A complete domination in Chapel Hill and a nerve-racking, close affair in Nashville. Sunday proved to be good for the Louisville women's sports squads in action -- the Cards two top-ten teams notched "W's" in their efforts, but they went about it in different ways. Let's have a look, shall we?
Cards Volleyball got the day started, on the North Carolina campus, and got the broom out...sweeping the tar off the Heels 25-22, 25-11 and 25-18.
Louisville came out a little slow in the first set, an annoying feature of this team as of late, and fell behind 5-1. UNC pushed that lead to 10-5 and it wasn't until 15-15 that the Cards were able to tie the set up, on a Amaya Tillman kill.. The Cards did grab a 16-15 lead, but fell behind 18-20 on a kill by UNC's Liv Mogridge. UofL finally got on a roll, and ran off five straight points, three coming on UNC miscues, to make it 23-20 Cards. Another Tar Heels attack error gave the first set to Louisville 25-22.
The Cards were trading points with UNC early in the second set but did eventually find themselves up 10-8. After that, something clicked...the light came on for the Cardinals squad and they finished the set on a 15-3 run. 10 miscues from UNC to close it out, attack errors from a variety of UNC players. Elena Scott ran off five straight serves and Aiko Jones three at the end to fuel the Cards past the home squad 25-11
After the break, UofL started the third set on a 10-5 run. Everyone was getting in on the kills for the Cards, PK, Amaya, Aiko, Anna, Nena and Raquel., A couple more UNC attack errors and a Anna service ace had the Cards in a 15-8 lead. At 17-10, UNC got a timeout to see if they could right the ship, but they made no gain on the Cards defense and a Chaussee kill ended set at 25-18 and ended the match.
The VolleyCards are now 24-2 and 15-1 in the ACC. With Pitt at 25-2 and 15-0 in the ACC, eyes will be focused on the Friday match between the two at the LNFCU.
The WBB Cards travelled to Belmont, in Nashville, TN. to battle the Bruins and .UofL sank their final six free throws in the final minutes to pull out a 75-70 win.
This was a Bruins squad that would not go away...being led by the MVC pre-season player of the year in Destinee Wells.
Belmont held a 17-16 lead after 10 minutes and trailed Louisville 37-34 at halftime. The Cards were going with the "small" lineup a lot of the game (where Olivia Cochran played the post and Josie Williams and Liz Dixon sat) but nothing seemed to low down the Bruins trio of Wells, Harvey and Jones. Louisville trailed by six at 34-28 late in the second quarter, but an "and 1" for Kasa Robinson and three from Merissah Russell tied it up. It was "C.C." -- Chrislyn Carr, who buried a deep three at the buzzer, capping off a 9-0 run gave the Cards a 37-34 halftime lead
The teams battled through the third quarter, Belmont coming out on a 5-2 run to start the action and tying things up at 39-39. One kept waiting for Louisville to break loose and distance themselves from the Bruins, but, the Cards saw a 44-43 lead turn into a 48-46 Belmont edge with 2:23 left in the quarter. The Cards got buckets from Nyla Harris and Hailey Van Lith to eke out a 50-48 lead after three, and it looked like the squads were going to be in a closely matched battle in the fourth.
Belmont built a 60-56 lead after a Wells three with 6:28 to go. Louisville responded with a 7-0 run and led 63-60 after two Cochran free throws with 4:21 to play. The home squad took their final lead of the game at 68-67 with 2:17 to play, but Louisville sank their final six free throws (two each for Cochran, Van Lith and Verhulst) and Belmont could only manage two points in those final two minutes. A Verhulst steal late wrapped up the win.
CARDS win a nail-biter 75-70. Haley Van Lith had 25 to lead all scorers and Cochran and Carr finished in double figures with 13 and 11.
THE FRED REPORT
|(Freddy Farm Bureau went to cover the game, since Jared was in Clemson. Neither have returned yet)
FREE THROWS -- Louisville went 20-21 from the free throw line, and, no that's not a misprint. 20-21. I cannot remember a higher percentage of makes on 20+ plus attempts in my years of covering Cardinal women's basketball (18 years). 95,2% will definitely garner a CAPITAL "F". And, seven Cards attempted them, so the good fortune was widespread.
REBOUNDING -- UofL won the battle of the boards 32-28. A big "hats off and salute" to Cochran, who had 13 of them. If you told me that the Cards would win the rebounding battle in a game where Dixon, Williams and Harris would combine for just two...I would have raised a skeptical eyebrow and probably refuted the statement, but, it happened. I'll award a CAPITAL "R" here. And hope that "O" is icing those undoubtedly sore shoulders down as I write this.
EFFORT/EXECUTION -- The Cards shot 41% (25-61) and hit five of their 12 threes. Louisville had 13 assists, a bit low for my liking, but won the points in the paint battle 34-30, points off turnovers 22-9 and second chance points 20-4. And, they only had 12 turnovers. I'll award the CAPITAL "E" here...but I was disappointed in the just 16 minutes and little effectiveness from Dixon and Williams.
DEFENSE -- Belmont outshot Louisville with 52%. Louisville, though, forced 19 turnovers, had nine steals and did play solid in the final two minutes when the Bruins had the ball. I'll go with a small case "d", though...five-point wins over mid-majors are nothing to boast about and the Bruins were getting way too many easy looks against the Cards defense.
FINAL FRED REPORT: F-R-E-d
OK, so the Cards got severely road-tested early in this 22-23 season and managed to pull a win off behind the incredible play of Hailey Van Lith. It's what she does, you know. The old, "any landing you can walk away from" theory, right? It's a "W" and that's better than an "L".
Of maybe deeper concern is finding a quartet of players that can "click" with HVL on the court. I'll suggest "C.C.", "O" , P. V. and Kasa as starters for now...I know, I know, that's a pretty diminutive line-up, height-wise. Things change, though, throughout the course of a season and I do think taller players (Dixon, Williams and Harris) can be of very useful benefit down the road -- they're just not quite there yet, though. Morgan Jones is another one who has all the talent and skills, it was just a rough night for her.
And, we all know Coach Walz is going to tinker and try more combinations that your choices at your favorite pizza joint. It's what he does, and he's done it pretty well over the years..
|"Hey, Jeff! How are your seats? Oh, not bad."
Our Volleyball expert Jeff McAdams must have got lost and somehow ended up in Nashville instead of Chapel Hill yesterday. So, he went to the Curb Center on the Belmont campus. He "might" comment on what he saw Sunday in the comments section, but I wouldn't bet on it.
The Battle for Atlantis is next. Three games in three days. The Cards kick it off against Gonzaga