Anna DeBeer appears to have recovered from the leg injury that sidelined her for much of the 2022 season (Mike DeZarn photo).

The long hot summer is finally nearing an end. The withdrawal symptoms can subside. The athletes have returned to their venues on Belknap Campus.

They’re back, the University of Louisville volleyball team is back, thank goodness. Owning a 3-0 record after the opening weekend. Three games in three days. A little scary at times, the loss of some key players, adjusting to lineup changes, overcoming youthfulness and deficits. Reminding fans of why they pack L&N Arena game after game, the hardest ticket to get in Louisville sports.

End the long layoff since losing to Texas in the national championship match and a 31-2 won-lost record last season. Fairly easy wins over Troy (3-0) and 21st-ranked Washington State (3-0) but having to struggle to overcome Wright State (3-1) in the Cardinal Classic finale.

The Cardinals fell behind Wright State 4-0 in the fourth set before clawing their way back in the game. Only to fall behind again 20-15 down the stretch.

It was either buckle under and dig deep at that point. The Cardinals chose the latter scoring four straight points, with newcomer Chairite Luper and sophomore Phekran Kong registering kills. Luper then rocked L&N Arena with back-to-back kills to tie the set at 21, and the score was tied at 23-23,

Anna DeBeer would assume control at that point, scoring UofL’s  final three points with kills to finally dispose of the Raiders 26-24.

Wright State, a good team, obviously better than Washington State, at least on this date. Giving the Cardinals all they could handle, including the reality that the Cardinals can take no one for granted.

Anna DeBeer (14) would have 45 kills and 47 points during the three-game Cardinal Classic (Mike DeZarn photo).
Elena Scott (left) and Anna DeBeer (right) hooked with Karly Basham of Washingon State. DeBeer amd Basham were teammates at Assumption. Scott played against her at Mercy (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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