UK Volleyball Loses Home Opener to Louisville
Cards fend off Cats' Game 3 comeback attempt to complete sweep
U of L cruised to a 15-4 win in game one thanks to errorless hitting combined with less-than efficient attacking by the Cats.
UK competed much better in game two, but could not pull closer than three points in the late going and dropped the game 15-10. The Cats then fell behind 12-4 in game three before drawing within 14-12 as a result of some sloppy play by the Cards and the continued dominance of UK middle blocker Megan Weiskircher. Despite the solid rally by the Cats, U of L persevered to take the game, 15-12, and complete the sweep.
"You have to give U of L credit because they came out firing from the opening serve and had a real solid offensive gameplan," Braden added. "But there were adjustments that our players need to make in response to their actions."
While the offense for Kentucky (1-3) was struggling to find its rhythm in game one, the attack for Louisville (3-0) was the picture of perfection as the Cards hit at a .407 clip. Eleven kills were divided among five U of L players in the game. UK had a negative hitting percentage (-.029) for the game as the Cats committed 10 hitting errors compared to posting just nine kills.
Despite their inexperience, the fortunes improved for the Wildcats in game two as the team battled back for ties at 3-3 and then 8-8. A rash of hitting errors halted UK's rally and the Cards closed the game with a 7-2 run. U of L received five of those points as a result of errors by the Cats, but the powerful arms of Anastasia Zaitseva and Sonja Percan certainly made controlling the ball difficult for the home squad. The two Eastern Europeans combined for seven kills in the game and 16 in the match.
The Wildcats started game three about as slowly as they did the opener of the match, but turned things around soon enough to put some sustained pressure on the Cards for the first time in the match. With UK down 6-1 in the deciding game, junior setter Whitney Sample entered the match for the first time and provided the Cats with an offensive spark. Entering the day averaging 10.18 assists per game, Sample had a big hand in an 10-5 run by the Cats with seven assists and a key block assist with April Barnhorst. But following a stalemate that resulted in seven consecutive side-outs, U of L reached a game point that was just too much for the Cats to overcome.