Even though No. 2 Louisville and No. 5 Stanford are meeting for just the second time ever to end their nonconference schedules, they’ll be seeing a lot more of each other once Stanford joins the ACC in 2024. And with both squads boasting top-5 rankings, this matchup is sure to heighten the rivalry between the soon-to-be conference opponents.
If Stanford didn’t already have a chip on its shoulder going into this matchup from its 3-1 loss to Louisville last year, it most certainly does after dropping its second match of the season on Tuesday against No. 4 Nebraska. In that match, Stanford hit a season-low .218 and was out-dug (38-30) and out-blocked (11-8) by the Huskers. So far this season, though, Kendall Kipp and Elia Rubin are the Cardinal’s weapons of choice in the front line, leading the team with 91 kills apiece this season. After missing first three matches of the season, OH Caitie Baird has also been a problem for opposing defenses, hitting .377 against ranked opponents. With a challenging early slate of matches, the Cardinal is currently 3-2 against top-15 teams; No. 2 Louisville is the final obstacle they will face before Stanford starts Pac-12 play.
On the contrary, Louisville has remained relatively unfazed by its first nine contests thus far, dominating in all of its top 25 matches (Washington State, Penn State and Kentucky) with decisive 3-0 shutouts. Dayton has been the only team to push the Cardinals to a fifth frame, but setter Elle Glock’s career-high 46 assists and Anna DeBeer’s season-high 24 kills propelled the Cardinals victory. Thus far, Louisville has led its opponents in blocks, 74-46, and ranks ninth in the nation in hitting, averaging .303 per match. The Cardinals present a tall task for Stanford, as Louisville looks to get to 10-0.
Staying right where we’re at: The KFC Yum! Center and on national television
— Louisville Volleyball (@LouisvilleVB) September 15, 2023