Louisville 3, Illinois 1



Columbia, Mo.Taking a 3-1 victory over Illinois, the Louisville Cardinals advance to the second round of the 2004 NCAA Volleyball Tournament. Keeping the game close, Louisville counted 69 kills and 24 blocks while Illinois recorded 65 kills and 14 blocks.

Opening the first match, Louisvilles blocking put the Cardinals up early. Before they could settle into a dominant rhythm however, Illinois fired back overpowering the Cards scoring four consecutive points to take the lead 18-17. Keeping the Illini on their toes, the Cards again turned the table in their favor when Lena Ustymenko serviced five consecutive points giving the Cardinals a 23-19 lead that Louisville would not relinquish ultimately defeating the Illini 30-27.

Haunted by its first match loss, Illinois came back to dominate the second game. Jumping out to a 3-0 lead, the Illini maintained their dominance throughout the match keeping the lead by as many as nine points. Ustymenkos magic serve gave Louisville a brief glimpse of hope helping the Cards score four consecutive points to a 17-17 tie. Before the Cards could overtake them however, the Illini went on a tear to finish the match with a 30-21 victory and tie the game 1-1.

Establishing itself early in the third match, Louisville mounted 9-5 lead and never looked back. Keeping Illinois chasing at their heels throughout the entire match, the Cardinals easily picked up its second match victory overtaking the Illini 30-19.

Battling through a neck-and-neck final match, the Illini and Cardinals struggled to gain advantage. Louisville came out the victor pulling ahead 15-12 never to surrender its lead. Despite a four point rally late in the game bringing Illinois within four points, the Cardinals kept ahead comfortably earning a 30-23 victory.

Leading Louisville in the game, Ustymenko recorded 18 kills and six service aces. Bing Sun came in a close second with 17 kills also making five blocks. Illinois was led by Rachel VanMeter who recorded 19 kills while Rasa Virsilaite put up 15.

Taking its 3-1 victory into the second round, Louisville faces the winner of the Missouri-Arkansas match. Second round play begins Sat., Dec. 5 at 6:00 p.m., in the Hearnes Center. Tickets are available at the arena or by calling the Missouri Ticket Office at 1-800-CAT-PAWS or 884-PAWS locally.

-- Courtesy Missouri