(NEWS RELEASE) -- Senior outside hitter Lola Arslanbekova had season-high 26 kills and 14 digs for her twelfth 20-plus kill match to lead the University of Louisville to a 3-1 win over the University of South Florida in BIG EAST volleyball action Friday night in Tampa.
"Our passing really helped turn the match around after the first set. I was really proud of how we passed the ball and our defense responded,” said U of L head coach Anne Kordes. "I thought Caitlin Welch had a good night and we were able to feed off great passing from the back row. Going on the road is always tough. South Florida had a great crowd and they were fired up early, making it tough on us. But I liked the way we responded after the first set. It was a great experience for our team to deal with the road environment and come through with the win."
U of L improves to 13-2 and 2-1 in the league with the 20-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-23 win. USF drops to 9-7 and 1-2 in the BIG EAST with the loss. The Cardinals hit .275 as a team and outblocked the Bulls 9-4. USF hit a chilly .198 in the loss. U of L’s Tanya Lukyanenko had a career-high 14 kills, hitting a torrid .619 for the Cards. Caitlin Welch recorded a team-high 22 digs.
In the first set, USF ran out to a 12-7 lead with two straight points by Valerie El Houssein. U of L cut the lead to one at 16-15 and sparked a timeout for the Bulls. USF went on a 4-0 run to get to 20-15 and then pushed through for the 25-20 win. Lola Arslanbekova’s six kills led the Cards but were not enough as U of L hit just .125 as a team to USF’s .220.
A kill by Lola and a block by Tanya Lukyanenko gave U of L its first lead in the second set at 10-9. The momentum seemed to stay with the Cards as they moved to a 22-18 lead to force a USF timeout. But the Bulls would not score again as the Cards rolled to the 25-18 win to even the set score before the break.
The Cardinals had a 15-10 lead in the third set but allowed the Bulls to tie at 15. The Cardinals ran off four straight to move to 19-15 before USF called timeout to regroup. U of L had to hold off a hard-charging Bull squad but Tanya Lukyanenko put down the final two points of the set for the 25-21 win.
In the fourth set, U of L built a 13-9 lead before USF called timeout. U of L was up 20-17 but allowed the Bulls to tie at 23. A kill by Lukyanenko and a miss by USF’s Erin Fairs gave the set and match to the Cardinals for the 25-23 win.
The Cardinals head to Pittsburgh for a Sunday matchup with the Panthers at 2 p.m.