By Matt Bradshaw–
In their final home game of the season, volleyball (22-7, 16-2) edged North Carolina in a five-set thriller (25-21, 25-17, 23-25, 21-25, 15-11).
Leading 2-0 early in the match, the Cardinals were looking for an easy sweep as they honored seniors Maggie DeJong, Tess Clark, Coline Coessens and Gabbie Wiley. The Tarheels responded by winning back-to-back sets.
It was a simple explanation for coach Dani Busboom Kelly.
“We got too comfortable with the lead and let ourselves get complacent,” Busboom Kelly said.
Clark led the seniors with 11 kills. DeJong added seven kills and four blocks. Wiley led the team with 28 digs, with Coessens digging six as well.
Sophomore Melanie McHenry led the offense with a whopping 30 kills. Junior Jasmine Bennett and redshirt sophomore Amanda Green contributed 11 and nine kills. Junior libero Molly Sauer dug 25.
Busboom Kelly said Wiley and Sauer were huge for the team and they’re strong play kept the team going.
The first set was a struggle between both teams with eight ties and six lead changes. North Carolina took the lead at 17-16 with a block of Green, forcing a U of L a timeout.
Green and McHenry came back from the timeout with a pair of kills, taking the lead back 18-17. McHenry killed three more and DeJong ended the set with a decisive block as Louisville won 25-21.
The Cardinals controlled the second set decisively with nearly double the kills as UNC (17-9) and four blocks to none. McHenry, Bennett, Green and Clark kept the crowd going with some monster kills. DeJong had three of the four blocks as Louisville won 25-17.
The third set saw a complete turnaround in gameplay. The Cardinals looked as if they would win easy, leading 20-13. The Tarheels surprised with a 12-3 run of their own, winning the third set 25-23.
North Carolina had the upper hand for most of the fourth set. Every time Louisville seemed to get within striking distance, the Tarheels would pull away. With the game tied at 20-20, the Cardinals were unable to finish and lost the fourth set 25-21.
Down 5-1 in the final set, Louisville looked as if they might throw away a match that seemed clinched. McHenry and the front row powered the comeback, winning the final set 15-11.
Volleyball begins postseason play at Boston College on Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Photos by Matt Bradshaw / The Louisville Cardinal
Photos by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal
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