We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2023


Louisville Women's Basketball Jumps Four Spots in Latest Rankings

For Jeff Walz and Co., the wins and tough schedule are starting to pay off. Louisville women's basketball moved up four spots to #18 in the latest poll.

Last week, the Cards went to Oxford, Miss and defeated then-#19 Ole Miss by six in the ACC-SEC Challenge. The ACC and SEC tied, going 7-7. The Cards followed up that win by cruising past North Carolina A&T, 80-40.

Louisville is the fourth highest ranked ACC team right now and one of six in the Top 25. NC State continues to be the surprise of the season as the Wolfpack have moved all the way up to #3. Notre Dame moved up a few spots to #14 while Virginia Tech fell all the way to #15 after suffering their second loss of the season. Louisville is #18.

Florida State fell quite a bit after losing at home recently, and is now ranked #20. North Carolina stayed put at #24.

Miami just missed on cracking the rankings and sit in the receiving votes category. In an expanded rankings system, the Hurricanes would be #26. Syracuse also received a pair of votes.

While NC State is a bit surprising with just how good they are this year (I didn't expect them to be in the top three, especially with Elissa Cunane gone) It is surprising that Duke isn't ranked or even receiving votes. The Blue Devils are 5-3 on the year with losses to #1 South Carolina, #9 Stanford (by three), and RV Davidson. I think Duke is a better team than the rankings give them credit for.

The ACC is loaded this season even more than last year. The voters still are unsure of how good Louisville is yet with a majority of the team being new. A match-up against UConn in a couple weeks will be telling of where the Cards stand against one of the best women's basketball programs of the last two decades.

Next up for the Cards is a meeting with in-state rival Kentucky. The Cards and Cats will face off on Sunday at 2:00pm at the KFC Yum! Center. Obviously, this game is being promoted as a RED out. We encourage you to wear red for this one, as Paulie, Sonya, Daryl, and myself will do. Jeff will be up in the stands hopefully wearing red. Now, if we can talk Case into attending this game we could have a Cardinal Couple full house.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!

Monday, December 4, 2023

Cards WBB Double up N.C. A&T 80-40 -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



An enthusiastic crowd of 7618 turned out Sunday at noon for Louisville's non-conference tilt against N.C.A&T. And, the Cards roared out against the Aggies with 29 first quarter points and 54 points on the board at the half...leading the foe by 33 at the break. The win pushed UofL WBB to 8-1 on the season

(photo by Michael DeZarn)

A balanced effort from Walz's bunch and maybe some of the best basketball they've played this season, shooting a red-hot 63% in the first 20 and forcing 15 turnovers. 

Starter Nina Rickards left after just three and one half minutes, rested as a precaution the rest of the way after she bumped knees with an Aggie. Coach Walz said that she'd be fine in a couple of days. 

UofL jumped out to a 7-2 start in the first two minutes of this one, an openingthree from Kiki Jefferson getting things off to a good start. Merissah Russell and Jayda Curry three's bumped that advantage up to 17-9 at the first quarter mediabreak, and Louisville ended the quarter on a 12-4 run, the Cards knocked down five three-pointers in the first session. The Cards had built a 29-13 lead. 

(photo by Michael DeZarn)

The defense got even stingier in he second quarter. An 11-4 Cardinals run in the first three minutes of the second quarter had the Cards coasting along a 40-17 after a LeLe Love layup. An Olivia Cochran jumper made the score 51-18 with 1:30 until halftime...Hennie Van Schaik drilled a jumper to give the Cards a 54-21 lead at the half for a crowd that was very vocal in their encouragement for these flying Birds. 

Every Card had scored except the injured Rickards in the first half and Louisville had a 18-0 advantage in second chance points and a 31-6 bench scoring advantage. 

(The annual Baby Crawl by Michael DeZarn)

The third quarter began a bit slowly, neither team scoring in the first 2-1/2 minutes, but wtth four minutes gone in the third, Louisville had swelled the lead to 60-25. The Cards held N.C. A&T to no baskets and just three points in the final five minutes of the third quarter...Nyla Harris had five of Louisville's 15 points in the quarter and the squads entered the fourth with Louisville comfortably ahead at 69-30.


The fourth quarter gave Walz a chance to give Russell, van Schaik, Istanbulluoglu, Love and Curry some extended minutes and it was another slow start to the scoring...two N.C.A&T free throws broke the ice with three minutes already transpired, Louisville's shooting percentage dropped pretty significantly in the final 10 minutes (4-15 for 26.7%) and the Cards only hit one of the six threes they tried, but the crew gained valuable playing experience time together on the court and Russell's three wrapped up he UofL scoring with 2:24 to go, for the Cards biggest lead at 44 points, the Aggies cored the final four points for the game...a 80-40 Cardinals triumph. 

(photo by Michael De Zarn)

A solid win, expected and expecations met. The in-state rivalry against  that school in Lexington is a week away. It should be a thriller in the YUM!


(An apt Fred Figglehorn for Kids Day at the arena...)

FREE THROWS -- Louisville went 10-13 from the stripe (only 29 fouls were called in this one, a vast difference from the 50 whistled in the Ole Miss contest) Kiki Jeferson was 4-4 and we'll award a small case "f" for topping our standard of 70%. 

REBOUNDING --  45-23 in favor of the home team, LeLeLove leading the way with 10 for the Cards. N.C. A&T had just five offensive rebounds...A CAPITAL "R" HERE, NO DOUBT! 

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- The Cards won the points off turnovers battle 43-8, second chance scoring 25-2 and points-in-the paint 36-22. Committing 17 turnovers is still more than I'd like to see, but 44 bench points shows me everyone was anxious to get out there and show what they could do. A CAPITAL "E" FOR THE 80-POINT EFFORT AND 44%  SHOOTING FROM THE FLOOR. 

DEFENSE -- Allowing just 40 points is a nice defensive effort, forcing 31 turnover prettty awesome and getting 16 steals makes this a CAPITAL "D" here. 





(photo by Michael DeZarn) 

A special "thank you!" to Michael DeZarn, for providing me with some photos of the game !!




Sunday, December 3, 2023

A Fairly Quiet Saturday for Women's Sports -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

A Quiet Saturday

Not much going on for the sports we cover heavily here at Cardinal Couple.  There was, what I think can best be described as a kicking and punting exhibition in Charlotte on the guy's side, for the women, only Swimming and Diving as well as Track and Field were in action.

We have no updates from the water side, but a few notable results from the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center, where Louisville seems to be poised to do well in jumping events this year.

Synclair Savage picked up a silver in the long jump, while Sophia Day got her college career started with a win in the triple jump.  Autumn Bell and Riley Berger got 3rd and 4th.

Jenna Hensley won the high jump, with another freshman, Aubrey Lane getting her college career going with a 5th place finish.

Kiyah Yeast took 2nd in the women's 60m, with Sinclair Savage right behind in 3rd.  Olivia Jenkins took the 5th spot.

Volleyball Host Settled

After Friday's Volleyball win over Western Michigan, you might have noticed that none of the coverage said much about where the Sweet 16 match would be played.  That's because we didn't know for sure!  There were still 2nd round matches being contested yesterday, and among them was Pitt vs USC (Southern California).

Hosting for Regionals goes to the highest seeded team remaining in the region after the first two rounds are completed.  UofL is the two seed in the region, and Pitt is the one seed, meaning, if USC had upset Pitt - an unlikely, but not unthinkable, idea - the hosting would fall back to Louisville.

Alas, that didn't happen, USC did win the first set of the match, but Pitt hunkered down and got it done in four.  So Pitt will be hosting at the Fitzgerald Field House, and Louisville will have the first match of the day, against three seed Creighton, at noon on Thursday.

Women's Basketball Gameday

A bit of an early start for the Walz crew, with a noon tip vs North Carolina A&T.

Walz was spotted, along with Dani Busboom Kelly, in Charlotte yesterday for the punting and kicking exhibition, but apparently traveled there and back in a private craft, making the travel time reasonable for him to get a pretty good night's rest in his own bed last night.

NC A&T should prove a good competitor for UofL to continue to congeal this aggregate roster.  The progress so far has seemed to be pretty good, but some more mid-major level competition to tune and hone the rough spots will surely be welcome.

(The annual "baby race" is today at halftime !) 

We can't take the Aggies completely for granted, they sport a 3-3 record with the sort of results you would expect from this sort of mid-major.  They sport a beat-em-down win over Guilford College (114-41), and narrower wins over Wake Forest (56-51) and Liberty (56-47).  Loses are to Georgia by a respectable 59-71 margin, Saint Mary's College of California (65-73), and UT Arlington (76-87).

They have four players scoring in double digits per game.  Maleia Bracone leads the way at 12.3 with Jordyn Dorsey right behind at 12.2.  Chaniya Clark, and D'Mya Tucker come in at 11.8 and 11.5.  Don't expect Clark to be an outside threat, being 6'4" she'll likely spend most of her time posted up, but the rest can hoist them from range with some effectiveness.

ACC Network Extra has the coverage on this one, but of course Nick and Courtnee can be found on the radio (or a radio stream) if your preferences run that way.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

(all but Daryl were on the podcast)

A surprise foursome on the show yesterday as Jared was able to pop in and participate from...somewhere in the Carolinas.

Basketball and Volleyball, I'm sure you'll be surprised to hear, were the topics du jour.  Good discussion for both as we recap'ed past events and discussed what was ahead.  We did talk about what then were the different possibilities for volleyball hosting in the Regionals that hve since been settled, and more.

Check it out:


Saturday, December 2, 2023

Volleyball Advances to Sweet Sixteen -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Sweep WMU to Advance

Louisville hosted Western Michigan in the Yum! Center last night in the second round of the NCAA tournament. As Coach Dani Busboom Kelly noted in her postgame remarks, WMU was a good team that lost only two matches all season. Louisville certainly didn't have a walk in the park, despite the final score. While they finished with a sweep, they had to earn it, winning with scores of 26-24, 25-18, and 25-22. The Cards used a good hitting night to put WMU away, hitting .359 as a team with just 10 errors. Their lowest set percentage was still .300 and every hitter with an attempt hit at least .200.

The Cards jumped out to an early lead in the first, led by a 3-kill streak for Cara Cresse that was part of a 4-0 run to move Louisville ahead 7-3. The Cards had to weather a storm, as WMU brought it back to tie the set at 12 before carrying a two point lead 17-15. After Louisville held close, it looked as though they'd be in dire straights when WMU moved to Set Point 3 with a 24-21 lead. Louisville did no less than rattle off five straight points to win 26-24. 

The second set was closer for longer, but Louisville's brief runs were more frequent that WMU's. The Cards led 15-10 before a quick spurt of energy from the Broncos made it 15-14 again. The trades continued, but they were uneven, and Louisville ultimately took the set 25-18. The second was Louisville's best hitting set, as they were .387 in that one. Somewhat surprisingly, it wasn't WMU's worst set, as that came in the first with a .140 percentage. WMU hit .235 in the second, so Louisville was just more advantageous with their points and opportunities. 

Much like the second, the third set stayed close. Unlike the second, Louisville never had a big run to open the score up. As a result, WMU hung around, threatening to take a set off of the second-seeded hosts. After an error by Charitie Luper brought WMU to within one at 23-22, Luper followed it up with a kill to give the Cards a Match Point opportunity. Cara Cresse took advantage of said opportunity, and the Cards closed it out.

Luper was the leader for Louisville offensively in this one. She finished with 11 kills, which was behind only WMU's Anna Calcagno for the match lead. Calcagno had 13 kills. Luper was the only Card in double figures, but Cresse and Anna DeBeer finished with nine, while Reese Robins had eight, PK added seven, and Aiko Jones rounded out Louisville's kills with five. PK continued her strong tournament as she also had no errors. DeBeer nearly finished with a double-double, as she added nine digs to her kills.

At the net, Louisville was dominant. WMU finished with just three blocks. Louisville had ten. Louisville was even at the serving line, finishing with five aces and five service errors. They lost the category by the narrowest of margins, as WMU put up seven aces and just six errors. Elena Scott, Elle Glock, and Brigitta Petrenko were all busy. Petrenko had 12 assists and two digs, while Scott finished with seven assists to go along with her 22 digs. Glock finished with a double-double as both setters were targeted. Glock had 26 assists and 11 digs, trailing WMU's Logan Case in both categories. Case had 36 assists and 14 digs. That would be part of the reason that DBK said Case and the libero Andelyn Simkins (who also had 14 digs) could play anywhere.

There may have been a couple of spots for improvement, but Louisville will need performances more like last night's than the one on display against Wright State if they want to make a deep run in this year's tournament. As it is, they can only take one match at a time.

Louisville played the only Friday match in their region, so they await tonight's results to determine a location and opponent. The Cards will get either Minnesota or Creighton and they'll plan in either Pittsburgh or Louisville. The match to determine Louisville's opponent is at 7:30 and the one that determines the location (Pitt vs USC) is at 7:00 PM.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

We'll be without Jared this week as some big game is happening in Charlotte or something. We'll have plenty to cover with the knuckleheads on hand, though. We'll talk volleyball, basketball, and whatever else strikes Paulie's fancy. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
RadioPublic: Link
Spotify: Link

Until next time, Go Cards!


Friday, December 1, 2023

Volleyball roars back on the Raiders 3 -1 -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Hello again everyone and welcome to the month of December and the weekend! I hope everyone is staying warm.

There’s some post season action going on in town this weekend as Louisville plays host to another NCAA Tournament at the KFC Yum! Center. The VolleyCards begin another quest for a national championship. Actually, if you ask the squad I’m sure the quest began when they lost in the finals last season...

So lets hop right on into it!


UofL had the second time slot for volleyball action at the Yum! Center last night where they faced Wright State in the first round.   The first match began at 4 p.m. (and UofL's next opponent) featured Western Michigan and Auburn University where the Broncos dominated the #7 Tigers in a surprising 3-0 sweep.

But first, the hostess with the mostessssss, our Louisville Cardinals. 

Final       UofL 3 WRI 1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-20)   

The Cardinals opened the NCAA tournament with a win over a tough and familiar Wright State team. UofL faced the Raiders earlier in the season more than 3 months ago on August 27th where the Cards walked out of L&N Arena with another 3-1 victory.

This go around, it was in the Yum! Center with more than 5,000 in attendance.

Cara Cresse lead the attack for Louisville hitting at a .500% 👀 clip with 13 kills and 5 blocks. UofL got alot of support from the middle of the court with Phekran Kong also leading Louisville with 9 kills and 9 blocks. As a team, the Cards had a 15 - 6 block advantage over Wright St.

Wright State was able to hold the Cards to a .192 hitting % as a team. The Raiders were in the right spots at the right time A LOT of the time throughout the match, It was not an easy task to take down the Raiders as they came out ready to rumble. I thought the team looked a little winded to begin and struggled to 'find their sea legs' in the first set but they didn't really warm up it seemed until the end of the second set.

Our photographer Jared Anderson, at the event,  said he wasn't nervous.   I will say it did not look like the Louisville team we've watched all season.. making silly errors or swinging too strong and out of bounds.  But every point in this match felt hard earned.   

The Cardinals need to get in their nest early tonight and get ready for a Friday night match in the second round.  

Lets look at the next opponent.... 

About Western Mich

Head coach Colleen Munson has spent 19 years in Kalamazoo leading the Western Michigan program. This year, her Bronco squad is just one of two teams to boast 30 wins entering the NCAA Tournament. 

Senior setter Logan Case leads the charge for WMU. The MAC Player of the Year and Setter of the Year averages 11.87 assists per set, the second-highest mark in the country.

Case has a trio of experienced attackers to choose from offensively. Graduate outside hitter Maggie King paces the team in kills per set (3.69) and points per set (4.10). Keona Salesman and Anna Calcagno aren't too far behind. Salesman averages a robust 3.45 kills per set while Calcagno comes in at 3.00.

Western Michigan's defense is captained by Michigan native Andelyn Simkins. The senior libero took home MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors, averaging 4.89 digs per set.

Western Michigan (31-2) in the first round

Western Michigan 3,  #7 Auburn 0

The victory is Western Michigan's first NCAA Tournament win since 2008 and eighth in program history. That season, the Broncos won a pair of matches to reach the program's MAC-record fifth regional semifinal. Thursday's win also extended WMU's winning streak to 21, its longest streak since 1983.

Logan Case had 44 assists, the Broncos hit a blistering .367, with Calcagno and King pacing the attack with 14 kills apiece. Mary Clare Brusek added nine kills, with Salesman contributing eight to the cause.

WMU also used the service line as a weapon, tallying a season-best 11 service aces.  Simkins led the way with a career-high six aces, one shy of the single-match program record.

Simkins anchored Western Michigan's defense with a match-high 25 digs, while Reeghan Boyer pitched in nine digs and King added seven.

As Always,
Go Cards


Thursday, November 30, 2023



Louisville WBB used a second half surge to roll past Ole Miss and then hung on for dear life in the ACC vs. SEC contest Wednesdy Evening on the Ole Miss campus. Kiki Jefferson led the Cards in scoring for the second staight game with 16 points and Nina Rick"Cards" added 15. 

The late start (9:15 p.m.) was even further exacerbated by "the network" not showing the game until halfway through the first quarter, because of a earlier scheduled event. The Cards held a 12-6 lead when we finally got to see the action on ESPNU, but would shut down after that and end the first quarter trailing the Rebs 16-14. Thank goodness for the UofL radio feed...What I saw was a UofL team having a hard time getting out ofthe gate and not responding well to the UM pressure. 

"Back and forth" was pretty much the way the second quarter went. Both teams started very slowly in the second quarter, with no one scoring for the first three minutes. The half featured no thrilling offenses sequences and both teams struggled to get 14 points each on the board  This was a heavyweight fight with two sluggers exchangng thumps...Ole Miss held a tenacious 30-28 halftime lead...each team had 11 turnovers already. The Cards major bright spot was the play of Kiki Jefferson, who had 11 first half points. 

The Cards finally grabbed the lead early in the third qurter and were able to hold onto it the rest of the way. Ole Miss would cut deeply into it, but the Cards managed to find a way to extend it back out to semi-comfortable margins each time. Louisville held a 50-44 lead after three quarters and Jefferson was getting offensive support from Nina Rickards and Jadya Curry. 

The fourth quarter had Louisville leading the entire way, but the Cards got a major scare with two minutes to go. Up 62-54, the Rebs hit a couple of free throws to cut the UofL lead to six. A Cards turnover gave it back to Ole Miss and they scored with a minutes lefft to make it 62-58 Then, the Cards turned it over again, and Ole Miss had the opportunity to cut the Cards lead to 1 or 2, maybe even take the lead... but they missed two shots and two attempts from the free throw line. Finally, Rickards sank two clutch free throws for the Cards and neither team scored the rest of the way...Louisville winning 64-58. 


(We bring favorite Fred G. Sanford back for today's Fred.).
"Turn off the TV Lamont..these Cards are raising my blood pressure!".

FREE THROWS -- The normally good crew of Joe Vasiliy and Puhlani Spurlock must have decided to accept commision pay for this contest, 50 fouls were called. Coach "Yo" for Miss. got so incensed by one, she looked like she was doing a remake of THE EXORCIST movie and drew a technical. The shooting of the free ones was abysmal...The Cards were 25-36 for 69.4% and Ole Miss went 13-28. NO LETTER AWARDED HERE. 

REBOUNDS -- Louisville narrowly lost the boards battle 36-33. Louisville only managed to graab nine on the offensive end. You lose the rebounding GET NO LETTER.

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- 18 TURNOVERS a bit high for this Cardinals bunch and oly eight assists on 18 made baskets not  gret thing wither. Louisville did hit 3-6 from three-point range and took the second chance battle 12-4. It's a win, the Cards didn't look great in getting it, but this wasn't meant to be a beauty pagents, it was a back alley, bare knuckled fist fight. I'll give a sm

all "e"

DEFENSE -- 43% hooting by the foe isn't a great defensive performance, neither is the 28-22 advantage to Ole Miss in points-in-the-paint. Louisville did enough to win, and I would imagine there are a lot of teachable moments that'll come out of this game film. Ole Miss did go 1-11 from three=point range, I'll attribute that to stellar UofL defense and not poor Ole Miss shooting and shot selection. It's a "W", I'll hand out a small case "d".



yOU KNOW hpw Jared is around ANY torunament time and, lo and behold, he has done a selection bracket for the NCAA Volleyball Tpournament. Think ypu can beat him? Here are his picks below,,,

Sorry about the quality here, had to pull it off an antiquated (my) cell phone...


Wednesday, November 29, 2023


 WALZ PRESSER 11/28/23

I was a bit under the weather Tuesday (and not feeling much better today) and did not get a chance to attend the weekly Walz presser. It is below, though, for those who want to hear Coach's thoughts and reaction to a variety of questions. He is never boring, that's for sure, and loves it when the local TV station cameras are on him.

And, before you, this is NOT Sam Purcell's new team (that's Miss State) that UofL faces tonight in women's basketball.. Ole Miss is in Oxford (northern Mississippi) and not the one that is noted for the cowbell ringing. 

OK, now that we got that out of the way...onto the presser an the game preview. 



Louisville stays out of conference Wednesday night when they take on the Ole Miss Rebels. Ths one will be a 9:15 start (yeah, I know...too late. TV wins again) contest and it'll be shown either on ESPN or ESPNU. Maybe both? Both outlets have been listed in different articles I checked at and promos about the advice is tune in around 9:10 p.m. and figure it out

The Rebs are 6-1 on the season (like Louisville) and are coming off winning the Battle 4 Atlantis, in the Bahamas...knocking off Michigan in the title game. The Ole Miss WBB head coach is Yolette McPhee-McCuin. They play their conference hoops in the SEC and they love to call their head coach "Coach Yo". She and the Rebs knocked of #1 Stanford last year in the NCAA Tournament to reach the Sweet Sixteen... where UofL sent them home by 10 points. And, as you may recall, In 2022, they got bumped in the first round of the tournament by South Dakota.

Their only loss this year has been to Oklahoma...where Peyton Verhulst ended up...80-70. Verhulst only had six points against the Rebs. Wins for the Rebs have been over Michigan, Little Rock, Arizona, Howard, Temple and Queens (NC). 

So, this year's Ole Miss squad is led by Marquesha Davis (11.7 ppg) and Madison Scott (10.9 ppg)  Davis is a senior transfer guard from Arkansas and is in her second season with Mississippi. Scott is a former SEC Freshman of the year and a senior now. They also get offensive firepower from Snudda Collins and Kirsten Deans but Deans is out for the season, injuring a knee in the Battle 4 Atlantis. 

Miss. averages 69 poins a game and allows 54.6. They shoot 41% from the floor and have made 26 threes on the season, averaging 25% on those. 

It should be a challenging game for Louisville, as Walz continues to put together the puzzle that is the 2023-24 Louisville women's basketball squad. It was good to see Olivia Cochran bust loose against Gonzaga, and she'll be a key component in the Cards rest of the season, along with Nyla Harris...if the Cards are going to have any inside impct on the rest of the opponents they play this season. 

The good thing about the roster is there is a wealth of experience on it and we continue to see Elif Istanbuluoglu get more comfortable with the American game each time she hits the floor. The Cards will need her and others to make a successful ACC run and acquire a good bid for the NCAA Tournament. 

We see one or two of the players who transfered this season usually step up with big games. and, if I were to guess...Nina Rickards might have a big game tonight, she saw a lot of Mississippi when she was at Florida...and Syd Taylor can rack up a dozen or so pretty quickly if she's "on" from three-point range.  


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

ACC Volleyball Awards -- Looking Deeper at the Volleyball Bracket -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Several Cards with ACC Volleyball Awards

The final week of the ACC Volleyball weekly awards were released yesterday, which happened to be the same day the 2023 ACC Volleyball awards were announced.

ACC Weekly Honors

Anna DeBeer, Elena Scott, and Elle Glock were named to ACC Offensive Player of the Week, Defensive Player of the Week, and Setter of the Week, respectively. All three have earned several weekly honors this season so seeing them close out the season with more accolades comes as no surprise.

DeBeer closed out the season with another double-double. She recorded 18 kills and 15 digs and even added a trio of aces and a block in the mix. This is the third time this season DeBeer received the award.

Scott split the defensive accolade with Pitt's Emma Monks. The duo shared the award back in September too. Scott logged 15 digs against Georgia Tech while adding on a pair of aces and three assists. This is Scott's fourth time this season earning the award.

Glock averaged 10.25 assists in the four-set match against the Yellow Jackets, totaling 41 on the match. She snuck in a kill and added a couple of aces. 

ACC Season Awards

Anna DeBeer was named ACC Player of the Year and Elena Scott was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year to power six Cardinals being named to All-ACC teams.

DeBeer shares the POTY award with Florida State's Audrey Koenig. The senior outside hitter finished the season with 216 kills in ACC play (343 on the season), surpassing the 1,000 career kills mark this season.

In conference play, Scott had 288 digs (443 on the season) for a 4.43 digs per set mark. If Louisville wouldn't block opponents attacks so much then she would've had more... good problem to have, though. The junior libero reached the 1,000 career digs earlier this season.

Rachel Fairbanks of Pitt was named ACC Setter of the Year. Olivia Babcock of Pitt was named ACC Freshman of the Year. Chris Poole of FSU was named ACC Coach of the Year.

DeBeer and Scott were named to the All-ACC First Team, where they were joined fellow Cardinal Charitie Luper.

Glock was named to the All-ACC Second Team alonside Aiko Jones and Cara Cresse.

Looking Into the NCAA Volleyball Bracket

Now that we have the 2023 NCAA Volleyball bracket, we have time to look at match-ups, favorites, dark horses, and matches to look out for.

*All predictions below are the opinions of Jared and may not reflect the views of the rest of Cardinal Couple*

Favorite to win the championship: Nebraska. There's little room for debate as the Huskers went 28-1 this season. Their only loss came at the hands of Wisconsin on the road on the Badger's senior day. Wisconsin is another 1-seed so that's not a bad loss at all. They swept 16 of their opponents and went to five sets just three times. Nebraska doesn't lose at home and they'll play their first four matches at home.

Dark horses: 5-seed Dayton went 31-2 this season with their only losses come to Marquette and Louisville, both in five sets. They did sweep Western Kentucky. The Flyers won 3-0 23 times this season and lost just two sets in the A10 regular season.

6-seed Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are riding a 24 match win streak. They fell to Dayton, Penn State, Arkansas, and James Madison, all of whom are in the NCAA Tournament and are seeded. They cruised through Conference USA again without a blemish in the loss column.

4-seed Washington State: A 24-7 team making a deep run? Uh, yeah. The Pac-12 has some tough competition in Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State, and USC. The Cougars held their own in the conference. Don't forget that one of their losses came at the hands of Louisville at the beginning of the season. Washington State was ranked as high as #4 at one point before they lost five of seven in a three-week span. They've now won five straight and have wins over Texas, BYU, Oregon, Arizona State, and USC this year.

Potential Exciting Match-Ups: Louisville vs Pittsburgh, Elite Eight. The two ACC rivals weren't put in the same region by accident. The ACC's top two teams on a regular basis split the series in the regular season the last two years. The Cards defeated the Panthers in the Final Four last year to go to the championship.

Wisconsin vs Penn State, Sweet Sixteen. The Nittany Lions get overshadowed by Big Ten teams Wisconsin and Purdue. Penn State is historically good. They beat the Badgers in the lone match-up this season. Wisconsin is only a couple years removed from a championship and they're the only team to beat Nebraska this year.

Florida vs Georgia Tech, Second Round. Of all of the host schools in the opening weekend, Florida got one of the toughest draws against a Georgia Tech team that arguably deserved a 4-seed. The Yellow Jackets regularly get overshadowed by Louisville and Pittsburgh, plus Florida State this year. Florida has been inconsistent most of the season and haven't won more than three games in a row since early September.

BYU vs Arizona State, Second Round. BYU held their own well in the Big 12 with five of their six losses coming in conference play (two to Texas) and the sixth loss coming against Washington State. The Cougars swept six of their final seven opponents and lost the only match that wasn't a sweep. Arizona State was dominant out of conference, losing just three sets in 12 matches. They hold wins over Stanford, Oregon, and USC and were two points short of defeating Washington State in five. This is a battle of two underrated teams.

Jared's Upset Picks (by seeding):
2-seed Louisville over 1-seed Pittsburgh, Elite Eight
5-seed Georgia Tech over 4-seed Florida, Second Round
5-seed Penn State over 4-seed Kansas, Second Round
6-seed Western Kentucky over 3-seed Tennessee, Second Round
2-seed Oregon over 1-seed Wisconsin, Elite Eight
Unseeded Delaware over 8-seed Missouri, First Round
Unseeded UC Santa Barbara over 8-seed Houston, First Round
Unseeded Minnesota over 6-seed Utah State, First Round
Unseeded Miami over 8-seed UNI, First Round

Who knows what will actually happen in the tournament. If I have time, I'll fill out a full bracket for kicks and giggles and post that here on the site before the tournament starts on Thursday.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!

Monday, November 27, 2023

WBB Defeats Gonzaga -- VB in NCAA Tournament -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Beat Zags to Claim Betty Chancellor Classic Title

Sunday was a rather busy day for Louisville Athletics. We saw a rare case where both the women's and men's basketball teams win. It was also the NCAA Selection Show for volleyball.

Louisville women's basketball won their second game in as many days when they defeated Gonzaga 81-70. The 11-point margin of victory was just enough to take the title in the Betty Chancellor classic. The Cards fell to Alabama on the opening day of the round robin tournament before defeating Liberty on Saturday and Gonzaga on Sunday.

The Cards relied on strong second and fourth quarters to earn the win. They were clutch down the stretch, outscoring Gonzaga 20-6 over the final sixth minutes of the final quarter. Kiki Jefferson led the team with 21 points while Nina Rickards went 8-8 from the floor for 16 points.

UofL scored the first four points of the game in the span of 35 seconds. However, Gonzaga wouldn't buckle over the quick deficit and would battle back to even the score at 1... moments before the media timeout. Scoring slowed the back end of the quarter and the Zags would hold a two-point edge at 21-19.

The two foes would trade points to open the second quarter before Louisville's defense woke up. Sitting tied 27-27, the Cards would go on a 12-2 run to build a 10 ;point lead. Gonzaga would score to bring the lead within single-digits but the Cards always had an answer and would go into halftime with a 47-36 edge.

Halftime seemed to be a momentum killer for Louisville, who was outscored 20-12 in the third quarter. Louisville's lead diminished to four points shortly after the media timeout. The Cards pushed the lead back to eight before Gonzaga scored the final five points of the quarter. Still, Louisville led 59-56.

The Cards opened the final quarter on an 18-6 run before Gonzaga called a timeout in hopes of stopping the bleeding. The break seemed to work for the Zags as the went on an 8-0 spurt down the stretch to bring the score within nine. The rally seemed to come too late though and a pair of UofL free throws with 32 seconds left sealed the deal.

The officiating was a bit tighter than we've seen this year with the two teams combining for 43 fouls. The refs seemed to be called a lot on the Cards and ery little on Gonzaga. Jeff Walz was not a fan of it, and got "t'd" up in the first half after expressing displeasure UofL barely saw the charity stripe despite the fouls. The Cards attempted just seven free throws on the game. Jefferson took six of them. gonzaga was 19 for 23.

Jefferson spent most of the game on the floor with 36 minutes. She posted a line of 21 points, five assists, four rebounds, and three steals. Rickards' outing included 16 points, five assists, two rebounds, and two steals. Jayda Curry also scored in double figures with 13 points, highlighted by 3-6 shooting from three-point range. Elyia Love and Oliva Cochran spent much of the game in foul trouble with the former having four fouls and the latter fouling out.

F-R-E-D Report

(Today's "Fred". Braves superstar Fred McGriff)

Free Throws- Louisville shot 6-7 from the charity stripe. Despite the limited opportunities, the Cards capitalized on them and shot 86% from the line. Capital F.

Rebounds- Louisville was outrebounded 23-19. Each team had six offensive boards. No Cardinal player had more than four rebounds and Louisville's post players were almost completely ineffective in the category. No letter here.

Effort/Efficiency- There's no question that the effort was there considering the Cards played their third game in three days. Louisville found ways to halt Gonzaga every time they tried to make a run and rally. The Cards shot close to 59% from the floor and 37% from three. The had more assists (19) than turnovers (16). UofL capitalized on Gonzaga turnovers with 17 points. More impressively, they scored 18 fast break points. Plenty of reason for a Capital E.

Defense- Allowing 70 points is never a good thing. It's the third time this season UofL has done so. Gonzaga shot a little over 50% from the floor but the Cards did force 21 turnovers, which proved to be the difference in the game. The Zags were limited to three fast break points due to Louisville's transition defense. There's enough argument for a lowercase d here.

F-_-E-d is an okay result but there is plenty of room for improvement.

Louisville improves to 6-1 on the season. They remain away from home when they visit Ole Miss on Wednesday.

Volleyball Goes Dancing in the NCAA Tournament

(Cards gather to wait for their name to be called) 

The NCAA Selection Show was yesterday evening. We had no doubt Louisville would make the 64-team field but their overall seeding was a bit up in the air.

The good news is that Louisville will host the opening two rounds of the tournament at the KFC Yum! Center. The bad news is that the Cards were one spot away from hosting the second weekend in town too. UofL was given the 2-seed in their region.

Who is the top seed in the region with Louisville? Well, the Selection Committee seems to have a thing for drama as they paired Louisville and Pittsburgh together in the same region. The Panthers earned the final 1-seed by a slim margin according to the Selection Committee. I guess the Cards winning five of the eight total sets in the two matches between the rivals this year didn't mean much... or UofL sweeping ACC Champion Florida State while Pitt lost to them. Louisville's loss to NC State is most likely the difference maker. 

The NCAA lady who explained it on the broadcast seemed pretty tight-lipped about the reasoning and my guess is she'd already been asked a  few questoned about Pitt over Cards...and he two of them in the same bracket.  . 

Nebraska, Stanford, and Wisconsin earned the other 1-seeds. Louisville is joined by Kentucky, Texas, and Oregon in the 2-seed realm. The ACC also has 5-seed Georgia Tech, 6-seed Florida State, and unseeded Miami in the tournament. The top eight seeds in each region received a seed number.

WKU also got selected and they'll open against Coastal Carolina in Knoxville.

(Rowdy Raider is coming to town again!)

Louisville's sub group in the opening weekend features Wright State (21-10), whom the Cards will face Thursday at 7:00pm ET, as well as 7-seed Auburn (20-9) and Western Michigan (30-2). Louisville defeated Wright State in the third game of the season, 3-1 (20-25, 25-18, 25-20, 26-24).

Tickets for the weekend (Thursday-Friday) session can be purchased on UofL's website at

Go HERE for a printable bracket. 

Happy Monday and Go Cards!