Louisville rallies to beat San Diego 3-1

Cards overcome slow start to advance to the round of 16 for the second consecutive tournament. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville looked like a team that hadn't played a match in 13 days. 

The Cardinals were dominated in the opening set of their second round NCAA volleyball match Thursday with San Diego, losing 25-14. The Toreros were playing for the second-straight day after a one-sided, three-set win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi the day before. U of L had received a first-round bye and hadn't played since winning the ACC tournament. 

But the Cards got things going and won the next three sets — 25-23, 25-17 and 29-27 — to advance to the round of 16 for the second-straight tournament. 

"I wasn't surprised we started out slow, but it went poorly in a hurry," head coach Dani Busboom Kelly said with a laugh. "I wasn't necessarily expecting us to be so bad that entire first set, but I knew we couldn't play much worse after set one."   

Sophomore outside hitter Claire Chaussee came off the bench and led the Cardinal attack with a career-high 21 kills on a .541 hitting percentage. Freshman Anna DeBeer had 11 kills.

"I think after we won the second set we all were like, 'Let's put our foot on the gas, and let's just win these next two after that,'" Chaussee said. 

Busboom Kelly said she wasn't surprised at Chaussee's play off the bench. The Wisconsin native started most of the fall but has been filling in with whatever is needed throughout the spring. 

"I've been telling the three outsides — Anna DeBeer, Nena MBonu and Claire Chausee — that it's really not a spot that's been won or lost," Busboom Kelly said. "They're all three so different and bring very different strengths and we've played all three of them in probably every single match or almost every single set this year.

"So I've been telling Claire that even if you don't start, you better expect to play in every single set of this tournament. And I'll tell the same thing to Nena or DeBeer. I don't know who will start on Sunday. It's kind of a feel thing with them." 

The Cardinals improved to 15-2 on the season. They will meet the sixth-overall seed Washington or Dayton on Sunday in Omaha.  

Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.