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How Louisville soared to the top of the power rankings
Dec 3, 2021, 7:49:00 AM

How Louisville soared to the top of the power rankings

Ever since the first game of the NCAA Women’s Volleyball league, analysts have projected that Louisville won’t keep up with their success and for a long stretch of weeks, it seems like that was the case. Now, Louisville remains undefeated as the playoffs begin. 

After many consecutive weeks where Texas was glued to the top rankings of the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball league, a new sheriff in town came storming in undefeated as the season wanes and proceeds to the postseason. 

Teams should fear the Cardinals as they make history as one of the few teams in NCAA history to go undefeated in the regular season. Historically, the NCAA is famous for upsets and surprises where the most unsuspecting teams rise to the occasion and seal the deal to win the championship. One thing is apparent though, the Cardinals are going into the postseason as the volleyball team to beat. 

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Cardinals are somehow unimpressed with their 28 straight wins 

While Louisville has an outstanding record of championships over its tenure in the league, this year’s Cardinals are unimpressed with their undefeated record. They are adamant and insistent upon the notion that their no-loss record is merely a prelude for what’s about to transpire in the postseason. 

With a staggering 28-0 record, the Cardinals are coming into the playoffs with laser focus after scoffing at the fact that they just recorded a feat that will forever be remembered as one of the best seasons of the Louisville women’s volleyball team. 

After being asked how she felt knowing that they just accomplished one of the greatest seasons ever, Claire Chaussee, one of the many star players who helped uplift the team’s illustrious season stated, ‘So what? Now what? That’s like our motto’. 

‘If we’re down a set, what are we going to do now? Even if we’re up two sets, so what?’, she said, knowing that there is still unfinished work to accomplish as the postseason nears. 

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Louisville may be undefeated record-wise, but they sure looked vulnerable during their match against Notre Dame. They kept the game closer than it should have been in sets 1 and 3, almost falling short of having no losses in the season. At the end of the day, the Cardinals still achieved what seems to be impossible, and a win is a win no matter how close it got down the wire. 

Louisville is having a historical season

Like most collegiate and professional teams in any sport, coaching is paramount to the success of the overall production and winning percentage. This affirmation couldn’t be any truer than the brilliant coaching of Dani Busboom Kelly who curated all the smart plays that led to the Cardinals winning all 28 games in the regular season. 

When asked about her team’s success, she exclaimed that there had not been so much in the plays and performance of the Cardinals worthy of praise. As surprising as it may be, the Cardinals did look ‘a little flat’ according to Senior Anna Stevenson. She added that the team was ‘scatterbrained’ and ‘frustrated’ despite the success they’ve had so far. 

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Regardless of the coach’s comments, Louisville still has a lot to look forward to moving into the playoffs. Despite the underwhelming tone the whole team may portray in the media, there’s still no denying that their greatness was imprinted in the league so much. It’s only a matter of time when the Cardinals will perfect their season with a national championship. 

Aside from coaching, the Louisville roster is one of the most complete sets of players a volleyball team can have. On top of their scary duo of Claire Chaussee and Anna Stevenson, their defence is killing it more with pronounced blocks and rallies every time the Cardinals play. There’s a saying that goes: Defense wins championships, and Louisville has this quote etched in their DNA as they terrorise teams in the defensive end. 

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Louisville’s biggest hurdles coming into the playoffs

Aside from the glaring issues of inconsistency between each set where games tend to get closer than expected, Louisville on paper doesn’t need to worry all that much about other teams. Instead, their opponents should be the ones that cower in front of their presence as the postseason begins. 

However, this is the NCAA we’re talking about, and as you may all know, upsets and x-factors always occur from time to time. Simply put, top teams getting early exits isn’t unprecedented under the ceilings of the NCAA. 

Also, there’s no denying that this year’s NCAA women’s volleyball teams are some of the most talented you’ll ever see on television. Volleyball clubs like Pittsburgh and Texas are going to put a bit of fear on anyone who faces them during the playoffs. With how frequent upsets happen, you shouldn’t be surprised when Louisville is eliminated sooner than expected. 

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Words: Vonn Consul 

Image: PA