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Lady Leps Crowned NBC Champions in the Lions Den!

Louisville Lady Leopards Volleyball 2012 NBC Champions

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Louisville 23-25-25-25, Minerva 25-20-15-21

The Louisville Lady Leopards defeated the Minerva Lady Lions 23-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-21 at Minerva High School Thursday evening.  With the victory the Lady Leopards are the 2012 Outright NBC Volleyball Champions.  The championship is their sixth NBC Title in school history.

In the first set, neither team ever produced a lead larger than 3 points.  Ashton Ruffing slammed home a kill setup by Maddie Gramoy late in the set to give Louisville a 21-20 lead.  The assist was just one of Gramoy’s team-leading 29 on the evening.  However, Minerva seized momentum back with three straight points and eventually took the set 25-23.

In the second set, Louisville’s side of the court was in front of a hostile Minerva student section.  While the advantage was supposed to be the Lions, it was the Leopards who stormed out to a 6-1 lead.  Gramoy had 2 of her 3 aces on the evening during the run and Megan Stocker, Delaney Zwick, and Jordan Monnot all threw down kills for the Leopards.  Monnot would finish the evening with a team-high 14 kills for Louisville.

Despite being on the hostile side of the net, Louisville continued to dominate and ripped open a 21-14 advantage.  Out of a timeout, the Lions rallied to score 6 of the next 7 points to cut the deficit to 22-20.  However, the combinations of Gramoy to Nicole Kettlewell and Kristen Bricker to Brittany Lowry produced the next two points of the contest for the Leopards.  Mackenzie Begue’s digs setup both scoring opportunities.  Begue would finish the contest with a team-high 24 digs and the third set ended on a Minerva miscue one play later.

The Leopards again jumped out to the early advantage in the third set 3-0.  Gramoy served up her third ace of the contest to begin the set.  The Senior Setter would finish as the Leopards top Beatty's Sports Grey Louisville Athletics T-Shirtserver with 17 points overall.  The Lions rallied to tie the set at 10-10, but Louisville rampaged for six consecutive points after that.  Stocker put up a backstop during the match recording all of her team-high 3 blocks (2 solo, 1 assist) to lead the Louisville defense.  The Leopards would eventually take a double digit advantage and win the set 25-15.

Louisville leaped out to another quick start to take a 4-0 advantage at the start of the fourth set.  But, Minerva rallied back to even the score at 4-4.  The Leopards would again pull out to a 12-9 advantage before the Lions knotted the score at 12 a piece.  The girls in blue could smell their title when they took a 22-17 advantage, but the girls in red cast shadows of doubt by scoring the next four points to close the gap to 22-21.  Through the entire set Louisville never trailed and they were not about to lose that status at the end of it all.

The key play of the match came when Lowry slammed home a powerful kill that deflected off a Minerva defender and onto the stage behind.  This play halted the Lions run and gave Louisville a 23-21 advantage.  A dig by Begue and an assist by Bricker setup the the throw down by Lowry.  The point seemed to instantly transfer the momentum from Minerva to Louisville after that.  The Lions sent the ball out of bounds on the next play to make it 24-21 Leopards.

Then Ruffing stepped up to serve the championship point.  The Senior Outside Hitter got redemption her serve that gave Minerva the first set by delivering a bullet serve straight into the heart of the Lions defense.  The ball skipped off a white jersey and onto the floor ending the game.  The Lady Leopards erupted into elation in celebrating their first conference title since 2010.  After brief handshakes, the screams of joy continued in front of the bench.  And why not? They had done it! They completed an 18-4 regular season and more importantly stand alone atop the NBC Standings at 13-1.

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Match Point and Celebration!

UP NEXT: The Lady Leopards will next take on the winner of Canton McKinley and Lake in the DI Sectional Finals at Lake High School on Wednesday, October 17 at 7:45 PM.

PICTURES

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JV: Louisville 25-25, Minerva 23-8

The Lady Leopards edged Minerva in the first set 25-23, but dominated the second frame 25-8.  The win ends the JV squads season with an overall record of 16-3 and an NBC record of 13-1.  They are also NBC Champions although it is unknown whether or not that is a shared or outright title depending on if Salem’s JV squad went 13-1 as well.

JV PICTURES

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