Cara Cresse celebrates one of her 13 kills (top photo) while Anna DeBeer and Elana Scott double up on a dig (bottom) (Mike DeZarn photos).

Cara Cresse may be coming into her own at just the right time for the University of Louisville volleyball team. Her timing could not be better with the Cardinals seeking to improve on their national championship appearance in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament last season.

The 6-foot-6 red shirt sophomore from Fort Wayne, Ind., was a force in the first round match, coming through with a career-high 13 kills and five blocks to lead UofL to a 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-20 win over Wright State.

The Cardinals needed a career night from her after losing the first set, sending a wave of apprehension through the crowd of 5,035 at the KFC Yum! Center. Wright State was a  formidable opponent and no stranger to UofL fans, having lost in four sets to the Cardinals in August.

“It was a heck of a match tonight for the first round, and Wright State played great. We knew they would,” said UofL head coach Dani Busboom-Kelly “Randomly, we drew them, and we played them in the preseason and that was another very tight match then, so we knew they were going to be a well-polished team.”

The Cardinals improved to 25-4 overall this season, hitting .192 with seven aces and a season-high 15 blocks. Middle blocker Phekran Kong tallied nine kills and a career-high nine blocks, outside hitter Charitie Luper totaled nine kills, nine digs, and four blocks, outside hitter Anna DeBeer recorded eight kills, 11 digs, and an ace, and opposite hitter Aiko Jones added seven kills, seven digs, two aces, and three blocks. Setter Elle Glock totaled 35 assists on top of eight digs and a block, while libero Elena Scott continued to anchor defensively with 21 digs and five assists.

Next up is a dangerous Western Michigan team that eliminated a good Auburn teams in three sets.

Strong support for the UofL volleyball team with 5,032 fans on hand at the Yum! Center (Mike DeZarn photo).
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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

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