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Raiders Battle Louisville in NCAA Tournament, Fall in Four Sets to End Season

NCAA Volleyball | Photo by Adam Campbell | The Wright State Guardian

This past Thursday, the Wright State University women’s volleyball team took on the No. 2 Louisville Cardinals in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Coming into the game

The two squads had met earlier in the season, where Louisville captured a four-set victory. 

The Raiders returned to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight time this year, looking to find more luck than last year’s loss against Georgia Tech. 

First-set win

WSU came out in the first set and played very well, stunning the Cardinals with a 25-22 opening-set victory. Callie Martin and Sam Ott led in the set, each recording four kills. 

The set victory marked just the fourth set on the season that Louisville dropped to a non-power five conference, with the first coming earlier in the season against WSU. 

“I think we had a lot of energy,” WSU setter Katie Meyer stated. “Every time we got a lot of energy, they started to crumble a little bit, so that gave us some confidence, and I think that helped us push through the first set.”  

NCAA Volleyball | Photo by Adam Campbell | The Wright State Guardian

Remainder of the game

In the second set, WSU continued its strong start, going back and forth with the Cardinals. Eventually, the Cardinals rallied behind its home crowd to pull out a 25-18 set victory. 

WSU came out in the crucial third set looking determined, starting out with a 6-2 lead. The Raiders would continue building on that lead, going up 11-5. The Cardinals used two separate three-point rallies to pull ahead of WSU and ultimately claim the third set by a score of 25-20. 

In the fourth set, Louisville got off to a 14-8 lead, making it difficult for Wright State to stay above water. The Raiders were able to battle and bring the score within four points at 20-16. Unfortunately, the rally was short lived with the Cardinals claiming the fourth set 25-20. 

Reflections on a historic season

Wright State fell in the opening round of the tournament, ending its remarkable 2023 season. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of our group,” Head Coach Travers Green mentioned. “We got a lot of respect from people in the stands for how we played, and that is all you can ask for as a coach.” 

The dynamic trio of Katie Meyer, Megan Alders and Callie Martin led the Raiders this year. 

These three players changed the narrative that surrounds the WSU program after claiming four Horizon League titles and four NCAA Tournament berths in a five-year span.

“When we came in, there was an expectation of getting better every season,” Alders said. “I hope that we left a good legacy for the girls that come in and they know they can do this and they can dream as long as they have a big heart and go out there and ball.” 

For Martin, the first round match was a full-circle moment, as she is a native of Louisville. Martin always dreamed of playing in the KFC Yum! Center in front of her friends and family. 

“I started my career and ended it in the same city,” Martin said. “That was pretty amazing having all my family and friends there. It was very special for me.” 

Although the Raiders fell in the first round, the team has a lot to be proud of, as they repeated as HL champions for the first time in program history and competed very well against one of the nation’s best teams in Louisville, showing that the Raiders can hang with any team out there. 

The team will now head to the offseason and prepare for next fall, as they look to claim three consecutive conference titles. 

Adam Campbell

Sports Reporter

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