Never let it be said that the Cardinal Couple crew doesn't have each others' backs.
Jeff with you here on Saturday, with Case involved with...oh I don't know, something interesting, I'm sure, today and unavailable to write. He will be back in the saddle and writing tomorrow in my normal place.
This means I get a recap to write though, which has been a rare thing for me in the typical Sunday slot.
Volleyball Rolls On in ACC Play
Speaking of "back in the saddle", yesterdays volleyball match featured, to much crowd applause, the return to play of Anna DeBeer. DeBeer is not back 100%, she only played in the back row, essentially as a Defensive Specialist, but her presence and solid passing were valuable there.
The Cards took a pretty easy victory over a roughly .500 NC State team, 25-11, 25-21, 25-16.
Frankly, both teams kinda stunk in hitting. UofL only managed .177 for the match, while NC State had more errors than kills, digging a -.044 hole across the three sets. The difference making stats here were in blocking, which of course is a particular point of pride for this UofL squad and last night's match was marketed as a "Block Party" because of it. UofL won the blocking battle 11-6. DBK's squad also won the serving game with eight aces to NC State's three, and keeping service errors under some control, UofL "only" gifted eight points to NC State from the service line, while NC State was extra generous with 11.
The first set was in UofL's hands almost from start. NC State picked up the first two points, but the service errors started early for them. That put Elena Scott at the service line and she promptly lead the Cards on a four point run. Another point for the Wolfpack and it was Aiko Jones turn to have a four point service run. A little more back and forth and Amaya Tillman showed her serving prowess with a six point run, including a pair of aces. DeBeer almost finished out the set with a five point run with an ace.
The second set saw an initial change of fortune. NC State climbed out to an 8-3 lead, then 11-6. UofL started, slowly, clawing back some of that margin, but wouldn't take the lead again in the set until 17-16 on an Aiko Jones kill in the midst of a five point run with Raquel Lázaro at the service. The previous lead was at 1-0 from a Claire Chaussee kill. More back and forth with slow extension of the lead by the Cards to the final 25-21 set score.
The third set was more like the first. A Chaussee kill would deliver the serving duties to Aiko Jones who picked up a pair of service aces while UofL extended their lead from 4-2 out to 7-2. Paige Morningstar got on the court in a service specialist role while UofL pushed the lead out to 11-3. NC State went on a run to reduce that lead down to 11-7. Side out percentages for both teams climbed from that point as neither team served more than two in a row the rest of match, with UofL closing it out on an Elena Scott service ace at 25-16.
The outcome of the match is not really surprising, NC State is, to be honest, a middle of the pack team and never posed much of a serious threat to UofL.
Volleyball will be back in action Sunday at 1pm, again, at LNFCU Arena, hosting UNC. The Tarheels are another middle of the pack team, just barely ahead of the now 6-7 Wolfpack with a record of 7-6. ACC Network Extra will have the coverage.
Volleyball Photos from Jared Anderson
Basketball Hits Another List
Some people are list makers. I'm not, but UofL Women's Basketball certainly is.
Hailey Van Lith and Morgan Jones were both listed on the 50 player initial watch list for the Naismith Trophy. The most prestigious of these awards, the other watch lists that have all seen Cards included have all been for best player in a role, such as shooting guard, or point guard. This one is the big one, it's the Player of the Year award, so you see the mix of bigs playing in the center and guards out shooting from the perimeter on this list.
Van Lith has made the initial watch list all three of her seasons of playing so far, while this is the first appearance by Morgan Jones.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast
The CCRHP will have a limited squad today, with, it seems, only Paulie and I making the call today. We'll make the best of it, and I'm sure we'll have fun.
You can check it out live on Youtube at https://youtu.be/Jv6E0jvmT3U, or afterwards at your favorite podcast directory.