Elena Scott’s expression (top) reflects the mood of the Louisville volleyball team during the late stages against Stanford. Dani Busboom-Kelly’s team seemed to ran out of gas late, dropping their first match of the 2023 season (Mike DeZarn photos).
The University of Louisville volleyball team was pumped, adrenaline levels running high for a second straight nationally televised game against a ranked opponent in five days. The KFC Yum! Center was hopping again, with 9,761 fans on hand, ready to cheer their favorites on to another big win, doesn’t get much better than this.
Things going well for Louisville during the opening two sets, UofL claiming both of them by scores of 25-22 and 25-20. No. 2 taking care of business against fifth-ranked Stanford Going too well, apparently. One will never know for sure whether the Cardinals were taking the Cardinal for granted or whether Stanford was through being intimidated by the rowdy atmosphere.
The UofL women were never in the third set, losing that one 24-14. Some improvement in the fourth set but falling 25-20. The teams were tied 8-8 in the decisive set but Stanford would prevail 15-12. The UofL team that started the day was nowhere to be found at the end, and the Cardinals were shaking their heads after their first loss in 10 matches this season.
Stanford with a lineup of big, powerful, and tested players from the volleyball prolific state of California. Once they were over the jet lag and four-hour time difference, they made life really difficult for the Cardinals. The dream of a national championship for UofL resembling more of a pipe dream after those last three sets.
Louisville outside hitter Anna DeBeer was great as always, tallying 17 kills and two blocks. Stanford, meanwhile, was having a field day, hitting.329 with 71 kills, two aces, and 10 blocks. Caitie Baird led the way with 23 kills.
Stanford, of course, is one of the new members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Another powerhouse on all future Louisville schedules. Won’t that be fun?