Nov. 30, 2012
Box Score |
The University of Louisville women's volleyball team lost the NCAA Tournament second round match against the University of Michigan 1-3 (15-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-27). The Cardinals finish the year with a record of 30-4.
"Hats off to Michigan, they played a phenomenal match especially in that fourth game when they came back and held their composure. This is what we wanted, an opportunity to play. It was a hell of a volleyball match and you have to be able to execute. You have to be able to execute at a very high level and for a very sustained amount of time to be able to advance in the NCAA tournament. Michigan did that better than us tonight," said U of L coach Anne Kordes. "I thought it was a phenomenal match. It was great for volleyball with an unbelievable crowd. I couldn't thank our U of L fans more for what they brought tonight; you could tell they wanted it. I am just so proud of our team. I'm heartbroken. I'm heartbroken for this loss because you want that for your team so bad, and they have worked so hard. But, I am so proud of the season, so...it was a good night for volleyball."
Lola Arslanbekova carried the team on offense with 18 kills and she also added 17 digs. Gwen Rucker had an impressive showing with 9 kills and 10 blocks. Cailtlin Welch recorded 30 digs for the Cardinals. Katie George and Hannah Kvitle led the team in assists with 23 and 21, respectively. Louisville had a hitting percentage of .232 for the match. The Cardinals totaled more blocks than the Wolverines, tallying 16.0 on the night.
Lexi Erwin led Michigan with 23 kills and 11 digs. Molly Toon added 16 kills to the Wolverine effort and Claire McElheny totaled 12 kills. Lexi Dannemiller set up her teammates all night on offense and recorded 58 assists. Michigan had a team attack percentage of .253 for the night and recorded 7.5 blocks.
In the first set, Michigan used an early 5-0 run to take a 6-3 lead over the Cardinals. The Cards tied at eight but struggled to contain UM's Molly Toon, who led the Wolverine attack with six kills as part of a 17-4 run en route to a 25-15 win. The Cards hit just .083 but did out-block UM 3-1.
Down 16-11 in the second set, U of L cobbled together a 6-0 run while Toon was out of the lineup to tie at 16 and take the lead at 17-16. The Cards never trailed again and powered to a 25-22 win to even the sets at 1-1 going into the break. Arslanbekova led the attack with nine kills in the first two sets with Brooke Mattingly nailing four kills on five swings and Kaitlynn James added four more. Rucker had five blocks at the break. U of L hitting improved from .097 in the first set to .324 in the second.
The Wolverines seized the momentum after the break and ran out to a 14-6 lead and forced a timeout by the Cardinals. U of L had a 5-1 run late in the set, forcing a Michigan timeout after the Cards came within two at 21-19. Despite four straight kills by Rucker, Michigan held their lead powered by three kills by Toon as the Wolverines escaped with a 25-22 win.
After trading points for much of the early part of the fourth set, U of L finally gained some breathing room with a 5-2 run to take a 15-12 lead at the media timeout. The teams were tied at 9-9 when Toon rotated out and the Cards had a 15-13 lead when she re-entered the match. The Cardinals were able to gain leads but Michigan matched every run led by Lexi Erwin. It looked as though U of L would take the set at 23-22, however, Michigan tied things up at 23-23, 24-24, and 25-25. The Wolverines then used some momentum and won the set and match 27-25.
The loss marks the end of the careers for four Cardinal seniors: Arslanbekova, Rucker, Kaitlynn James and Tanya Lukyanenko, all starters for the Cards.
"There were a lot of tears and a lot of appreciation for the seniors because when we came in they had completely changed the standard of effort and standard of commitment...and most of those things are the things that have to happen when the coach isn't around, it's the summertime or in the weight room, or when you're eating, and making right decision when you're out socially," said Kordes. "I really appreciate the leadership that they have been able to provide. They've really grown up and it has been fun to see, even in just two years, it has been fun to see the maturity and how much they care. They are in there crying and hugging on their freshman and I think that is always a good sign as a coach when your freshman and your seniors are really sad for it to be over, because they have bought in so much...usually if your freshman are sad to see your seniors go then you are doing something right, and they are."