Louisville Hands #24 WKU First Loss of 2017 Season

  0 Wendy Mayer | September 01st, 2017 | ACC, College - Women's Indoor, Division I Mid-Major, News


  • Louisville def. #24 Western Kentucky 3-1 (18-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-16)
  • Louisville moves to 1-2; Western Kentucky drops to 4-1
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Attendance: 1025
  • Box Score

A strong block and tough service game lifted Louisville to an upset win over in-state foe No. 24 Western Kentucky at the Cardinal Classic on Friday. The Cardinals bested the Lady Toppers 13-4 at the net and 8-4 from the end line, while outhitting WKU .257 to .151. WKU managed three more kills (47-44) and eight more digs (47-39), but could not overcome 28 hitting errors.

Western Kentucky outhit Louisville .343 to .107 in the opening stanza, but UofL dominated the hitting percentage down the stretch, outdoing WKU .345 to .000 in Set 3 and .345 to .069 in Set 4.

Sophomore outside hitter Melanie McHenry paced the Louisville offense with 12 kills, while hitting at a .375 clip and adding seven blocks and six digs. Redshirt sophomore outside Amanda Green (6), senior middle blocker Maggie DeJong (5) and junior middle Jasmine Bennett (5) followed offensively. DeJong also put up a team-leading nine blocks. Senior defensive specialist Gabbie Wiley served up five of the team’s eight aces, while junior setter Wilma Rivera and junior libero Molly Sauer paced the defense with 12 and 11 digs respectively. Rivera rounded out a double double with 34 assists.

Four WKU players managed eight or more kills, led by senior opposite Sydney Engle‘s 10. Junior middle Rachel Anderson (9), senior outside Alyssa Cavanaugh (9) and senior setter Jessica Lucas (8) rounded out the group. Engle hit at a team-best .421 clip and added a team-leading three blocks, while Lucas chipped in 10 digs to the team tally. Sophomore libero Emma Kowalkowski pulled up a team-leading 17 digs, followed by freshman defensive specialist Darby Music (11). Music also served up a team-best two aces.

Western Kentucky broke away early in Set 1 with a 6-0 run, including two Taylor Dellinger kills and two UofL miscues, which made it 10-4. The Lady Toppers led by seven at 15-8 when the Cardinals tried to mount a comeback with three straight points. WKU responded with a 4-0 run of its own, including two more errors. The Cardinals would get no closer than five the rest of the way (last at 23-18), as Cavanaugh ended the set with a block and a kill.

Louisville shook off the loss and kicked off Set 2 with five straight points, including a Wiley ace and a kill and a block by DeJong.  Down 8-2, WKU rallied to within one with a 5-0 run of its own. With just a one-point edge at 11-10, the Cardinals kicked into gear with seven straight points, capped by back to back DeJong stuffs. The Lady Toppers cut the margin to four at 23-19, before a Tess Clark kill and another Rivera ace evened the match.

The teams played to a 7-all tie in Set 3 before UofL pulled away. A 5-0 run started a larger 8-1 rally, which gave the Cardinals a 15-8 advantage. A kill and two blocks by green and another Wiley ace aided the rally. Up just four at 19-15, Louisville came through yet again with a 6-0 run starring McHenry, who managed three kills and a block. Wiley served up two aces in the final run, including the final point.

Set 4 was close through the midway point, featuring eight ties, last at 11-all. Louisville worked its way to a four-point lead at 16-12 with help from two WKU miscues and two Bennett putaways. With her Cardinals leading 19-15, Clark came through in a big way with three kills in a final 6-1 run. Rivera served up her fifth ace and DeJong notched the evening’s final kill.



Courtesy: Louisville Athletics

Senior outside hitter Tess Clark had a match-high 13 kills, hitting .312 and adding a block as the University of Louisville volleyball team upset in-state rival No. 24 Western Kentucky 3-1 Friday night in the second match of the Cardinal Classic in front of a sold-out crowd.  Illinois beat Kent State 3-0 in the first match of the evening.

“I don’t think we could have scripted it any better with bringing in Western Kentucky, who’s an in-state rival, a great team, a team that’s always in the top-25 and top of their conference,” said Dani Busboom Kelly, UofL head coach. “You know getting kind of punched in the mouth a little bit in game one and being able to respond was huge for this team and I think just set the tone in Cardinal Arena. We’ve been talking about the 87% winning percentage here and we want to do everything we can to protect that.”

The Cardinals won 18-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-15 to notch their first win of the season and move to 1-2. WKU moves to 4-1. The Toppers hit .151 led by Sydney Engel’s 10 kills and three blocks.  UofL got 12 kills from Melanie McHenry, who also had seven blocks.  Maggie DeJong led all blockers with nine. In all. the Cards had a season-high 13 blocks.

“As a team blocking has been a focus since the spring so we’ve really been harping on them that we’ve got to get better and be more physical blocking,” said Busboom Kelly.  “Western hit .340 in game one and once we kind of figured out what they were doing, you know our players were just fantastic at making adjustments and then you saw they had 13 blocks in three sets.”

The Cards fell behind early in the first set and could not overcome .343 hitting by the Hilltoppers before falling 25-18. WKU setter Jessica Lucas was able to dump for three kills and added an ace, hitting .600 for the set.  UofL hit  just .107 led by Amanda Green‘s two kills.

Cards came out strong in the second set and took a 5-0 lead early to spark a timeout by WKU. Tess Clark was able to get free on the left side for four kills and was helped by Maggie DeJong‘s four blocks for the 25-18 win to tie the set score going into the break.  WKU’s hitting cooled to .161 with no blocks.

The Cards took the lead early in the third set at 5-4 on a kill by Tess Clark. Although WKU tied at seven, they never retook the lead.   UofL ran off the final seven points unanswered down the stretch, powered by Gabbie Wiley’s serving five straight points as the Cards cruised to the 25-16 win.

The Cards were down 4-2 early in the fourth set but tied at nine and then kept the Toppers at arm’s length as the set moved on. Tied at 11, U of L outscored the Toppers 14-5 for the 25-17 win.

On Saturday morning, Illinois takes on WKU at 10:30, followed by Louisville vs. Kent State at 12:30 p.m. Western Kentucky plays Kent State at 5:30 p.m. followed by the nightcap of Louisville vs. Illinois at 7:30 p.m.


Courtesy: Western Kentucky Athletics

For the second weekend in a row, WKU Volleyball faced the tournament hosts for their home openers as Louisville outlasted the 24th-ranked Lady Topper squad 3-1 from the newly renovated Cardinal Arena. After taking the opening set 25-18 for its eight-consecutive set victory, the streak ended as Louisville claimed the next three frames. The WKU squad is now 4-1 on the year.

“Tonight was a disappointing night for sure,” head coach Travis Hudson said of the loss. “Louisville continued to get better and better as the night went along and we did not. In big matches you need your veterans to step up and make plays and we struggled with that tonight.”

Friday, Sept. 1 – at Louisville | L, 1-3 | Box Score
Saturday, Sept. 2 – vs. Illinois | 9:30 a.m. CT | Stats
Saturday, Sept. 2 – vs. Kent State | 4:30 p.m. CT | Stats

WKU Volleyball wasted no time getting out ahead of the weekend hosts, jumping up front with a 9-4 lead to force an early Louisville timeout. The Lady Toppers ran out to a 15-10 advantage and then on to a 19-11 lead thanks to four-straight points to force UofL’s second stoppage. WKU pushed ahead and ultimately took the first set 25-18 thanks in part to a balanced offensive attack that saw Jessica Lucas, Rachel Anderson, Sydney Engle and Alyssa Cavanaugh each tally three kills in the frame.

Louisville bounced back in set two, jumping out to a 5-0 start to open the frame. The Lady Toppers fought back and pulled within one at 10-11 but UofL scored the next seven points to put the set out of reach. WKU worked back within four at 23-19 but the Cardinals closed things up with a 25-19 second-set win to even the match up.

After scoring the first point following the long break, the Lady Toppers hung tight with Louisville, forcing six early ties in the match with the final coming at 7-7 before the Cardinals scored four straight points to force a WKU timeout. Louisville continued its tough attack and forced WKU’s second stoppage with the Red and White trailing 15-8. The Lady Toppers again pulled within four late in the frame, but couldn’t break through dropping the third set 25-15.

Playing a fourth set for just the second time of the 2017 campaign, WKU jumped ahead to a slim two-point advantage and held on as far in as 9-7. Both sides battled and knotted things up at 11-11 before Louisville went on to score of the next six points. Trailing 16-12, WKU called a timeout and kept the margin at four to the 15-19 point before Louisville tallied another four-point run. The Cardinals put the match away taking the fourth set 25-16.

Lucas registered her second double-double outing of the season as WKU faced its first Power 5 conference opponent of the year. The senior finished the match with 35 assists to go along with 10 digs and eight kills.

Fellow senior Engle led the way for WKU on the night at the net with 10 kills and three blocks, both team highs. Engle also chipped in five assists and five digs for the Lady Toppers. Cavanaugh and Anderson were both one kill back with nine each.

Emma Kowalkowski led the Lady Topper defense with 17 digs, her third 15+ dig showing and fourth double-digit performance as the WKU libero. Darby Music matched her season-best dig total with 11 on the match.

In total, the match saw 18 ties and five lead changes throughout.

The WKU offense was held to a .151 attack percentage on the match against UofL’s .257 clip. The Lady Toppers recorded three more kills than Louisville at a 47-44 margin in addition to outdigging the Cardinals 47-39.

Weekend action from the Louisville-hosted Cardinal Classic will continue Saturday as the Lady Toppers will take on Illinois at 9:30 a.m. CT followed by Kent State at 4:30 p.m. CT.

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for Volleymob.com after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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