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Saturday, September 3, 2022

Volleyball and Field Hockey Continue Winning Weekend -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Volleyball Downs No. 15 San Diego

Louisville volleyball dropped their first set of the season last night against the Toreros, but they recovered to win a thrilling 3-1 match that saw extra points in the fourth set. The Cards took a 25-18 win in the first before dropping the second 13-25. They came out of the break firing to regain the advantage with a thundering 25-11 win in the third and had to come back after a late charge in the fourth to win 26-24. The Cards led in every statistical category, this was just a matter of playing a very good team that wouldn't go down easily.

Louisville jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first before SD scored and brought it back close. For the remainder of the set, the Cards were unable to stretch more than that three point advantage until Aiko Jones followed her own kill with an ace to give them a 21-17 lead. San Diego scored one more point to break the run but Louisville use a block, an ace, and a kill while benefitting from an error to win the last four points. Neither team was particularly crisp in the first, with the Cards finishing with a 0.286 hitting percentage and the Toreros seeing just a 0.132. Louisville's low percentage was due primarily to the San Diego defense, as they committed just three errors.

The second set saw Louisville commit twice as many errors as they had in the first while San Diego cut their number from seven to one. The roles were generally flipped as the Toreros hit 0.379 in the set with Louisville putting in an 0.161. After Louisville won the opening point of the set, San Diego won the next six points and ultimately took a 9-3 lead. The Cards were unable to get any rhythm going in the second, never winning more than two consecutive points. SD had four aces, three blocks, and benefitted from two service errors in the set on the way to their win.

As I mentioned, though, Louisville recovered after halftime in a big way. The Cards returned the favor granted by the Toreros in the previous set, giving up the first point and then winning the next six. Louisville did them one better and held a 9-2 lead. USD was unable to score consecutive points in the set until they grabbed a pair of kills from Katie Lukes to make the score 10-23 and then 11-23. Louisville shut the door quickly on their dominating set, having committed no errors and hitting 0.696 in the frame. 

Both teams struggled mightily in the fourth set with their hitting as they combined for 18 errors in the set, with only six of those being blocks. Both hit their worst percentages of the afternoon, with Louisville's 0.105 edging out the 0.073 from San Diego. The poor hitting didn't take away from the excitement, though, as I mentioned the brief dip into extra points. San Diego jumped out to a quick lead with a 4-1 run helped by a pair of Louisville errors. The Cards won a couple of points to close the gap slightly before the teams traded points. Another error put the Toreros up 9-6 before they got the yips. Louisville went on a 6-0 run that was aided by a service error and three errors from San Diego. The Cards added a block and a kill, and it looked like they may start to pull away. It wasn't meant to be the case, though, as the teams traded points with SD grabbing two extras in the mix to bring the set level at 15-15. After a service error gave Louisville a lead, things got a bit nervy for them as San Diego won the next five points. 

No team with a 2-1 lead in the fourth set wants things to go to a fifth set, so Louisville buckled down and closed the gap to 20-19. An error broke their run but they picked right back up with a pair of kills to tie it at 21-21. Traded points again put the teams in a stalemate before Louisville grabbed a block to go to match point at 24-23. It looked as though Amaya Tillman would grab back-to-back blocks to win the match but the ball was out off the touch to tie it at 24. Louisville made short work of the extra points session, though, as Aiko Jones got a kill and Tillman got a second chance to shut down Katie Lukes for the win. Tillman didn't miss the moment a second time as she grabbed the solo block to win.

Tillman's block was her second solo block of the night and she picked up four block assists to lead the match defensively at the net. Tillman added seven kills, good for fourth on the team. In a bit of an odd situation, only six Cardinals scored kills in the match. They were led by Claire Chaussee and Aiko Jones who both snagged fifteen. The Toreros keyed in on Anna DeBeer as she was only able to score eight kills. Cara Cresse scored six out of the other middle position and Raquel Lazaro got the last of Louisville's 52 kills. Lazaro was busy all over the court, as she assisted on 44 of the other 51 kills, scored a service ace, assisted on a block, and had the most digs on the team with 14. Aiko Jones was busy from the line as well, adding three aces to her fifteen kills. 

Louisville struggled a bit from the serve, though, with eight aces compared to nine errors. The negative ratio didn't hurt too much as San Diego matched it with six and seven. That gave the teams a tie on the serve, but Louisville made their hay elsewhere. Louisville led the blocking battle 11-6, something we'll hope to see a lot this season. While Grace Frohling made herself known with 13 kills, Louisville held Breana Edwards down in the same way San Diego did to DeBeer. Katie Lukes stood in the Chaussee role in picking up the slack with 17 kills to lead the way. It was a strong effort from the Toreros, and they'll look to bounce back against OSU today.

Louisville will get Ohio State tomorrow, hopefully with the Buckeyes coming off of a five-setter today. Jeff will have more on that match preview tomorrow before he heads down to the L&N Federal Credit Union Arena for a 2PM match. Tomorrow's event will be on ACC Network proper, so be sure to tune in.

Field Hockey Leaves No Doubt in 4-1 Win

Louisville welcomed Penn to the 2022 season in the ACC/Ivy League Crossover with a bit of a thumping as they scored early and often on the Quakers in Chapel Hill. The Cards will get Princeton at Karen Shelton Stadium tomorrow after the 13th-ranked Tigers fell to UNC 4-3 yesterday evening. 

The first quarter was largely uneventful as neither team was able to make an impression on the play-by-play outside of a pair of substitutions. Aimee Plumb changed that for the Cards when she scored her second goal of the season with an unassisted goal six minutes in. Both teams went on to have one more shot in the period, but neither was on frame. 

Louisville came out with a bit more fire in the second quarter, with Plumb earning a penalty corner just two minutes in. Katie Schneider doubled the Louisville advantage off a Julie Kouijzer assist just 9 seconds after the corner was awarded, but the stats don't recognize the goal as a conversion. I'm not quite sure how that works out, so I'm going to say it counts, giving Louisville a 1/2 rate on the afternoon. With six minutes left in the half, Penn earned their first corner of the game, forcing Sasha Elliott into her first save. The Quakers turned that into another penalty corner, which they were able to convert the second time around. The Cards blocked the first shot attempt, but the goal was scored after the rebound. Louisville wasn't deterred, though, putting their lead back to two goals ahead of half time. Again, Aimee Plumb was involved, as she forced a save from the Penn goalkeeper. Katie Schneider was in the right place at the right time, recovering the rebound and finding space to score her second goal of the match unassisted. 

Penn made a goalie change at the half, but it was Louisville under pressure in the third quarter. Sasha Elliott went to work, picking up four saves in the quarter. Louisville's defense was heavily involved as Penn earned four corners in the period. Louisville penalty corner kill was strong once more, as they kept the cage clean on every attempt, weathering the storm well. The offense struggled for the Cards, though, as they didn't make an impression on the stat sheet at all in the third. That offense came right back in the fourth with Emilia Kaczmarczyk scoring her first goal of the season on an unassisted attack two minutes into the quarter. Louisville continued the pressure with a shot by Aimee Plumb being saved and another Kaczmarczyk shot being saved on an ensuing corner. Penn held tough after the goal to move them to 4-1 and worked hard to close the gap. Their best chances came with just under five minutes remaining when they put together a sequence of three straight corners. In effort, Elliott was forced into two saves and Julie Kouijzer earned a defensive save on the final corner.

The stats don't look particularly great for Louisville in this one, as the defense was forced to win this one despite the final score. Penn had more shots on goal than Louisville had overall shots, and they had more penalty corner attempts that Louisville had overall shots. The Cards finished with eight saves, seven by Elliott, and gave up just the one goal. Louisville's calling card was efficiency, turning eight shots into seven on frame and four goals. It will be difficult to keep most teams out of the cage when they give up so many opportunities, but as long as the Cards can make the most of their own chances, they'll be in a lot of games. Louisville takes on Princeton on ACCNX tomorrow at 11AM.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

We'll have plenty to cover this week with a ton of wins and a lot to look ahead to in the upcoming days. There will be four of us on the call today to bring you the show so be sure to tune in. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

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Until next time, Go Cards!


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