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#25 Louisville - Cardinal Classic Preview
#25 Louisville - Cardinal Classic Preview
Published by BeckysTXA
#25 Louisville - Cardinal Classic Preview

Dayton (0-2) closes out its first weekend of play against host Louisville (1-1), who beat Texas A&M in a 5-set slugfest Saturday evening. Dayton dropped their second consecutive heartbreaking 5-set match earlier in the day against #10 Florida, 3-2 (25-21, 25-17, 14-25, 23-25, 13-15). The Flyers needed to be two points better in either the 4th set or the 5th set and we would be lauding the greatest victory ever for Dayton volleyball. But donít feel sorry for this team. They played at a level that no Flyer squad has ever played. This team of Gladiators gave #10 Florida, loaded with TEN Top 50 players almost more than they could handle. Dayton has ONE Top 50 player (Brooke Westbeld). Iconic Florida Head Coach had nothing but praise for Dayton in the post-match interview. The Flyers played confident, skilled, fearless and with a take-no-prisoner poise. They battled every point and won a whole bunch of them.

Prepare. Play. Learn. Thatís what this weekend is all about. And now itís time to win. Louisville is a young team. They graduated both the ACC SOY and LOY, two players that caused Dayton fits in last yearís NCAAs. Itís payback time. Iím predicting a 3-1 win.

#25 Louisville -Sunday, September 1 @ 1 pm

Nine months ago the Flyers walked off the court in the first round of the NCAAs having lost to Louisville 3-0. And although the Flyers were competitive in all three sets (21-23-21) nobody on this team can feel good about that match. The Cardinals shut down OH Alli Papesh. They shut down OH Sierra Pla. They shut down MB Kendyll Brown. Heck, they even shut down OH Lauren Bruns and nobody shut down Bruns last year. Dayton hit .155 for the match to Louisvilleís .232. Louisville also out-dug UD by +10. Of course, we didnít have Jamie Peterson last year. So how do the two teams stack up now?

For starters, Louisville played a nine-player rotation with every player going 3-sets. Only four of those players are still on the squad. Gone are ACC Setter of the Year, ACC Libero of the Year, two OHs and an MB. The setter and libero were All-Americans and thatís powerful because your libero and setter are two-thirds of your offense a high percentage of the time. This year, the Cardinals have only one senior and two of their four juniors are transfers. The Cardinals are young like Dayton. The difference is Louisville will more have multiple true freshmen in their rotation whereas Dayton will have none.

Dayton will have Jamie Peterson. In the Florida match, Peterson battled against Thayer Hall, the 2018 #1 recruit and the Gatorade National Player of the Year coming out of high school. Both players where outstanding, but if youíre honest, you have to say Peterson was a little better. Petersonís stat line: 23 kills-7 errors-60 swings-.267 hitting %-6 assists-1 ace-13 digs-3 blocks-26 points. Thayerís stat line: 25 kills-8 errors-67 swings-.254 hitting %-2 assists-0 aces-10 digs- 1 block-26 points.

Head Coach Dani Busboom Kelly, in her second season at Louisville, landed the 16th ranked recruiting class featuring four Top 100 recruits (#30, #55, #61 and #97). Fr MB Amaya Tillman (#30) and Fr S Shannon Shields (#61) played against Florida. Shields was Arizonaís high school POY, but Tillman is making the biggest contributions so far this season.

ďTillman is the anchor of this talented class for Louisville,Ē reported prepvolleyball.com. ďA true competitor in every sense of the word, Tillman has the ability to block and kill balls against any team in the country. Tillmanís skill set should give the ĎVille all the weapons they need to get back on top in the ACC and make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

To replace the SOY, Busboom Kelly brought in Jr S Tori Differ who started every set last year at TCU. Differ also spent the summer playing in USA Volleyballís pipeline to rave reviews. Differ has played steady this weekend. Replacing the LOY will fall to Jr L Alexis Hamilton (Top 250). Sr OH Melanie McHenry (#47 recruit), R-Jr MB Piper Roe (#97 recruit) and R-Fr Aiko Jones from Jamacia will play major roles.

The Cardinalís head coach Busboom Kelly is another young talent in college volleyball. Sheís an alum of Nebraska where she started for four years, the first as Setter and the last three as Libero, earning Big 12 LOY in 2006. After graduation she spent time with the US National Training Team. Busboom Kelly spent one year as an assistant at Louisville before returning to Nebraska as an assistant coach for six seasons. Louisville hired her back in 2018 to lead the program.

The elite-talent scorecard stacks up with Louisville having six Top 100s, but four are freshmen. They have another three 250s for a total of nine. Dayton has ten Top 250s (three 100s). Last year in the NCAAs, the Cardinals had more ranked players and experience on the court. That is not the case this weekend. Both of those factors swing in Daytonís favor. UD isnít flying under the radar any more. Louisville knows this will be a dog-fight. Once again, we have to forget what happened the first two matches and only carry forward what we learned as a team, the chip on our shoulders and our Gladiator mentality. Time to get back up and throw everything weíve got against the #25 ranked team in the country. We have a knockout punch. Itís time to learn how to use it.
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By Chris R on 09-01-2019, 12:48 AM
You are unstoppable.

We should be 2-0 with two NCAA at-large resume' wins but aren't. Gotta salvage something from this weekend. When building the program, opportunities to change your footprint from NCAA 1st/2nd Rd margin-type program to a second-weekend NCAA program requires winning these kinds of matches. Managed to drop two in two different ways. We're obviously playing at a competitive/high level. But when the smoke clears, the NCAA wont care whether we lost 15-13/16-14 in the fifth sets or got swept. All that really matters is Ws and Ls.

The good news is we're getting an excellent look early in the season at where we are as a program -- we're really good. These opponents aren't lawn ornaments.

But greatness might be a year away.
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By BeckysTXA on 09-01-2019, 01:36 AM
First, I had 80-90 of everything written before the first serve this weekend. So just needed the match results and storylines to finish it out. Iím getting TH and player quotes after the Louisville match to do a weekend wrap up. It should be some good stuff.

Second, we shot ourselves in the foot too many times against TXAM. It was truely a match we beat ourselves, versus them beating us. Iím sure we want that one back.

Third, to come back today and play FL like we did was unreal. Those first two sets had to be the best Flyer volleyball ever. We cut our errors down drastically. Florida made about the same amount of errors those first two sets and again in the 5th set. They were just a little better in the end. And yet to come back and take Zero aces against FL vs 11 against TXAM...how much mental fortitude does that take to say, ďthis will not happen again on my watch!Ē

I donít necessatily disagree with you. Itís time to beat a ranked opponent and #25 Louisville is next up. But, we also have #15 Michigan next week. And tOSU and Cincy (who I think will be ranked before long) and Missouri left. We need to beat Louisville. We played like cr*p on Friday and came back and said that is not happening again. And it didnít. We have to have the same mentality Sunday, only this time it has to be we are not going to lose this match, and we certainly arenít going to lose it in 5 sets. I was hoping we could take a set off Florida and keep the other sets respectable. Holy you know what, we did so much more than that. I would not bet against this team. I hope they are **ssed and take it out on Louisville.
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By Lifelong Flyer Fan on 09-01-2019, 10:36 AM
I am really enjoying your pre and post game high quality articles. I am understanding the game better (I think) and appreciating our play by understanding the level of competition more than just a number in front of the school's name. Thank you.
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