Anna DeBeer finished with 17 kills, hitting .222, 10 digs, and three blocks to lead the Louisville women’s volleyball team to a 25-23, 23-25, 13-25, 27-25, 15-6 victory over Oregon in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament Saturday night at the KFC Yum! Center. 

With the win, the Cardinals move to 30-2 on the season and advance to their second consecutive NCAA National Semi-finals. The loss marks an end to a 17-game winning streak for the Ducks, who end the year with a 26-6 overall record. 

As a team, the Cardinals finished with 56 kills, 11 blocks, seven aces, and hitting .217 in the match, while the Ducks totaled 64 kills, 59 assists, 59 digs, and hitting .250. The teams tied in total points with 74 apiece. 

Claire Chaussee registered 13 kills, nine kills, and a block while hitting .235 for the Cards. Aiko Jones added 11 kills, two aces, three digs, and a block. Amaya Tillman tallied seven kills and five blocks, while Raquel Lazaro chipped in with 38 assists and three blocks. Elena Scott totaled five aces, marking a season-high by any Cardinal while adding 12 digs in the victory.

Claire Chaussee and Aiko Jones were named All-Regional with Anna DeBeer being voted Regional Most Valuable Player

Mimi Colyer led the Ducks with 17 kills, nine kills, and four blocks in the loss. Brooke Nuneviller tallied 15 kills and 16 digs, while Morgan Lewis registered 13 kills and hit .370. Karson Bacon chipped in with 10 kills and hit a match-high .471. Hannah Pukis finished with a match-high 50 assists.

Louisville will face the winner of Wisconsin and Pittsburgh in the Final Four in Omaha, Neb. on Thursday, Dec. 15.

All-Louisville Regional

Ally Battenhorst – Nebraska

Brooke Nuneviller – Oregon

Morgan Lewis – Oregon

Aiko Jones- Louisville

Mimi Colyer – Oregon

Claire Chaussee – Louisville


Anna DeBeer – Louisville

Set by Set Recap

Set 1

A well-matched start to the set had the score knotted at six apiece, as Amaya Tillman got off to a quick start with two kills and a block during that span. However, the Ducks gained momentum as they went on a 5-1 rally, holding an 11-7 advantage. Aiko Jones provided a spark for the Cards, which started with a kill to set the score at 13-9. Oregon responded with a point of their own before Jones had another kill, followed by consecutive aces, accounting for four straight Cardinal points to pull within two. An ace from Scott tied the set at 20-20 for the first time since 6-6. With the set on the line, Anna DeBeer was able to register a kill to give Louisville their first lead 23-22 late in the set. A service error by the Ducks ended the set as the Cards won 25-23 and took a 1-0 lead in the match

Set 2

Tillman was able to help propel the Cards again early with a block followed by a kill on the ensuing play to put UofL up 6-2 and force Oregon head coach Matt Ulmer to take a timeout. The Ducks responded moments later with a 7-2 rally which tied the set at 10 apiece. Neither team was able to gain separation, trading points until Oregon went on a 4-1 rally to give themselves a slim 23-21 lead. Facing set point, Lazaro had a kill out of a Louisville timeout as they trailed 24-23. However, it wouldn’t be enough as the Ducks would end the set on a kill by Kiari Robey, as the Cards dropped their first set of the NCAA tournament 25-23.  

Set 3

After putting an end to the second set, Robey was able to get things started for the Ducks with a kill that put an early six-point rally in motion as Louisville head coach Dani Busboom Kelly took an early timeout. Jones put a halt to the rally for Oregon with a kill as they trailed 8-1. However, the Ducks would respond with back-to-back points and took a commanding 10-1 advantage, forcing the Cards into their second timeout of the set. Louisville was not able to overcome the early deficit as they had their best chance to get back in it following a 4-1 rally which was highlighted by two Chausse kills to trim the Oregon lead to 19-12. The Ducks finished the set on a 6-1 rally to secure the 25-13 win. Colyer had a dominating seven kills on eight swings in the set to lead the Ducks to the victory and gain a 2-1 edge over the Cards. 

Set 4

DeBeer had an impressive stretch that helped the Cards get out to their biggest lead of the set on a 5-1 rally. DeBeer started the rally with a kill, then had a block with teammate PK Kong, before slamming yet another kill on the ensuing play. Oregon was able to respond with a point of their own before DeBeer recorded two more kills to expand the lead to 11-8. Late in the set, the Cards took a slim 20-18 lead late and forced an Oregon timeout as neither team was able to establish momentum through the set. However, out of the timeout, the Ducks went on a 3-0 rally to take a 21-20 advantage and the Cardinals then took a timeout of their own. Oregon pushed the lead to 24-23 and with the match point on the line, Colyer had an attack error as the set continued knotted at 24 apiece. The Cards went on to outscore the Ducks 3-1 to secure a narrow 27-25 victory. Chaussee registered three kills over the Cardinal’s final four points, finishing with six kills in the set. DeBeer also tallied six kills to keep hope alive for UofL. There were a total of 16 ties and seven lead changes with the largest lead being three, which came from the Cards when they held an 11-8 advantage.

Set 5

DeBeer took over the final set of the contest for Louisville, finishing the final set with six kills and a block, being responsible for 6.5 of the team’s 15 points. Early in the set, the Cardinals were able to go on a 4-0 rally, which was sparked by a DeBeer kill, to give themselves a 7-3 cushion over the Ducks. Oregon was able to score consecutive points before the Cards went on a 6-0 rally to establish a 13-5 advantage. During that rally, DeBeer had a stretch in which she had four kills in five plays. Jones would cap off the match with a kill to give UofL the 14-6 win and advance to the Final Four. 

What They Said

Dani Busboom Kelly, Head Coach 

(Opening Statement) 

 “First of all, Oregon is a hell of a team, and they played so well. We knew that we were going to have a hard time stopping them, and we did, so hats off to them. They played a great match, but I’m so proud of this team. We talk about our culture and our grit and that we can out team anybody, and I thought that’s what it came down to in game five. We just out teamed them, and it took some people that haven’t played big roles in a long time. That’s we’re about – you have to trust everybody on our team to make big plays – and you saw Ayden Bartlett and Ceci Rush come off the bench and have the biggest runs of the match. That’s just a really good feeling and really cool to see those players step up.” 

(After being down two sets to one, what were the things that got you back to winning a close fourth set and then the match in the fifth set?) 

 Anna DeBeer, Junior, Outside Hitter

“I just think that we needed to find a way to settle in and get back to playing Louisville volleyball. They were pushing us in ways that we haven’t been pushed in a while, and I think it took every single person on the team to come out and just do their job and get back in our rhythm. To finish out that fourth set after being down 24-23 and just to have that trust in everyone and trust in each other was what brought us out on top for that fourth set. Like I said earlier, we weren’t going to lose that fifth set after that fourth set. These seniors have worked so hard, and we knew we weren’t going to be done. It was a complete team effort.” 

Aiko Jones, Redshirt-Senior, Rightside Hitter

“I think it definitely goes back to trust; Dani touched on it and DeBo (DeBeer) touched on it. I think we scared ourselves and I guess we scared the whole city of Louisville, but the look in our eyes at that moment was like ‘This is not us. What are we doing? Whenever we take a timeout and go back on the court, we need to flip a switch.’ Everyone was on the same page; we are not going out like this. Regardless of the outcome, we are not going out looking like chumps. Instead, we went out looking like studs.” 

(Have you been in that situation at all this year?) 

Dani Busboom Kelly, Head Coach

“We were down 0-2 (two sets to none) to Georgia Tech, and we knew that we had to win that to potentially win the ACC and get a top-four seed. So, I think we can look at that experience this year when you go through this match, but I just felt like we hadn’t been down against such a great team that was offensively going off. I’m proud that we were able to get that fourth set out.” 

(Anna, was that a tweak of your knee injury in the fifth set?) 

Anna DeBeer, Junior, Outside Hitter

“I slipped on some sweat, and for the first time this season since the injury, I landed on my knee. I just needed a second to have it chill out, but I wasn’t going to let myself get taken out, so I just pushed through it. All good now.” 

(Talk about Anna coming back from the injury to become the region’s Most Valuable Player) 

Dani Busboom Kelly, Head Coach

“When I think about our team, it’s just a total effort. We wouldn’t be here hosting a regional if it wasn’t for Nena (Mbonu) and the job that she did this season, and we’re going to need her in the Final Four. But when we knew (Anna) was cleared, we knew we needed to start working her in. We needed her in the back row, and it’s not even her skill – we needed her attitude and leadership and competitive spirit. I always say she’s like my safety blanket; when she’s out there, I just feel like we’re going to win and we’re going to compete.” 

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Description automatically generatedNancy Allison WorleyAssociate Sports Information Director | Louisville Athletics


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