LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SMU) – Cailin Bula had 13 kills, and Avery Acker posted her 10th double-double of the season with 37 assists and 12 digs, but it wasn’t enough for the Mustangs to hand Louisville its first conference loss, falling 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-19, 25-15). The loss snapped SMU’s five-match win streak, the longest of the season, as the Mustangs fell to 17-9 overall and 9-4 in the American Athletic Conference.
Freshman Morgan Heise followed up her career-high performance at Cincinnati with 15 digs against the league’s top-rated offense, but Louisville’s defense finished with 80 digs and nine blocks to hold SMU to a .160 attack percentage. Caroline Young had nine kills and six digs for the Mustangs, and Abbey Bybel had eight kills with 11 digs. The Cardinals had four players with at least 10 kills and hit .268 in the win.
The Mustangs outlasted the Cardinals (18-7, 13-0 American) in the second set, evening the match with a 25-22 win. Trailing 7-3, SMU took a timeout and scored the next five points to take an 8-7 lead. The Mustangs never trailed again, but the score was tied five more times. SMU took a 15-12 lead on a 4-1 run, and stretched its lead to five. Louisville erased the five-point lead with five straight points to even the score, 22-22. SMU scored three hard earned points to win the set and even the match.
SMU battled the entire third set, trying to erase the lead Louisville built by scoring the first seven points. The Mustangs got to within four points twice, 12-8 and again at 22-18, but Louisville took advantage of its timeouts and ended the SMU rally each time. After their second timeout, the Cardinals scored three of the last four points to take a 2-1 lead with the 25-19 win.
Louisville closed out the match with a 25-15 win in the fourth set. SMU started the set on a 4-1 run, but the Cardinals offense exploded for an 11-3 run to take a 12-7 lead. The Mustangs scored the next two to cut the lead to three, but Louisville didn’t let them get any closer.
After leading for most of the first set, the Mustangs found themselves trailing 23-18. SMU rallied to get to within one, fighting off two set points before Young’s attack narrowly missed the sideline for a Louisville point and the 25-23 win. The Cardinals scored three of the first four points to start the set, but the Mustangs went on a 7-2 run to take an 8-5 lead. SMU held the lead until a 3-0 run gave the Cardinals a 15-14 lead, but SMU answered. It was a 5-0 run with the score tied, 17-17, that gave the Cardinals the biggest advantage and set up the dramatic finish.
The Mustangs return to Dallas for the final two home matches of the regular season, starting with a match against Temple Friday at 7 p.m. SMU will honor its seniors during a prematch ceremony before facing Memphis Sunday at 1 p.m.