(NEWS RELEASE) -- Emily Juhl had nine kills and no errors to lead the University of Louisville to its sixth sweep of the season with a 25-18, 25-12, 25-22 win over BIG EAST Conference foe Pitt in volleyball action Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh.
“We were excited to get an opportunity to play this match again after Pittsburgh came in and beat us last year,” said U of L head coach Anne Kordes. “We got off to a great start and you are always happy to get two wins, especially on the road in this league. Emily Juhl did a phenomenal job hitting .500. They left her alone a little bit and she was very confident, very powerful today.”
U of L (14-2, 3-1) hit .286 and had eight blocks for the first sweep of Pitt since 2008. Juhl's nine kills were the most since the season-opener versus WKU when she notched 12. Senior Lola Arslanbekova led the Cardinals in kills with 12, adding four digs for her eighth straight match with 10 or more kills. Middle blockers Brooke Mattingly and Gwen Rucker each had seven kills and combined for seven blocks. Pitt (10-8, 1-3), hit .091 and had five blocks. Libero Caitlin Welch had 18 digs to pace the Cards.
“I thought Caitlin Welch did a great job. She passed well. She served well. She played great defense. All things we have now come to expect of her this season,” said Kordes. “This was one of the harder road trips of the season because of the competition and the amount of travel involved. It’s tough on the team mentally and physically. I was really proud of how we responded today and got a great sweep.”
Pitt managed to key on Lola Arslanbekova who was held to just one kill in the first set. The Panthers hadn’t counted on Emily Juhl coming alive for six kills for the most in a set since seven versus Illinois on Sept. 8, 2012. U of L had a 5-0 run to keep Pitt at arm’s length after a tightly contested early first set. U of L hit .244 to PU’s .071 as the Cardinals also welcomed back the services of Gwen Rucker, who has missed several matches due to illness.
The Cardinals held that momentum into the second set, going up 7-1 early and then stretched it to 13-3 in part due to Lola’s four kills. U of L cruised to a 25-12 win and Juhl and Arslanbekova combined for 15 kills between them going into the break ahead two sets to none. U of L hit .300 in the set.
With their backs against the wall, Pitt came out strong in the third set, staying close the Cards but never gaining the lead. Pitt had the lead trimmed to two at 14-12 and then tied it on three straight Cardinal miscues. U of L answered the challenge and the Panthers never got closer, although they did stave off match point twice after a Juhl kill put the Cards up 24-20. Rucker put the matter to rest with the winner and the Cards avenged their loss of a year ago.
U of L heads home next weekend when it faces Seton Hall on Saturday, Oct. 6 at noon at Cardinal Arena before hosting Rutgers Sunday, Oct. 7 at noon at the KFC Yum! Center. The Cardinals will face their stiffest challenge on Monday as No. 9 Texas visits Monday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center.