Thousands of fans packed the KFC Yum! Center to watch the Cards take on nationally ranked Kentucky in an early season out of conference volleyball match up. My wife and I paid quite a bit of attention to Olympic volleyball this year, and when we saw the option for a mini-package for U of L women's volleyball this year, we decided to try it out. We work downtown, so why not walk over for a few games? After last night's amazing performance we are regretting not buying the full season ticket package. The word I've used to describe the game to many people today (yes, I've told many people about it) was intense.
Previously, we attended the game against No. 3 Penn State, which Penn State won 3 sets to 0 so we didn't have incredibly high expectations. In last night's game the first set was close, but UK won and looked strong doing so. U of L were the underdogs, so we weren't that surprised, just happy that they kept the score close. The second set U of L got up by about 4, and they kept it at 3 or 4 for the rest of set, making it a tie overall. Again, we were just happy to win a set, but it was exciting. The third set, I don't know if U of L just got really pumped or UK just gave up, but U of L won, being up by more than 10 at one point. So for the fourth set, we could get a win to put them away or UK could tie it up to go onto the fifth, lower scoring set. At one point U of L was up 7-5, but I think that was the largest point differential until the very end. After that, the score kept going back and forth from being tied to one or the other being up by 1. The score finally hit 24-23 with U of L up: set point. We were all on our feet. The mens' swim team was down to their speedos (actually, they had been down to their speedos for a while, but we hadn't lost a set since they were), and everyone was accusing the refs of being paid (you know how that goes, though we're still learning the rules, we did think there were several bad calls in this last set). But UK got their point 24-24, and you have to win by 2 points. We would going up one point, and then UK would tie before we could get our second point. It seemed like every time we served, they scored, and every time they served, we got a point (one time we even had a service error). Then it was 29-28, our serve. The fans repeatedly screamed CARDS cheers with the band playing, but then got quiet to let our girl serve (we're working on learning names). It kept going back and forth, but finally, we got it down to the ground on their side. We won the set and the game. After all the screaming our voices were hoarse, after all the jumping and clapping our arms and legs were sore, I never knew volleyball could be so intense.
There are some great pictures on UofL's volley ball facebook page here but because SB Nation only wants me to use pictures I have the rights to, here's a picture from my wife's iPhone and a picture from mine.
If you haven’t been, go to a volleyball game! Tickets are only $8 a piece and the product on the court is fantastic. Go for the amazing athletes. Go for the cheap courtside seats. Go to see Russ Smith in cookie monster pajamas (I swear, he was wearing cookie monster pajamas. He had a "Beat UK" t-shirt but he wasn’t wearing it, just had it draped over his shoulder.) I was amazed at how fun it was, and even more importantly, Louisville beat Kentucky. Hopefully that’s a preview for Sunday.
Go Cards, Beat the Cats.