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Friday, December 1, 2023

Volleyball roars back on the Raiders 3 -1 -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Hello again everyone and welcome to the month of December and the weekend! I hope everyone is staying warm.

There’s some post season action going on in town this weekend as Louisville plays host to another NCAA Tournament at the KFC Yum! Center. The VolleyCards begin another quest for a national championship. Actually, if you ask the squad I’m sure the quest began when they lost in the finals last season...

So lets hop right on into it!


UofL had the second time slot for volleyball action at the Yum! Center last night where they faced Wright State in the first round.   The first match began at 4 p.m. (and UofL's next opponent) featured Western Michigan and Auburn University where the Broncos dominated the #7 Tigers in a surprising 3-0 sweep.

But first, the hostess with the mostessssss, our Louisville Cardinals. 

Final       UofL 3 WRI 1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-20)   

The Cardinals opened the NCAA tournament with a win over a tough and familiar Wright State team. UofL faced the Raiders earlier in the season more than 3 months ago on August 27th where the Cards walked out of L&N Arena with another 3-1 victory.

This go around, it was in the Yum! Center with more than 5,000 in attendance.

Cara Cresse lead the attack for Louisville hitting at a .500% 👀 clip with 13 kills and 5 blocks. UofL got alot of support from the middle of the court with Phekran Kong also leading Louisville with 9 kills and 9 blocks. As a team, the Cards had a 15 - 6 block advantage over Wright St.

Wright State was able to hold the Cards to a .192 hitting % as a team. The Raiders were in the right spots at the right time A LOT of the time throughout the match, It was not an easy task to take down the Raiders as they came out ready to rumble. I thought the team looked a little winded to begin and struggled to 'find their sea legs' in the first set but they didn't really warm up it seemed until the end of the second set.

Our photographer Jared Anderson, at the event,  said he wasn't nervous.   I will say it did not look like the Louisville team we've watched all season.. making silly errors or swinging too strong and out of bounds.  But every point in this match felt hard earned.   

The Cardinals need to get in their nest early tonight and get ready for a Friday night match in the second round.  

Lets look at the next opponent.... 

About Western Mich

Head coach Colleen Munson has spent 19 years in Kalamazoo leading the Western Michigan program. This year, her Bronco squad is just one of two teams to boast 30 wins entering the NCAA Tournament. 

Senior setter Logan Case leads the charge for WMU. The MAC Player of the Year and Setter of the Year averages 11.87 assists per set, the second-highest mark in the country.

Case has a trio of experienced attackers to choose from offensively. Graduate outside hitter Maggie King paces the team in kills per set (3.69) and points per set (4.10). Keona Salesman and Anna Calcagno aren't too far behind. Salesman averages a robust 3.45 kills per set while Calcagno comes in at 3.00.

Western Michigan's defense is captained by Michigan native Andelyn Simkins. The senior libero took home MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors, averaging 4.89 digs per set.

Western Michigan (31-2) in the first round

Western Michigan 3,  #7 Auburn 0

The victory is Western Michigan's first NCAA Tournament win since 2008 and eighth in program history. That season, the Broncos won a pair of matches to reach the program's MAC-record fifth regional semifinal. Thursday's win also extended WMU's winning streak to 21, its longest streak since 1983.

Logan Case had 44 assists, the Broncos hit a blistering .367, with Calcagno and King pacing the attack with 14 kills apiece. Mary Clare Brusek added nine kills, with Salesman contributing eight to the cause.

WMU also used the service line as a weapon, tallying a season-best 11 service aces.  Simkins led the way with a career-high six aces, one shy of the single-match program record.

Simkins anchored Western Michigan's defense with a match-high 25 digs, while Reeghan Boyer pitched in nine digs and King added seven.

As Always,
Go Cards


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