Katie George had 52 assists and 15 digs to lead Louisville volleyball passed Syracuse 25-12, 22-25, 25-16, 25-18 Friday night at the KFC Yum! Center.
“It’s a huge win for us. They are a super physical team and every player out there was a senior or upperclassmen,” said Anne Kordes, UofL head coach. “They were pursuing balls and getting after it and we didn’t lose our poise. They are a dangerous team. I was excited about the way we played.”
Erin Fairs led the Cardinals offensive attack with 16 kills and Tess Clark and Janelle Jenkins contributed 12 kills apiece. Molly Sauer finished with 29 digs and two aces while Aniah Philo added 19 digs to go along with nine kills. The Cardinals hit .218 for the match compared to just .058 for Syracuse. The Orange were led by 10 kills from Silvi Uattara and 23 assists and 11 digs from Gosia Wlaszczuk.
In the first set, Louisville built an early 11-7 lead forcing a Syracuse timeout on a kill by Erin Fairs. The Cards remained hot using a 9-2 run to extend their lead to 20-9 and force another Orange timeout. UofL earned set point at 24-12 on a kill from Maggie DeJong and closed out the set 25-12 on the second straight kill from DeJong.
Louisville jumped out to a quick 4-2 lead in the second before Syracuse took control and built an 11-7 lead. Louisville responded with a 7-2 run to regain the lead 14-13 on a Syracuse attack error. The Orange used a 5-1 run to take an 18-15 advantage and would eventually earn set point 24-21 on a kill by Mariia Levanova. Another Orange kill gave Syracuse the 25-22 victory in a set that saw 11 ties.
“I thought Syracuse did a really good job of getting us out of system in the second set but serving us short,” said Kordes. It took us out of system and took away our ability to run our middles. We ended up taking Erin (Fairs) out of serve receive and that made a huge difference and they went back to serving deep.”
The Cards seized momentum in the third taking a 10-3 lead on a Tess Clark kill. The Orange used a 5-1 run to close within 11-8 but another Louisville rally, this one 8-0, gave the Cardinals a 19-8 edge. The Orange would hang tough but UofL was able to take the set 25-16 on a Syracuse service error.
In the fourth, Louisville built a 10-5 lead but a 5-1 Orange run closed the gap to 11-10 Cardinals. UofL answered with an 8-1 rally to build their largest lead at 19-11 on a kill by Erin Fairs. Syracuse refused to go away but a Katie George kill gave the Cards match point and a kill by Erin Fairs closed out the set 25-18 for Louisville.
Louisville returns to action Sunday afternoon as they face Boston College at 1 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center.