconsin.  The biggest lead for either squad being when it was 9-6 Louisville, neither team really went on any runs.  But the final set point was given up by Anna Stevenson on a service error.  A very deflating way to lose the opening (or any) set in a national semi-final.  The Cards would have to come from behind. 

                     Photo: Jared Anderson
                                                                             Set 4  CARDS WIN 25-23
Cards first points on error by Wisc and couple kills by Debeer.  The Badgers would go on a short run of their own as the two squads went back and forth in the early middle of the set, Cards scoring on a couple wisc errors to keep up but the cards were able to score again when Debeer was on the attack making it 12-9. A service ace by Aiko pushed the cards lead 14-10.  Another kill from Anna Stevenson put Louisville up 15-11 heading into the media timeout. The Badgers took the four of the first points out of the break to get back within one at 16-15, but back-to-back points from the Cardinals forced Wisconsin to call its first timeout of the set down 18-15. The Badgers rallied again following the timeout, taking the first two points to get back within one at 18-17. Louisville went up two at 20-18, but another rally from Wisconsin saw the Badgers take a 21-20 lead as the Cardinals used their first timeout of the set. UofL came out of the timeout on the attack, scoring off a big swing from Anna DeBeer and a block by Anna Stevenson to take a 22-21 lead and force the Badgers to use their final timeout of the set. The hard-fought set continued as the teams traded points with the score locked 23-23. Louisville used its final timeout late and came out of the break determined not to let this be the end, getting a big swing from Claire Chaussee to land followed by an ace from Ceci Rush to take the fourth set 25-23 and force a fifth set.

                                                            Photo: Jared Anderson 

Set 5 Cards Lost 15-9 
UofL came out firing, using a three-point run to jump out to a 3-1 lead, forcing Wisconsin to use its first timeout very early in the set. The Badgers' came out of the TO to score the first two points after the break to even the score 3-3. Both teams exchanged hard fought points to prove their worthy of a shot at the title.  With the Cardinals up one at 6-5, Wisconsin put together a three-point run to take an 8-6 lead as Louisville called its first timeout of the set. The Badgers took two of the first three points out of the break to extend their lead to three at 10-7. UofL scored one to get back within two at 10-8 but called its final timeout of the set after Wisconsin took two more points to go up 12-8 late. The Cards would rally for one more point, but the Badgers lead would prove too much to overcome as they would go on to win the set 15-9 to advance to the championship over the Cards.

Louisville's undefeated season ends just a couple wins shy of a national championship.  It was a historical run for the program as the Cards did not let Wisconsin off the hook easy. UofL gave Wisconsin a tough matchup despite appearing to be outsized at the front line. 
DeBeer recorded a season-high 20 kills, adding 10 digs.  Anna Stevenson was second on the team, recording 12 kills on 25 swings to hit .360 with one ace and two solo blocks. Claire Chaussee turned in 11 kills with Aiko Jones add nine and a team-high two aces and Amaya Tillman recording eight on 17 swings to hit a team-high .412. Tori Dilfer paced the offense with 49 assists and 10 digs.
Wisconsin improves to 30-3, advancing to the championship match after recording 71 kills and hitting .289 with four aces, 63 digs and 11 blocks. Anna Smrek led the Badgers' offense with 20 kills on 27 swings to hit a match-high .704.

Other Volleyball news from Thursday..

                                                                Photo: Jared Anderson 

  • University of Louisville head coach Dani Busboom Kelly has been voted AVCA National Coach of the Year for 2021.

After leading the Cardinals to a perfect regular season with a 28-0 record and second consecutive outright ACC Championship, Dani Busboom Kelly was named the ACC Coach of the Year for the second straight year and second time in her career and was named AVCA's East Region Coach of the Year. She is the first woman coach to achieve a perfect regular season record.

  • DBK lands new contract approved by the ULAA Board of Directors on Thursday.  The Coach's base pay improved from $250,000 base salary to $400,000.  It will go into effect on Jan 1. 

Big day for Coach Dani Busboom Kelly on Thursday.  

Womens Basketball

WBB wins vs EKU 82-38

Jared was up north in Columbus with the VolleyCards so no pics from the game on Main St. for today.
Unless Paulie got a couple on his flip phone??  :D  I kiddd

Four players finished in double figures for the Cardinals, led by Kianna Smith’s career high 22 points.  Hailey Van Lith had 13 points, 3 reboinds and 2 assists. She did miss all 4 of her three point attempts including 3 turnovers. Emily Engstler shot 5 of 10 for 11 points, while adding 10 rebounds and six steals for her third double-double of the season and a near triple-double. Louisville dominated the paint 38-8 and bench scoring 36-18.

End of 1Q 25-10 Cards

FG %
10-19 52.6% Cards
4-11 36.4% EKU
Reb. 10-6 Cards
3-pt %
2-9 22.2% Cards
1-3 33.3% EKU

HVL and Emily Engstler 7 points on 3-5 and 3-7 shooting respectively.  Chelsie Hall dished it out 3 times and pulled down 3 rebounds in the quarter. 

End of 2Q 26-18 Cards

FG %
11-16 68.8% Cards
5-17 29.4% EKU
Reb. 12-6  Cards
3-pt %
3-5 60% Cards
3-8 37.5% EKU

Kianna Smith went 4-4 in the half for 10 points, 3 rebounds and an assist. The team closed the half on an 8-9 run. 

HALF 51-28

End of 3Q 19-5 Cards 

FG %
7-14 50% Cards
1-7 14.3% EKU
Reb. 9-5 Cards 
3-pt %
5-7 71.4% Cards
0-2 0% EKU

Kianna Smith went 3-4 from three point range in the third quarter as it was the most efficient quarter for the team in the box score.  

End of 4Q 12-5 Cards

FG %
5-16 31.3% Cards
2-12 16.7% EKU
Reb. 11-10 Cards 
3-pt %
1-6 16.7% Cards
1-3 33.3% EKU

It was a throttle from the beginning for Louisville.  I heard that Coach Walz insisted that the Volleyball match be shown at the Yum! Center while the WBB Cards played.  A really really cool gesture by the basketball coach for the neighboring women's program.  

                                                            Photo:  UofL WBB Twitter

It was a HUGE night for Louisville Women's athletics. 

FINAL 82-38


FREE THROWS -- The Cards were on par with the amount of time spent at the line at a minimum.  When they did get there on Thursday night, they were 5-6 on the evening, Merissah Russell going 1-2 at the line.  But the team total is good for 83.3%.  CAPITAL F 

REBOUNDING -- UofL outrebounded the Colonels 42-27. Engstler led the charge again for the Cards leading with 10. Payton Verhulst followed with 7 rebounds in her 17 minutes, 7 minutes in the second quarter.  that qualifies for a CAPITAL R

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- The Cards held Eastern Ky to 25.5% shooting while also shooting better than 50% on their own.  UofL scored 26 points on 25 turnovers by EKU and had 23 assists on 33 made buckets.  I'll award the CAPITAL E

DEFENSE -- UofL had 15 steals and 5 blocks, 2 each from Norika Konno and Verhulst on the night and held EKU to 10 points in the second half. CAPITAL D 


Tune in for the Cardinals Couple Radio Hour tomorrow morning where the guys will likely spend most the time talking volleyball and previewing WBB vs #7 UCONN Sunday in Uncasville, Connecticut.

As always
Go Cards



  1. Feel so bad for Volleyball they gave it all. Hoops clicking an all cylinders and they are so much fun to watch when they are.

    I really enjoyed Angel on the broadcast! Think they'll ever team her and Jess up on one?

    Curtis "Be Kind" Franklin

  2. Hello Friends!
    Arthur Here!

    Bea and I were cheering our lungs out for Volleyball but they just didn't finish. Feel bad for the girls but it'll be a season to remember.

    We never got over to hoops much except at Volleyball time outs. Angel really knows her stuff. Good win. Verhulst looks like she could turn into something special.

    Your Friend
    #1 Clemson Fan
    Greer, SC

  3. I agree Arthur Verhulst is the real deal. Go cards


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