LOUISVILLE, Ky. (News Release) -- Lola Arslanbekova had 22 kills and 17 digs to lead the University of Louisville Cardinals to a 4-1 win against Samford University in the Cardinal Classic Saturday night at the KFC Yum! Center.
Lola Arslanbekova was named the MVP of the Cardinal Classic tournament. Gwen Rucker and Brooke Mattingly were also named to the All-Tournament Team for their play this weekend.
The Cardinals improved to 6-1 after winning 25-22, 25-16, 22-25, 25-15. Louisville had an overall attack percentage of .312 and Samford hit .159 as they fell to 1-5 on the year. Tanya Lukyanenko had 7 blocks and Gwen Rucker totaled 6 as the Cards posted 9.5 blocks to the Bulldogs four.
“I am so excited to win the tournament”, Head Coach Anne Kordes said. “That was a tough four-match stretch with Kentucky on Wednesday and three games in two days here at the Cardinal Classic. I am fired up about the way we have worked our way into a position to compete nationally. I am proud of where we are.”
Samford came out of the gates and took the first set by storm going up 5-0 on the Cardinals. The Bulldogs maintained a steady lead throughout the first half of the set hitting .364 against the Cardinals .158. However, Louisville put together their own 5-0 midway through the set to tie everything up at 15-15. The Cards were then able to get their first lead of the set at 20-19. Gwen Rucker capped things off with two blocks in a row to give Louisville the set at 25-22. U of L ended the first set with a hitting percentage of .219 and Samford ended with a percentage of .125. Tanya Lukyanenko led the Cards with four blocks. Elizabeth Neisler led the Bulldogs with eight kills.
The score during the second set was close throughout most of the first half of the set. Lola Arslanbekova had three kills early to help Louisville maintain a slight lead and then the Cards put together a 5-1 run to go up 18-12. The Cardinals put together another 5-0 run late in the set to get to set point after a kill by Carly Sahagian. Carly then finished things off with a kill that gave Louisville a 25-16 win. Lola Arslanbekova had six kills in the set and totaled nine through two sets.
The third set was close until the very end. The Bulldogs closed the set on a 3-0 run and won 25-22 behind two kills by Elizabeth Neisler. The third set had 15 tie scores and 5 lead changes. The Bulldogs had a hitting percentage of .282 in the set and had 18 kills. Louisville on other hand had an attack percentage of .250 and only 12 kills. Lola Arslanbekova had 8 kills in the set and increased her total to 17 for the match.
Louisville came out hot in the fourth and final set and won 25-15 after a kill by Lola Arslanbekova. The Cardinals opened with a 5-1 run and did not look back. A well timed 7-2 run at the tail end of the set all but sealed the win for Cardinals. The Cardinals had a hitting percentage of .536 in the final set and the Bulldogs only yielded a percentage of .152. There were no lead changes or ties.
The Louisville Cardinals will play next in the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge in Cincinnati against Purdue on Sept. 7 and Illinois on Sept.8. The next home match will be at the KFC Yum! Center on Sept.14 against Middle Tennessee at 7:30 p.m., ET.