Louisville, Ky. (WHAS) -- Lola Arslanbekova had 15 kills and two blocks to lead the No. 11-ranked University of Louisville to a 25-22, 25-16, 25-18 win over BIG EAST rival Marquette in volleyball action Friday night in Cardinal Arena.
“When I saw we had 10 blocks after two sets, that was huge,” said U of L head coach Anne Kordes. “The middles and Lola Arslanbekova had great performances tonight. We were really excited about this matchup with Marquette because they are really good and have a good RPI. It is just a great matchup.”
The teams were tied at 12-1 atop the BIG EAST going into the evening and were fighting for a share of the BIG EAST regular season title. The Cards are now guaranteed at least a No. 2 seed, with their only loss coming from Notre Dame, who must play Marquette on Sunday in Milwaukee. The Cardinals host Cincinnati at noon on Sunday in Cardinal Arena. U of L improves to 24-3 and 13-1 while Marquette is now 23-5 and 12-2. The Cards hit .396 and outblocked the Eagles 11-2. U of L had five aces, led by Kaitlynn James’ two. Gwen Rucker joined Arslanbekova in double digit kills with 10, adding four blocks.
In the first set, U of L used a 10-2 run early to establish an 11-5 lead. After a Marquette timeout, the Eagles scrambled back into the set using a 6-1 run to help close the gap. The Cards were up 22-17 and seemingly in control when Marquette made a push with a 4-0 run during which Kordes used both gtimeouts to come within one at 22-21. The Cards got a pair of timely kills to get to set point at 24-21 but a kill by Kelsey Mattai staved off set point for Marquette. A Gwen Rucker kill gave the set to the Ville at 24-21. U of L hit .314 with Brooke Mattingly and Lola Arslabekova each notching three kills apiece. U of L had a 5-0 block advantage on the Eagles, led by Kaitlynn James’ two solo efforts.
In the second set, U of L pulled out to a 15-9 lead and sparked a MU timeout. While Marquette scored coming out of the break, the Cardinals increased the lead to 21-13 and MU coach Bond Shymansky used his final timeout of the set to regroup. The Eagles scored two straight coming out of the timeout but were outscored 4-1 down the stretch, giving U of L a 25-16 win. The Cards hit .353 in the set led by Arslanbekova’s six kills. Mattingly had three blocks in the set.
In the third set, U of L used .531 hitting to pull out to an 18-11 lead. Marquette called timeout and managed to cut the lead to 22-17 after a kill by Danielle Carlson. But kills by Arslanbekova and Emily Juhl and an MU miss by Lindsey Gosh gave U of L the 25-18 win.
U of L plays rival Cincinnati in Cardinal Arena on Sunday at noon in the final conference regular season tilt.