The Cardinals improve to 23-2 with the win and extend their winning streak to 15 straight matches and their 13th straight sweep. The Wildcats fall to 12-14.
"We did what we did were supposed to do in the first game," said U of L head coach Leonid Yelin. "We had to push hard in the second game. I give all credit to Kentucky because they really pushed us. We haven't had many matches lately where the other team was pushing us like this. This will help us prepare for our conference tournament coming up."
U of L hit .394 and outblocked the Wildcats 8-4, to preserve their streak of 25 straight matches without being outblocked.
In the first game, both teams traded points in the early going, before U of L went on a 12-3 run to build a 17-8 lead. During that run, Jennifer Hoffman and Ustymenko each had three kills apiece. The Cats would get no closer despite UK's Sarah Spinner's five kills as Louisville rolled to a 30-19 win. Ustymenko had 9 kills to lead the Cards as they hit a torrid .541 to UK's .216.
After the two teams began the second game tied at 11 in the early going, UK went on a four-point run and forced a Louisville time-out. The Cats continued to build their lead to as many as eight at 25-17 on a kill by Alex Montefalco. U of L came back with four straight points to pull to within four at 25-21 and force a Kentucky time-out. The Cardinals regrouped and pulled to within one at 26-25 on a Ustymenko kill. But Kentucky scored twice and Yelin utilized his final time-out at 28-25. A kill by Danielle Wallace took UK to game point at 29-27, but Hoffman put a ball down on the ten foot line to take the game to 29-28. A Kentucky error tied the set at 29-29. Setter Jennifer Craven aced the Cats to get to game point and another hitting error by the Wildcats gave U of L a 31-29 win and a 2-0 game edge going into the break Ustymenko had nine kills in the second set with Steph Marsh adding two solo blocks in the effort. Kentucky hitting heated up to .318, on the strength of Montefalco's six kills on nine attacks and no errors.
In the final set, U of L built a 18-12 lead and then continued to outgun the Cats with .298 hitting. UK used its final time-out at 23-16 to try to chill the Cardinal momentum but only scored twice after that.
For the Cardinals, Hoffman and Bing Sun each added nine kills with Yartseva recording a match-high 16 digs. Kentucky had three players in double digit kills led by Spinner's 14 with Montefalco adding 13 and a dozen by Wallace
Louisville returns to action against Cincinnati 7:30 p.m. Friday in Cardinal Arena.