CARDS AND CATS VOLLEYBALL SQUARE OFF IN MEMORIAL
Another chapter in the Louisville vs Kentucky battles takes place tonight when UofL and UK Volleyball face each other at 7 p.m. in Lexington. The # 13 Cats are 5-2 in the 2022 season, with losses to Marquette and Wisconsin. The Cards are #3 in the nation, with a 7-1 record. Their lone loss came at the hands of Ohio State.
Junior Reagan Rutherford leads the Cats in kills with 95 on the season and she was also the SEC Player of the Week last week. Azhani Tealor and Adanna Rollins are also front line threats with Rutherford. The main difference between this squad and UK squads of the past is that none of the three UK leaders I've mentioned here are over 6'0" in height....a far cry from the tall UK front lines of years past.
The Cards defeated UK in the LNFCU last year in a five set thriller. That Louisville win broke a seven match win streak UK held over UofL.
Key for the Cards will be the continued strong showing of their veteran front line. Claire Chaussee, Anna DeBeer, Aiko Jones, Cara Cresse and Amaya Tillman have been unstoppable for most opponents this season. Add in the strong setting of Raquel Lazaro and the deep bench that Dani Busboom Kelly can call on and the Cards are well deserving of their #3 in the nation ranking. Elena Scott is an expert at digs and one of the best libero in the nation.
The crowd noise at Memorial will be a factor that Louisville will have to deal with. The coliseum can get pretty loud when it's full of UK faithful and the Cats do tend to fill it up for Volleyball.
Coaching is another key for UK. Craig Skinner has skippered UK Volleyball for close to 20 years now and been very successful at what he does. He has an in-depth knowledge of the game and is widely respected among his peers Mind you, UofL has a very good coachi n Dani and staff to go with her. I can't see coaching blunders affecting this match on either side/
There were a few tickets left for the contest late Tuesday afternoon (general admission is $5) but if you can't make it to the UK campus tomorrow, the match will be shown on ESPN. The network is even Katie George the call on it, along with Eric Frede, Those two do a very fine job in calling a Volleyball match, Katie lets her professionalism override her love for the Louisville program, and that's the sign of a excellent announcer. You know she's gotta be hanging on every long, competitive volley and officials' review.
I'm expecting a five-setter here. Naturally, I'd be thrilled if the Cards could sweep or win it in four and, I'd be disappointed if Jared and I leave Lexington after seeing Louisville lose their second match of the season.
The Cards could conceivably move up to #2 in DI if they win it. based on Stanford defeating current #2 Nebraska last night. Oh, and guess who Louisville has next, after UK? That's right, the Cardinal.
So, is this trip to Lexington the toughest road match of the year so far? Yes, I think you could say that with no qualms or hesitations. WKU was a challenge, obviously, but the intensity and pressure tonight will surpass that. It's Kentucky, after all. We'll have Jeff in the stands for this one, Jared taking photos and me at press row. (Yes, Paulie's going to a volleyball match) .I won't attend any of ours at LNFCU during the regular season. Personal preference.
(PHOTOS ARE FROM THE 202! MATCH BETWEEN THESE TWO THAT JARED ANDERSON TOOK)