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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Volleyball Rolls On, Basketball GameDay - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Volleyball Rolls On to Sweet 16

Volleyball closed out it's appearances at the L&N FCU Arena last night with a three set sweep over Ball State, but not without some drama early, 29-27, 25-11, 25-19.

I keep tweeting at teams to quit swinging left
side against Aiko and Amaya,
but do they listen?
Louisville was playing host to the first and second round games in the NCAA tournament and hoping to continue their undefeated season.  UofL will host third and fourth round games, but because of NCAA requirements for seating capacity, LNFCU Arena is not eligible for hosting.  Instead the next set of matches will be at Freedom Hall.

The Louisville Cardinals, as opposed to the Ball State Cardinals, started the match off not playing their best.  They may have been a bit overexcited, or maybe a little complacent, it's hard to say, but Louisville clearly wasn't sharp.  Some credit has to be given to Ball State's excellent defense and ability to scramble to keep plays alive as it can be very frustrating to being swinging away on bomb swings and watching the other team dig it up and get it back over the net.  But 12 hitting errors and five service errors in the first set, combined to give Ball State the majority of their points.

Claire with a tip shot.
We've seen slow starts by UofL several times this season, and it's one of the marks of maturity of this team that they are able to take stock of the situation and get mentally reset.  They don't compound their problems by getting flustered and trying to force their play, making it worse.

The result was clearly seen in the second set when Louisville got back on the court and just dominated the Indiana Cardinals.  After the first handful of points, Claire Chaussee tied the set at two apiece that started an 8-0 run that included a pair of service aces from Ayden Bartlett.  There were no more really big runs in the set, but nearly every side out was two or three points for Louisville, and only one for Ball State which will, of course, steadily increase that lead.

Anna says, "Nope."
A similar start to third set, Ball State got a 3-2 lead, and then a 4-4 tie.  Anna Stevenson decided that she had enough and put down a kill in the middle before rotating back to serve.  Frequently seeing middle hitters serve is a recipe for cringe, but "Steve" has proven that she can be quite dangerous from the service line (a good sign for her future prospects in international play where middles serving is much more frequent).  The kill set of a 7-0 run featuring three services aces from the super-senior to get the lead out to 11-4.  Ball State did put together a 5-0 run later in the set to shrink the lead down to 15-12, but the two teams would never put together more than two points at a time for the rest of the match, with UofL getting the slight advantage in siding out to stretch the lead out slightly to close out the match on an Anna DeBeer kill.

We mostly feature pictures from our own Jared Anderson here, but this one, that William Caudill shared on Twitter is too good not to share.  The cropping in the embed of the tweet is unfortunate, the original image deserves a click-through.

My amateur scout on Ball State was that they didn't have much of a block, but their digging and passing was amazing and the overall stats are in line with that.  Only four blocks for BSU, while UofL had 12.  UofL also only hit at a .240 clip, though much of that can be contributed to the .128 in the first set.

Aiko Jones led the team in kills with 10 (.389).  The Anna's, Debeer and Stevenson, had nine and seven respectively.  Claire Chaussee had six and Amaya Tillman put down five.  The Louisville blocking, though!  "Steve" solo blocks alone accounted for three, with DeBeer solo roofing a pair.  Jones and Chaussee each struck out on their own once as well.  Three shares for Tillman and Dilfer, with Stevenson and Jones contributing to a pair each.

The Cards move on and will meet up with Florida at Freedom Hall on Thursday the 9th.  Times have apparently not yet been set for each session.  They should be announced later this morning.

Florida advanced over Miami (FL) in a sweep, and Florida A&M before that.  The teams advancing to the Louisville regional are completely chalk, with Florida being the 16 seed, along with eight seed Georgia Tech and nine seed Ohio State coming from the other half of the region.

As we look around the whole tournament bracket, our whole half of the bracket is chalk in the Sweet 16 with four seed Wisconsin hosting 13 seed UCLA (who squeaked past UCF in a five setter), along with five seed Baylor playing 12 seed Minnesota.

Two upsets made it into the Sweet 16 in the other half of the bracket, however.  Kansas eliminated 14 seed Creighton on Friday and will be traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the three seed Panthers who survived a bit of a scare against Penn State.  Also travelling to Pitt will be six seed Purdue and 11 seed BYU.

Finally, two seed Texas will host a dangerous 15 seed Washington team that made quite a bit of noise in the tournament last year.  And, saving the best for last....  Also in Gregory Gym, 10 seed Nebraska will do battle with Illinois who upset seven seed Kentucky to advance.


Basketball Gameday

Belmont trundles up I-65 from Nashville to visit the Jeff Walz basketball squad in the KFC Yum! Center today at noon.

Belmont arrives with a 4-3 record, but don't let that fool you.  While the wins over Chattanooga, Alabama A&M, and Lipscomb are nothing to especially write home about, they do have a win over Mississippi, in Oxford, and their losses are all to teams receiving votes or better in the rankings.  Georgia Tech was ranked 17 and 20 for their 58-45 win.  UCF was receiving votes for their 57-45 win, as was Arkansas for their 83-63 win.

Destinee Wells (jersey number 11), and Tuti Jones (jersey number 0) are the big scoring threats for the Bruins, shooting from range and short.  Madison Bartley (jersey number 3) is mostly an interior shooter, while Conley Chinn (jersey number 20) seems to be mostly a threat from outside.

Belmont does seem to like to get into the passing lanes, with 58 steals on the season, while holding opponents to 38, though UofL has 68 steals on the season, and have held opponents to 43.

The game is being carried on the linear ACC Network, so if you can't make it downtown, you can find it on your TV tuner, and as always also through ESPN's streaming.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

A return to the days of when we aired from the now defunct WCHQ FM, with a trio on the CCRHP again, this time, Case, Paulie, and myself were on the call.  We had great fun talking about the ongoing volleyball roll through the tournament, as well as basketball.

You can check it out at its Youtube link: or for a version with some tweaked audio, you can find it at it's podcast home:

You can also find it in any of your favorite podcast directories.


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