Louisville Press Conference
Marquette Press Conference
MILWAUKEE, Wis. – No. 1 seed Louisville (28-3) won the BIG EAST Volleyball Championship with a 3-0 sweep over No. 2 seed Marquette (26-6). The Cardinals won by scores of 25-19, 25-23 and 26-24 to become the first team since 2007 to win both the BIG EAST regular-season title and BIG EAST Championship.
Louisville, ranked No. 10 nationally, earned its fifth BIG EAST title in eight years. They are 5-2 in championship matches and 20-3 overall in the BIG EAST Championship. Marquette is 5-5 in tournament play and 0-1 in the title game. The two teams met twice during the regular season with the Cardinals claiming both matches.
“We are so excited, talk about the hardest things in the world to do is win the regular season championship and a tournament championship, it’s tough, it’s exhausting, it’s pressure you know and I am so proud of our kids and if anyone paid attention to us all year, we do have some standout stars on our team but we are very evenly distributed with our offense and defense,” said head coach Anne Kordes. “I’m so excited for the BIG EAST, that was one of the best matches of the year, on national television…Marquette has done a phenomenal job and they’ve only gotten better and I’m excited to see what they can do in the NCAA tournament.”
Senior Gwen Rucker was named the Most Outstanding Player for her stellar play in all three wins. She tallied 10 kills and hit .400 in the final. BIG EAST Player of the Year, senior Lola Arslanbekova had a match-high 13 kills and posted 11 digs for the double-double. Defensively, the Cardinals held Marquette to a .165 hitting percentage while junior Caitlin Welch led all players with 21 digs.
First team selection, junior Elizabeth Koberstein dished out a match-high 31 assists for the Golden Eagles. Sophomore Lindsey Gosh had a team-high nine kills and junior Julie Jeziorowski led the defense with 20 digs.
The Cardinals outperformed Marquette offensively in the first set, hitting .300 to the Golden Eagles .050. Rucker led the way with six kills on 10 attempts and George dished out eight assists. Louisville took the first set 25-19 to claim an early 1-0 advantage in the match.
Marquette came out strong in the second set and jumped out to a 9-5 lead. However, Louisville regrouped after a timeout and went on an 11-3 run to go ahead by four. The set went back and forth until the Cardinals eventually pulled away and claimed a 25-23 win.
Facing elimination, the Golden Eagles wouldn’t go down easily. The third set featured 13 ties until Louisville tallied the final two points of the set to claim a 26-24 win and 3-0 sweep for the match.
Louisville earns the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championship with its fifth BIG EAST Championship title. The national semifinals and final will be held at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. on Dec. 13 and Dec. 15.
Marquette awaits word on the at-large selections for the 2012 NCAA Championship, which will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 25 at 4:00 p.m., ET, on ww.NCAA.com.
Caitlyn Breen, Sr., MB, USF
Megan Turner, Sr., OH, Cincinnati
Danielle Carlson, Sr., MH, Marquette
Elizabeth Koberstein, Jr., S, Marquette
Gwen Rucker, Sr., MH, Louisville
Caitlin Welch, Jr., DS, Louisville
Lola Arslanbekova, Sr., OH, Louisville
Most Outstanding Player
Gwen Rucker, Louisville
Quarterfinals, Friday, Nov. 16
Match 1: No. 4 Connecticut, 2 vs. No. 5 Cincinnati, 3 (25-17, 17-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-8)
Match 2: No. 1 Louisville, 3 vs. No. 8 St. John’s, 0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-18)
Match 3: No. 3 Notre Dame, 1 vs. No. 6 USF, 3 (25-17, 18-25, 25-23, 25-19)
Match 4: No. 2 Marquette, 3 vs. No. 7 Pittsburgh, 1 (25-14, 22-25, 25-23, 25-19)
Semifinals, Saturday, Nov. 17
Match 5: No. 1 Louisville, 3 vs. No. 5 Cincinnati, 0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-23)
Match 6: No. 2 Marquette, 3 vs. No. 6 USF, 1 (25-16, 25-20, 25-27, 25-22)
Championship, Sunday, Nov. 18
Match 7: No. 1 Louisville, 3 vs. No. 2 Marquette, 0 (25-19, 25-23, 26-24)