Cardona’s career night gives UE important MVC road win


Aces earn 3-1 win over Belmont

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Giulia Cardona reset her career kills mark with 36 as she paced the University of Evansville volleyball team to a 3-1 win over Belmont inside the Curb Event Center.

An unbelievable performance by Cardona saw her hit .370 while adding 11 digs.  Ainoah Cruz led the way with 22 digs while Melanie Feliciano recorded a double-double with 17 digs and 12 kills.  Kora Ruff also had a double-double with 49 assists and 17 digs.  Brenna Kauffeld had a team-high 12 kills for the Bruins.

Game 1 – Belmont 25, UE 21

Giulia Cardona picked up a pair of early kills as the first set was tied at 5-5.  Scoring five of the next six points, the Bruins took control, going up 10-6.  The Bruins added to the advantage in the middle stages of the game, leading by as many as eight points.

Trailing 19-11, the Aces went on an 8-3 run to cut the deficit to just three at 22-19.  Chloe Cline picked up two kills in the stretch before combining with Emilee Scheumann on a block to cap off the run.  Things remained close down the stretch before the Bruins held on for the win.

Game 2 – UE 25, Belmont 19

After completing the first set with the momentum, the Purple Aces grabbed a 3-1 lead with Melanie Feliciano recording an ace.  Three more kills by Giulia Cardona helped UE extend its lead to 9-5.  The Bruins fought back to tie the set at 13-13 and the set remained close with another tie coming at 18-18.

Evansville regrouped in a big way and finished the set on a 7-1 run to tie the match at 1-1.  Maddie Hawkins added an ace while Feliciano and Cardona recorded kills to get UE back on track.

Game 3 – UE 25, Belmont 17

Melanie Feliciano posted a kill and ace to send the Aces out to a 4-1 lead.  After Belmont came back to tie the game at 8-8, Evansville took control with three points in a row and later, a kill from Cardona extended the lead to five points (16-11).

Another rally by the Bruins cut the UE lead to just a pair at 18-16, but the Aces fended off the challenge and had another clutch run.  Two more Cardona kills and another ace from Hawkins highlighted a 7-1 run that ended the set to give UE a 25-17 victory and a 2-1 match lead.

Game 4 – UE 25, Belmont 20

Looking to force a decisive fifth game, Belmont had the early edge in the fourth set.  The Bruins took a 3-1 lead and would hold the advantage until Hawkins’ third ace of the day gave UE a 7-6 edge.  Evansville’s run continued as Feliciano added a kill to make it a 10-8 game.

The squads dueled it out over the next sequence with the Aces holding a 19-18 edge.  Just as they had throughout the entire match, Evansville was at its best when it mattered most.  Completing the set on a 6-2 run, Evansville took a 25-20 decision and clinched its first conference win of 2023.

UE is back home on Monday for a 6 p.m. match against Chicago State.