Volleyball riding month long win streak

By on October 26, 2015

By Noah Allison–

With a 3-0 sweep of Virginia on Saturday, Louisville volleyball has remained undefeated in ACC and continues to win in dominant fashion. The Cards, 16-4 overall, are 10-0 in the ACC and having been riding the win streak for over a month.

With 10 ACC matches left, the competition only gets tougher with matches against some of the ACC’s best programs in North Carolina and Florida State.

“Moving on its definitely going to be a lot harder,” senior setter Katie George said.

“I think there is always a little bit of subconscious pressure when you’re undefeated but we really want to make it our mission to win the ACC. If going undefeated is the way to do it then that’s what we are going to try to do.”

George, the senior captain of the team, leads Louisville in assists with 871 to this point.

With a talented and deep roster, Louisville has been able to overcome some tough early season losses and is performing better than most would have expected.

“In preseason we had some hard losses and to know that the work we put in after those losses is showing up feels great. We’re happy that we are putting in work and seeing results,” senior outside hitter Erin Fairs said.

“It’s so fun, I am so happy that we can put all this together and I can’t wait for the rest of our conference.”

With the success has come a new level of confidence that seems to be part of the winning formula. Not only has Louisville managed to string off 10-straight wins in ACC play, but they have also shut out eight of the ten opponents in the process.

“It’s awesome. To get 3-0 wins definitely sends a message to the ACC that we aren’t playing games,” Fairs added. Fairs leads Louisville in kills on the season with 288.

As the Cards keep rolling, they seem to keep improving with this weekend’s sweep of UVA in Virginia seeming to be the biggest win of the season. The maturity of the squad allows for the focus to shift in practice.

“Practices have been great. I think what’s nice about it is we get to fine tune little things. We don’t have to focus on overall fundamentals or team defense; we can take things out for individuals to improve on which is great. It gives them confidence when we’ve specifically worked on one or two little things,” head coach Anne Kordes said.

The success is by no means a surprise for Kordes who has built a talented and deep 16-person roster. The variety and work ethic that the team brings each day is dictating the momentum.

“There is a really good strong attitude and there is great leadership throughout our program, they don’t take anything lightly,” Kordes continues.

“When you have Katie George as a senior, who wants desperately to go out strong, there’s nobody that even thinks about coming in and not giving it there all.”

“Everybody plays a very big part in it. We know that in order to do big things everybody has to come to play every night. We’re doing that right now,” George added.

Of the contributors, two keys to the Cardinals success have been freshman Aniah Philo and Molly Sauer. As the starting libero, Sauer leads the team in digs with 329 and has added a team best 23 service aces. At outside hitter Philo is proving to be versatile and dependable. With 118 kills and 160 digs on the season, much of her success has come in ACC play. She has been named ACC Freshman of the Week twice.

“Aniah is doing phenomenal, she takes a swing no matter what and Molly is so calm back there in the back row, she does a great job just keeping us in system. Its great to have freshman who step up and play well, but to have there composure as freshman I think we are in a great situation and we have a great advantage over other teams,” George said.

Junior outside hitter Janelle Jenkins was named First Team All-ACC last year and continues to do it all this year.

“She plays three different positions back row which is really hard to do because its three different defensive schemes. She’s so fast, fast enough to react to anything,” Kordes said.

Jenkins is second on the team in kills with 228, second on the team with 21 services aces, third on the team with 161 digs and third on the team with 57 blocks.

Louisville’s depth is definitely a tool Kordes has utilized to her advantage.

“Looking back there to the bench I know that I can do some different things depending on what the score is or what the situation is and I certainly like that as a coach,” she said.

While Louisville is enjoying their undefeated conference record senior captain Katie George manages to keep the priorities in check.

“If we drop a match here or there our soul focus is we want to make it as deep in the NCAA Tournament as we can. The ACC is a tough conference and you have to be able to bounce back if you don’t get a win. We’ll see what happens. We are in such a better position then we were last year so it’s exciting to be able to face these teams and see what can happen,” she said.

With ten games left in the regular season, the end of college volleyball is in sight for George and her and fellow seniors Roxanne McVey and Erin Fairs. Which only adds fuel to the fire.

“I’m not really looking at it as a timeline, I’m looking at it as each game we have to win to go undefeated,” George said.

“That’s my only goal. I’m not concerned with the timing of of when I’m going to be done with volleyball, because I’m still on this mission.”

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