Volleyball looks to serve up Irish

By on September 29, 2008

By Catherine Laroche

Justine Landi, junior outside hitter, was surprised when the University of Louisville volleyball team was picked to finish No.1 in the preseason Big East coaches’ poll. Eight of the 15 Big East conference coaches picked Louisville to finish on top.
“We were surprised because St. Johns has done so well before and they’re actually right behind us,” Landi said. “It will be a battle. We’re a fighting team and I think we can do it. I think we will get exactly what we were predicted to be.”
However, when looking at the team’s win/loss record, one might be surprised to see more L’s than W’s. The Cards have fallen to non-conference opponents, such as No. 1 Penn State, Valparaiso, Indiana, Illinois State, Purdue and Dayton.
Leonard Yelin, volleyball head coach, said those games were effected by the loss of four injured players.
“We haven’t started [the season] well for a couple of reasons,” Yelin said. “Two senior starters were injured so we had to come up with different lineups and put in two freshmen setters. We’ve played in four tournaments and they’re getting better.”
The team is not letting the early losses get in the way of their ultimate goal of winning the Big East and advancing throughout post-season play.
“The goal every year is Final Four and Big East Champs,” Landi said. “No matter who’s on the team, the goal never changes.”
Landi said she is confident in the team’s ability to accomplish these goals because of the “fight” within the team.
“Now that we have gotten to the fifth game after being down,  it’s to the point of actually winning the game,” Landi said.
“We’ve got the experience, especially with a lot of freshmen getting on the court. I feel like they’ve been playing with us forever and I think they’re beginning to get that feeling too.”
Despite having five freshmen, the older Cardinals say the team chemistry has been better than it’s ever been.
“It’s the most amazing chemistry that you will find on any sports team ever,” Lecia Brown, junior middle blocker, said. “It’s not just how you come in and play together. You have people you can talk to and hang out with. They’re like a family to you.”
The Cardinals are ready to jump into Big East play now that their injured athletes have recovered and are back on the court. Some of the conference opponents they’re looking forward to meeting up with include volleyball dominants St. John’s, DePaul and Notre Dame.
U of L will continue their Big East journey when the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame stroll into Cardinal Arena Friday at 2 p.m.
“They’re a good team and we’re always excited to play them,” Brown said. “Ever since my freshman year, I know that when Notre Dame comes down to play you have to be prepared. It’s definitely going to be a fun game.”

About Michael Kennedy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *