Louisville, Ky. (WHAS) -- Gwen Rucker celebrated her senior night with 15 kills, hitting .833 and adding two blocks as she led the University of Louisville volleyball team to a 26-24, 25-21, 25-14 win over OVC Champion Belmont in the final regular season match of the year Friday afternoon in Cardinal Arena.
“Gwen is playing at the highest level for a middle blocker that I have ever seen. Not only offensively and defensively but with the sheer number of balls we get to her that she puts on the floor with no errors,” said U of L head coach Anne Kordes. “It is not a secret that we are going to go to her and our opponents can’t stop it. She is playing like a veteran senior should and leading this team. It was exciting to see her to have such a great senior night. With her playing like this and taking focus off some other players, we hope make a run into the tournament.”
U of L improves to 29-3 with the win as the Cards hit .342 as a team and out-blocked the Bruins 9-7. Fellow seniors Lola Arslanbekova had 14 kills and six digs with Tanya Lukyanenko chipping in eight. The fourth senior, Kaitlynn James, had seven kills and seven digs. Belmont was led by Jocelyn Youngdahl’s 10 kills. The Bruins were able to ace the Cards four times, led by Marissa Hine’s two.
U of L had a five point lead and Belmont had already used both its timeouts when the Bruins dug in and tied at 19, took the lead at 21-20 and then at 23. A Gwen Rucker slide for a kill gave the Cards their first set point but Belmont answered but then U of L scored and then took the set on a BU miss. U of L was led by Rucker’s seven kills and .333 hitting.
U of L tore out to a 15-8 lead in the second set, but once again the Bruins hung tough, coming within three at 20-17, despite hitting .278 to U of L’s .472. But U of L seniors took care of business down the stretch with Tanya Lukyanenko and Gwen Rucker scoring five of the last six kills for the 25-21 win and the 2-0 set lead going into the break.
Belmont stayed close in the third game, trailing by just two at 11-9 before U of L went on a 4-1 run and the Cards kept the pressure on, cruising to a 25-14 win.
The Cards now await the NCAA fate with the pairings being announced Sunday at 4 p.m. on ESPNU. The Cardinals have bid to host the first and second round matches but will find out during the telecast whether they have been selected.
If the Cards are selected to host, all-session tickets for the first and second round matches go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 26 and will be available until 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29. All-session tickets are lower level reserved seating and adult tickets can be purchased for $20. Tickets are $10 for youth (ages 3 to 18) and $10 for seniors (55 and older).
Single-session tickets for Thursday’s first round matches will go on sale on Thursday beginning at 3:30 p.m. and will only be available at the KFC Yum! Center ticket office. Tickets for Friday’s second round match will be available beginning at 9 a.m. at any U of L ticket office or at beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center ticket office.
Tickets are available by calling the Louisville Athletic Ticket Office at (502) 852-5151, online at GoCards.com or in person at the Student Activities Center ticket office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
ALL-SESSION TICKETS (Thursday and Friday)
Seniors (55 and older) $10
Youth (ages 3 to 18) $10
SINGLE-SESSION (per match)
Seniors (55 and older) $7
Youth (ages 3 to 18) $7
Group (10 or more) $5
College Students $5