Senior outside hitter Lola Arslanbekova had 20 kills and 11 digs to lead the No. 24 ranked University of Louisville volleyball team to a 3-0 sweep upset of No. 11-ranked Purdue in the first match of the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge in the Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati.
"I am proud of them as a team. They are playing like a team, playing gutsy and playing with the belief that they can win," said U of L head coach Anne Kordes. "That is what you coach them up to do and want them to play with confidence in each other and in the coaching staff. I just think Purdue is a great team with a phenomenal coaching staff."
U of L, 7-1, hit .283 and had five blocks in the 25-21, 25-17, 25-23 sweep. Purdue falls to 5-2 and were led by Ariel Turner's nine kills. Caitlin Welch had a match-high 21 digs. Kaitlynn James added seven kills and three aces. The Boilers were led by Anna Drewry's nine kills.
The Cards used a 6-0 serving run by Hannah Kvitle to go up 9-3 on the Boilers and Purdue played catch-up the rest of the way. PU had a little three point run late to pull within five at 21-17 and sparked a Cardinal timeout. Purdue scored twice more but U of L surged with three of the last five points going to the Cards. Purdue was hampered by .161 hitting and was not able to capitalize on five UL service errors.
After leading 9-4 early, the Cardinals used a 5-1 run and .366 hitting to stay ahead of Purdue at 20-13. Purdue rallied with a 4-1 run to force a Cardinal timeout at 21-17. The Cards got a block, a Lola kill and Gwen Rucker kill for the 25-17 win and a 2-0 lead at the break. Juhl led with three kills on three swings.
"I was glad to see Emily Juhl
come back into play and blow it open in the second set. She won that set for us," said Kordes.
Louisville was down 14-13 in the third set, managed to tie at 15 on two straight Arslanbekova kills but had to burn its last timeout when Purdue pulled back ahead 19-17. The Cards tied at 19 and forced a PU timeout. A Boiler hitting error and another Lola kill took U of L to a 21-20 lead and Coach Dave Shondell used his final timeout to regroup. The teams traded points with Purdue coming within one at 24-23 on a kill by Annie Drews. But two straight Arslanbekova gave U of L the set and match.
"There are times when Lola just picks us up and carries us on her back," said Kordes.
U of L plays No. 20-ranked Illinois tomorrow at 4:30 at Fifth Third, as it will try for its second upset of a ranked BIG EAST team.
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