U of L sweeps unbeaten Miami

The University of Louisville volleyball team handed the undefeated University of Miami its first loss of the season with a 25-17, 25-22, 25-20 sweep of the Hurricanes Sunday afternoon at Cardinal Arena.

The win over the Hurricanes (9-1, 3-1 ACC), gave Louisville (8-5, 3-1 ACC) its sixth sweep of the season and fourth-consecutive home victory.

Sophomore outside hitter Melanie McHenry was the offensive engine for the Cardinals, tallying a game-high 15 kills, along with nine digs and three blocks. Junior middle blocker Jasmine Bennett numbered a season-high eight blocks, including a pair of rejections on the final two points of the match. The Louisville defense held Miami to just a .097 hitting percentage.

“I thought our offense obviously looked really good, and it was great to see that two matches in a row,” said UofL Coach Dani Busboom Kelly after the match. “They came out strong in warm-up and did a great job of spreading the offense and keeping our hitters in a nice rhythm.”

The Cardinals quickly pulled out to a 5-2 lead in the opening moments of the match, taking advantage of a pair of Hurricane errors. After Miami narrowed the margin to 11-9, Louisville responded with a 6-1 run that wrested away control for the remainder of the set. With the help of a clutch kill by McHenry on a long rally, the Cards closed out the match at 25-17.

McHenry led all players with five kills in the set, with teammates Bennett and Tess Clark pitching in with three of their own. As a team, Louisville accumulated a .364 hitting percentage and played tough at the net, blocking six shots and keeping Miami to a .171 mark.

“Miami is a team that if you don’t block them or get good touches, they’re going to kill balls,” said coach Busboom Kelly. “They go after it. They hit hard and they’re trained really well. We knew we’d have to block balls to win this match.”

In the second set, Louisville once again started swiftly, with three straight Miami errors building a 9-3 Cardinal advantage. The Hurricanes responded with a 6-2 run, transforming the set into a back-and-forth affair. After another Miami run knotted the score at 19, a Louisville timeout benefitted the team and helped them seal the set with a 3-0 finishing run.

For the frame, McHenry tallied another five kills and pitched in with five digs. While the Cardinals were unable to replicate their hitting percentage from the opening set, their defense tightened even more, limiting the Hurricanes to a .044 clip.

Continuing the trend of the match, the Cards grabbed an early 5-0 lead in the third, but the Hurricanes fought back to tie the set at 11. Miami eventually took its only lead of the match at 19-18 with the help of a 5-0 streak. But the Cardinals locked down the victory with a 7-1 match-ending rally, capped off by Bennett’s consecutive blocks. In the set, the Cards posted their highest set hitting percentage of the day with a .379 mark.

Louisville now heads east for a pair of weekend road matches at Virginia Tech on Oct. 6 and Virginia on Oct. 8. The Cardinals will return home to face Clemson on Friday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.

“Virginia and Virginia Tech both have new coaches just like myself, so it should be an interesting weekend as we get to see their new systems,” said Busboom Kelly.