Middle blocker Phekran Kong tallied seven kills and four blocks to lead the No. 2-ranked University of Louisville volleyball team to a 25-17, 25-19, 25-16 win over No.12-ranked Penn State on Sunday afternoon inside L&N Federal Credit Union Arena.
In the first of five consecutive home matches, the Cardinals moved to 8-0 on the year. Louisville hit .186 in the match with 40 kills, five aces, and seven blocks while never trailing. Outside hitter Anna DeBeer recorded 10 kills, 11 digs, and a block, outside hitter Charitie Luper added nine kills, an ace, and three blocks, and opposite hitter Aiko Jones had eight kills, an ace, and two blocks. Setter Elle Glock tallied 35 assists while libero Elena Scott had 18 digs and three assists.
Penn State hit .055 with ten blocks, and they were led by Jess Mruzik’s 12 kills.
Louisville heads to the KFC Yum! Center for their next match with in-state rival and No.19-ranked Kentucky. The match is set to begin at 8 p.m.
Louisville built an early 10-8 lead, highlighted by kills from DeBeer and Jones, as well as a block by Kong. Two more DeBeer kills and an ace by Luper forced a Penn State timeout with the Cardinals leading 13-8. The Nittany Lions tallied back-to-back scores to come within three, but that would be as close as they’d come. Two consecutive aces from middle blocker Cara Cresse forced another Penn State timeout with Louisville in control at 20-13. Two kills from Kong put Louisville at the doorstep at 24-14, and Jones later finished the set off with another kill to win 25-17 and take a 1-0 match lead. Louisville never trailed in the set and recorded three aces and three blocks.
With Louisville leading 4-3 to begin the second set, the Cardinals reeled off five straight points, featuring two kills from Luper, to take a 9-3 lead and force a Penn State timeout. A kill by Allie Holland ended the run coming out, but Louisville never relinquished the early lead. The Nittany Lions came within three at 20-17 before DeBeer recorded another kill and Luper tallied an ace to take a 22-17 lead, forcing yet another timeout by Penn State. The Cardinals won the set 25-19 on an attack error by the Nittany Lions, taking a commanding 2-0 match lead. Louisville again never trailed in the set and hit .333.
The Cardinals recorded the first five points of the third set, capped off by Glock connecting with DeBeer for another kill, which led to an early Penn State timeout. Later in the set, with Louisville leading 11-6, the Cards reeled off four straight points, highlighted by a kill and an ace from Cresse, to build their lead to 15-6 and force another timeout by the Nittany Lions. Louisville led by as many as 13 in the final set and finished the afternoon off with Glock assisting Luper on the match-winning kill to win 25-16. The Cards added four blocks and an ace to finish off the Nittany Lions.
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