Wow, what a ride it was. There are a plethora of emotions stemming from the loss in the Final Four, but at the end of the day, only one remains: gratitude. 32 straight wins, the program’s first #1 ranking, another ACC title, and much more. It didn’t matter how much pressure mounted or how big of targets were on your backs, you all stayed grounded and kept being absolute rockstars. But perhaps the thing I’m most grateful for is your impact on this fanbase.
It’s no secret that University of Louisville fans have been through the mill so to speak, whether that be a NCAA scandal that has clouded the men’s basketball program, losing our president and athletic director in the same day, etc. Needless to say, this fanbase remains passionate despite everything that has happened in the past five-to-six years.
However, one may infer that this fanbase has never been divided as it is right now, due to a handful of continuous debates. But you brought us back. Even in a heartbreaking loss, it was you that united us back together. There is no intended disrespect for the other incredible programs within this athletic department, but simply from a timing aspect, it was you that injected significant energy back into the fanbase. My only regret is that I wish the majority of the fanbase would’ve gotten on the train sooner.
“Louisville is a volleyball school” is a phrase that I saw many regurgitate in one way or fashion. Although exclaimed in a playful manner, all good jokes contain true sentiments. With each victory, more and more of the fanbase rallied around you. As Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) once said, “part of the journey is the end.” But is this truly the end? Maybe if we’re talking about an individual season. However, this journey to win a national championship will continue next season, and the season after that, because of you.
To seniors Emily Scott, Mia Stander, Rachael DeMarcus, and Jamie Vasilou, thank you for your contributions to this program and Card Nation wishes you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
To First-Team All-American Anna Stevenson, you may have started your career at Auburn, but you’ll always be a Louisville legend. Your electric play at the net will be sorely missed.
To the back-to-back ACC Setter of the Year (and First-Team All-American) Tori Dilfer, the same applies to you. The stellar offense flowed freely because of your abilities as a setter. And I mean this with no disrespect, but you’re not a celebrity here because your dad played in the NFL and won a Super Bowl. You’re a celebrity because of how you’ve handled yourself both on-and-off the court these past three seasons.
To Anna DeBeer, Elena Scott, Alexa Hendricks, and Ceci Rush, don’t think they didn’t watch. The younger volleyball players from the Louisville area watched you all play on the biggest stage on national television. You may not recognize immediately, but the impact on this community cannot be understated.
To Dani Busboom Kelly, the coaching staff, and the returning players, all I can say is thank you. We’ll be right back next season, but I’m sure you all are already aware of that. Regardless of wherever the home games may be played, Card Nation will be ready to support you all. The road to Omaha starts now.
Dalton Pence, just another volleyball fan