Louisville takes down Pitt in a straight sweep 🧹
The Louisville Cardinals got their sweet revenge with a three-set win (25-15, 25-21, 25-18) over Pittsburgh on Friday night. The Cards dominated all facets of the game and beat the Panthers in virtually every statistical category. The Cards hit .309 as a team and held Pitt to a .088 clip. They out-blocked the Panthers 12 to five and posted EIGHT service aces to the Panther's one. On top of that, the Cards totaled 32 digs compared to Pitt's 22 and registered seven less attacking errors.
Pitt struggled in the serve and pass game — Louisville came out aggressive from the service line to start and Pitt was never able to get a strong rhythm going. Claire Chaussee led the Cardinals with nine kills on .259 hitting, and Nena Mbonu followed with eight kills. Aiko Jones was a spark all night and finished with some stellar numbers — eight kills on .583 hitting with three aces and four blocks. Courtney Buzzerio led the Panthers with 10 kills followed by Valeria Vazquez Gomez.
The early runs in the third set put Louisville leaps and strides ahead, and the Panthers were never really able to recover. The Cardinals are now through the toughest opponents on the schedule and have just one more matchup against Notre Dame before selections. Louisville picked up a share of the ACC title with the win and put themselves in a great position for a high seed in the tournament.
This was a big statement win for a team that has found themselves down early in matches. This time, they came out punching and maintained a steady lead the whole way. This was a dominant outing against a really strong Pittsburgh team, and exactly what the Cards hoped for at the end of the season.
The Cards lead in Set 3
Louisville takes 2-0 lead on the match
The narrative has been flipped. This time around, in a rematch between Louisville and Pitt, the Cards are up two sets to none and the Panthers face a must-win third set. The Cardinals took the second set 25-21 on a 4-0 run to finish it off. The offense didn't falter, hitting .370 while the Panthers ended up with a .267 clip in the second. Claire Chaussee is up to nine kills on the match so far but Aiko Jones is an absolute star right now for the Cardinals. Jones has seven kills on 10 swings with ZERO errors. That's an almost .800 clip.
It was quite the battle for the second set late — the Cards were the first to 20, but a service error tied it up right away. The set was SO even that both teams were hitting exactly .333. But then Louisville's go-to, Claire Chaussee, showed exactly why she is their go-to with two back-to-back kills in a crucial moment to give Louisville a 23-21 lead. Elena Scott then registered a service ace, and Amaya Tillman and Aiko Jones denied Valeria Vazquez Gomez on the very next play to take the set. Just like that the script was flipped the Cards went up 2-0.
Pitt has found its rhythm in the second
Pittsburgh came out in the second looking. a LOT different. For a while early on, they were hitting above .500. But the thing is, Louisville hasn't wavered. The Cards have been hitting well over .400 the entire set as well, side outs are happening often, and this thing is really close. Valeria Vazquez Gomez is up to five kills for the Panthers, followed by Courtney Buzzerio.
Louisville does not look scared, though. They have a slight lead mid-way through the second set, but the Panthers are pushing back.
Louisville takes 1-0 with big 25-15 win in Set 1
The Cards took a 1-0 lead on the match with a 25-15 win in the first set. After dropping the first two sets in the first matchup against Pitt, they guaranteed that they won't have to claw their way out of a big deficit this time around. The Cards offense hit a stellar .346 in the first while holding a discombobulated Panthers offense to a .034 clip. The Panthers racked up seven errors as they struggled to find a rhythm. Louisville came out dominant — applying some serious pressure from the service line. They had three aces in the first set alone.
Nena Mbonu, who has been filling in a lot more since Anna DeBeer's injury, lead with four kills on .286 hitting. Claire Chaussee and Aiko Jones added three... and Jones did it on three swings.
The Cards went on a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 11 late in the first set. Down 23-13, Pitt finally started to get a few points on the board, but it was too little too late. A Panther error gave the Cards set point and then they took the match on a service ace. Let's see how the Panthers respond in the second set.
Louisville off to explosive start
Louisville started off slow against Georgia Tech and in its last loss to Pittsburgh. This time, the Cardinals are off to an EXPLOSIVE start, executing their game plan perfectly. They have the Panthers all out of sorts early on. The Cards went on a 7-3 run when the Panthers called a timeout. At the break, this was the stat line:
The Cards offense is running like a well oiled machine. Watch out for a Pitt comeback though, this set is far from over.
How to watch the top-10 battle
Who: No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 7 Pittsburgh
When: 6 p.m. ET, Friday, Nov. 18
Where: Louisville, Kentucky
How to watch: ACC Network and WatchESPN
Louisville vs. Pitt, Previewed
This is most likely the BIGGEST matchup of the week. Pitt and Louisville will rematch for not only ACC standings implications, but perhaps a more than favorable top-four seed in the NCAA tournament come selections. These two teams already faced off once this season and we saw a five-set thriller that ended with Pitt out on top. The win was the Panthers' highest-ranked victory in program history. Courtney Buzzerio led Pitt with 22 kills and five blocks. The Panthers hit .225 as a team while holding the Cardinals to a .131 clip. If you remember the match, though, Louisville came out flat and Pitt came out on absolute fire. They absolutely dominated the first two sets 25-15, 25-13. It was quite the comeback and turnaround for the Cardinals to even force a fifth.
Sound familiar, Cards fans? It just happened last week too. Louisville started out the match slow against Georgia Tech before switching gears and winning the thing in five. Claire Chaussee turned on the jets and ended up with 27 kills on stellar hitting efficiency after a slow start. In the post-game speeches, Dani Busboom-Kelly mentioned that this can't keep happening, they NEED to come out strong. This team can't keep climbing an uphill battle every single match. They will need to start out against Pitt the way they typically end. This is a HUGE ACC rivalry, a big rematch after Louisville's heartbreaking loss, and a match with huge tournament implications. You cannot miss this one.
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