After a sluggish start that resulted in a first set loss, Louisville volleyball took the next three sets to claim the 3-1 victory over North Carolina at L&N FCU Arena Sunday afternoon .
Set One: UNC 25, UofL 17
The Cards and Heels would score in ping-pong-like fashion before North Carolina would piece together a couple mini-runs to go up 11-8. The two ACC foes would trade points again into the media timeout at 15-12. The Tar Heels would gain a five-point advantage and force UofL into a timeout at 19-14. UNC would continue to pull away before claiming the first set 25-17.
Set Two: UofL 25, UNC 17
The start of the second set went in similar fashion to the first set. UNC would gain a small 8-6 advantage early on. Then, things began to click for the Cards. Friday's "Block Party" extended into Sunday's match and Louisville gained a 13-12 edge. The Cards would go up 15-13 at the media timeout. A pair of blocks out of the media timeout helped give Louisville a four-point lead at 17-13 and UNC would call a timeout. Another small run put the Cards up 20-14. Louisville would go onto win 25-17.
Set Three: UofL 25, UNC 20
Coming out of halftime, UNC appeared poised to take the third set and found themselves up 13-7. UofL would claw back and even the score at 15 apiece. The Cards were rolling with a solid run and held a 21-17 lead. After North Carolina won a pair of points to get within two, the Cards called a timeout to regroup and go onto win 25-20.
Set Four: UofL 25, UNC 23
A couple of mini-runs gave Louisville 4-1 and 7-3 leads. The Cards would continue to hold off the UNC attack early and take a 12-8 advantage before the visitors burned a timeout. Louisville would go up 17-11 before things took a turn. North Carolina would score four straight, forcing Louisville to take a timeout while up 17-15. The Tar Heels kept up their pressure and went up 22-21, and the Cards took their final timeout. The strategy worked. The Cards would score the final three points of the set to claim the win 25-23.
Claire Chaussee was red hot with a new career-high 24 kills. Her .380 hitting percentage was a match-high. Aiko Jones had eight kills including her 1000th career kill. Raquel Lazaro finished the match with 32 assists. Elena Scott and Anna DeBeer tag-teamed for 12 digs and 10 digs to lead the charge.
Service errors proved nearly fatal for Louisville. They registered 14 on the day with eight Cards having at least one service error and five Cards having multiple.
Louisville improves to 22-2 on the year and 13-1 in the ACC. They remain one game behind Pitt for the lead in the ACC. The Cards hold a two-game lead over third place contender Georgia Tech. Louisville visits the Yellowjackets on Friday and North Carolina on Sunday.
Field Hockey Goes Dancing in the NCAA Tournament
Nervously awaiting to hear their name called in the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, Louisville field hockey had plenty to celebrate when their name was called. The Cards, who are currently on a four-game skid, will face Penn St on Friday.
The other part of Louisville's bracket includes 4-seed Michigan against Albany. The Cards defeated Penn St 2-1 in their second match of the season up in Pennsylvania. Louisville also defeated Michigan 2-1 at Trager Stadium in the middle of the September.
Besides Louisville, the ACC had four other schools make it into the 18-team tournament- 1-seed North Carolina, Wake Forest, Syracuse, and Virginia.
Louisville went 3-5 against the NCAA Tournament field this season with wins over Penn St, Princeton, and Michigan. Including the preseason scrimmage against Miami (OH), Louisville has four wins against the field.
Louisville and Penn St will face off at 2:30 p.m. ET on Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Nittany Lions will be the home team in the match.
Time for Women's Basketball
The women's basketball season is officially upon us. The Cards open their season against Cincinnati at 5:00 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center tonight. A tip-off time this early isn't ideal for the standard working folks, but the ACC Network picked this one up for linear tv.
Louisville is fresh off their fourth Final Four appearance in program history. They're ranked in the top-10 in both the AP Poll and Coaches Poll, sitting at seventh and fifth, respectively.
Cincinnati went 11-14 last year with a 4-11 mark in the American Athletic Conference. The Bearcats' leading scorer, Jillian Hayes, returns after averaging 11.5 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game last season.
On paper, this game appears to be well in favor of Louisville. A new season with plenty of new faces can always lead to some unexpected events early on. Jeff Walz brought in three transfers in Chrislyn Carr, Morgan Jones, and Josie Williams while also adding several incoming freshmen to the current roster. These players will help replace the graduation of Emily Engstler and Kianna Smith, both who are currently playing at the professional level, and Chelsie Hall.
Key returners for the Cards include Hailey Van Lith, Olivia Cochran, Liz Dixon, and Mykasa Robinson, all who are expected to play key roles again this year. Payton Verhulst and Norika Konno also should see an increase in minutes.
The big storyline tonight is Jeff Walz vs Michelle Clark-Heard. Clark-Heard was an assistant for Walz at Louisville back during Louisville's first Final Four run in 2009. The Cards would end up falling to UConn in the title game.
Paulie and I will be on the court to cover the action tonight. I'll capture the moments on camera while Paulie will recap the game tomorrow.
Happy Monday and Go Cards!