Louisville kicked off the NCAA Tournament at home with a sweep of UIC and will move onto the second round. The Cards improved to 29-0 with 21 of those wins coming via a 3-set sweep.
Here is the 3 set recap from GoCards.com with photo gallery and pressers below.
Tori Dilfer got the Cardinals going early, leading the team to a quick 4-0 lead with solid serving. Louisville continued to apply pressure through the attack, earning three more kills to go up 8-3 and force the Flames to call their first timeout. UofL took advantage of the break, scoring three of the first four points, courtesy of three straight kills from Anna DeBeer, to extend its lead to seven at 11-4 before going on another 3-0 run shortly after to go up 14-5. UIC scrambled to stay within nine, calling its second and final timeout down 17-8. The Cardinals once again took advantage of the break, railing off four straight points to cap off a 6-0 run to push their lead to 21-8. The two teams would go on to trade points back and forth, but Illinois Chicago would not be able to overcome the deficit as the Cardinals downed the Flames 25-11 to take a one set advantage.
The second set was tightly contested to start as neither team could hold momentum. The Cardinals took a three-point lead at 7-4 before Illinois Chicago scored off a hitting error by Anna Stevenson, the first hitting error of the match for the Cardinals. The teams continued to trade points but back-to-back kills by Amaya Tillman and Aiko Jones put the Cards up four at 11-7 and forced the Flames to call their first timeout of the set. The UIC timeout paid off as the Flames took three of the first four points following the break to get back within two at 12-10 but the Cardinals wouldn’t back down as they went on a three-point scoring run to go up five at 16-11 and force Illinois Chicago to use its final timeout of the set. The Flames timeout paid off again as they halted the UofL run to go on a 3-0 run of their own, closing the gap to two again at 16-14 before going on a four-point run to take an 18-17 lead, their first of the match as Louisville called its first timeout of the set. UofL came out of the timeout on the attack, scoring four straight points, with kills from Amaya Tillman and Claire Chaussee, to retake the lead 21-18. UIC rallied to get back within two, but two kills from Anna DeBeer and an ace from Elena Scott would finally close out the set two victory for the cards 25-20.
Louisville carried its momentum into the third set, scoring seven straight points, highlighted by three kills and a block by Aiko Jones, for a 7-1 lead and force Illinois Chicago to use its first timeout of the set. The Flames scratched one point across off an attack error by Amaya Tillman to end the Cardinals scoring run, but the Cards went right back on the attack, going on a 4-0 run to go up nine at 11-2. The teams traded points, but a kill and ace back-to-back from Anna DeBeer put Louisville up 10 at 14-4 and forced the Flames to take their final timeout of the set. UIC took the first point following its timeout, but UofL went on to score the next three in a row to extend its lead to 17-5. The Cardinals and Flames traded points, but the dominant play of the Cards was too much to handle as UofL scored six of the final nine points to finish off the sweep 25-11.
Up next, the Cardinals will face-off against the Ball State Cardinals in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. ET at L&N Federal Credit Union Arena.