By Matt Bradshaw —
No. 25 volleyball returned home from a four-game road trip and swept Duke 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-21). Louisville moves to 12-4 on the season and 5-0 in ACC play.
After winning six consecutive matches and remaining unbeaten in the ACC, the Cardinals reached the top-25 in national rankings. Continued success in conference play will only boost their NCAA standing further.
“This was a really dominant performance,” head coach Dani Busboom Kelly said. “We’ve been on the road for two weeks, so it’s great to come home to Cardinal Arena and play awesome.”
Outside hitter Melanie McHenry led the offense with 15 kills against the Blue Devils. The junior is fast approaching 1000 career kills with 959 after the victory.
“Tonight you saw [McHenry] hit every shot she could hit, pass well and defend well,” Busboom Kelly said. “She’s a special player and I’m pretty excited to be able to share that milestone with her.”
Junior outside hitter Megan Sloan added 11 kills and freshman middle hitter Emily Scott recorded four blocks. Senior libero Molly Sauer paced the defense with 15 digs.
Both teams came out fighting but U of L asserted a 10-4 lead. Sloan, Scott and redshirt sophomore Piper Roe controlled play at the net.
Duke stayed within striking distance but hurt themselves with five errors and low hitting percentage. Louisville played flawlessly with zero errors and .552 hitting percentage.
Setter Wilma Rivera directed the offense and fellow senior Amanda Green worked the court with all-around play. The Cards took the first set 25-15.
“Wilma had one of her best games of the year,” Busboom Kelly said. “When your setter has a great game, everybody is going to have a great game.”
The Blue Devils remained close in the second set until U of L grabbed the advantage with seven straight points. Duke continued to hinder their chances with errors and Rivera boosted the run with a couple of service aces.
Louisville added some errors of their own and a lower hitting percentage but managed to work their way to a 25-16 win. McHenry notched five kills at the net and Sauer guarded the back row with five digs.
Duke turned the match around with a 6-0 run in the third set for a 10-6 lead. U of L fought back but continued to trail 14-11 before calling a timeout.
“There’s always room for improvement on everything,” Busboom Kelly said. “Defensively, we can still go to another level. The main thing is being able to shut down opponents.”
Scott got the home crowd going and put the Cardinals ahead 17-16 with back-to-back kills. Louisville maintained their lead and cemented the sweep with a 25-21 score.
Volleyball hosts Wake Forest on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. Tough ACC opponents remain throughout the month of October, including undefeated Pittsburgh.
“Tonight was hopefully a big turning point for us,” Busboom Kelly said. “We’ve been up and down, but if we can just stay steady we should have a great conference season.”
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Photos by Matt Bradshaw / The Louisville Cardinal