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Saturday, August 18, 2018


More Fall Sports Teams Getting Underway

Thursday marked the true beginning of the fall season for Louisville athletics. As Jared wrote about yesterday, the women's soccer team opened the season with a bang. We'll talk a bit more about that later and plenty more about it on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour today, so I'll leave that be. If you haven't read Jared's recap, I recommend doing so. It was a really fun game Thursday night. Though football won't start for another couple of weeks, almost every other sport will be in action this weekend.

Field hockey will be the first to join women's soccer with action on the field. (I know men's soccer had an exhibition where they knocked off highly ranked Indiana, but that was an away exhibition which hardly counts.) The Cards will take on former members of the team in the annual Alumnae Game today at 1PM. Louisville's current players will be led by former All-American and newly named Preseason All-ACC defender, Taylor Stone. Like Stone, Ayeisha McFerran was also awarded as a Preseason All-ACC player, but her status for today's exhibition is unknown as she recovers and reacquaints herself with the team after missing extended time this summer for the Field Hockey World Cup. The Cards will pack up their gear after today's exhibition and head to Columbus, Ohio for a neutral site scrimmage against Michigan tomorrow afternoon.

Men's soccer will open their home book tonight as they take on Evansville in their second exhibition matchup this evening at 5PM. The Cards have the aforementioned victory over Indiana, a 1-0 thriller on the road, so far this preseason. Louisville was picked to finish third in the Atlantic, with no votes for first place in the division. Strangely enough, the Cards did receive one vote to win the overall conference, which would be quite a feat. Ken Lolla's teams should never be discounted and we'll look forward to finding out what he has brought back to Lynn Stadium this season.

Volleyball is the third and final sport in action today as they will host their annual Red and Black Scrimmage in Cardinal Arena tonight at 6PM. We've talked about volleyball at length so far in the leadup to the season and for good reason. In her second season, head coach Dani Busboom-Kelly has lost a bit of talent but returns the bulk of last season's ACC co-championship team. The Cards aren't expected to duplicate their success from last season, which was a dream run, but they should still be quite the formidable squad. The Cards made quite a bit of noise last year and most people will be looking to chalk it up as a fluke. It is on Coach DBK's team to show that their legit. We'll see what the team is working with tonight when they take on themselves.

Mollie Rouse Update

Louisville women's soccer handled Wright State on Thursday. An 8-1 final is nothing to scoff at. However, there is still one unknown about the team as they head into their second match tomorrow against Xavier: What the heck do you do with Mollie Rouse? Rouse is currently with the English U20 Women's National Team in the U20 Women's World Cup in France (just in case you've been living under a rock as far as Cardinal Couple News goes). Yesterday, England defeated the Netherlands 2-1 in the quarterfinals to advance. Mollie did not participate, as she was suspended for one game due to yellow card accumulation. She will likely return to the starting lineup on Monday when the Young Lionesses take on Japan, as she started all three group games and was missed in the midfield yesterday.

With England advancing to the semifinals, they are now guaranteed to play a game next Friday, the 24th, whether it is the final or the third place match. For Louisville, that means Rouse will not return to the team until after that time. She will surely miss the 8/26 match against Michigan, and her status for the 8/31 match against Kentucky is uncertain. Looking at the match against Wright State, it doesn't appear that Rouse will be sorely missed. However, the tape would show differently. One of the areas in which Louisville struggled the most was in the defensive midfield. That just so happens to be where they have an international caliber player waiting to return to the squad. 

"So it's simple," you say, "plug her back into the lineup when she returns." There are some issues that go along with that as well, though. By the time Rouse returns to match fitness for UofL, the Cards will have played at least four, and as many as five, regular season matches on top of the two exhibitions. Rouse has also missed all of preseason training. She is an even better player than she was last year and could contribute greatly, but there is still a lot of team onboarding to be done. 

Additionally, Coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes has to wonder if discipline might be an issue. Rouse was one of only two players to receive a pair of yellow cards in the three games of the group stage of the World Cup, but she still has two more games to play in the tournament. Louisville's lone goal against Wright State came on a completely unnecessary foul in the attacking third. The Cards were able to recover from the 1-0 deficit, but they can ill-afford to give up free kicks like that as the season goes on.

I've been impressed with Rouse's performances for England so far in this World Cup tournament, but only time will tell how she contributes to this iteration of the UofL women's soccer team. I'm sure Coach KFD has something in mind for the sophomore from Warwichshire, England, but I'm also sure that none of us will know what that something is for a couple of more weeks.

The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

The full "A-team" is back in the studio today and there is actually stuff to talk about. With women's soccer getting a head start on the rest of the fall sports, you'll be able to hear me talk in length about my favorite sport, but we'll also have plenty to say about these upcoming exhibition matches for the other fall sports.

Join us this morning at 11 a.m. for the broadcast at WCHQ 100.9 FM.

We'll do our best to keep everything on track, and we look forward to bringing you an hour's worth of the Joy and Excitement of UofL Women's Athletics. Join us on WCHQ FM via FM radio on 100.9, the internet at, your smartphone on the WCHQ App, or via Facebook Live!

Until next time, Go Cards!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Women's Soccer Wins Season Opener -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Women's Soccer Wallops Wright State

Christmas came early in the Ville this year.  Santa brought goals upon goals for the UofL women's soccer team.  Louisville defeated Wright State 8-1 in the season opener in front of nearly 1000 spectators.  The victory was a tad lopsided for the team sporting their red 2018 jerseys.

It was actually Wright State would put up the first goal of 2018, when Erin Gaefen brilliantly placed a free kick into the top of the net in the 10th minute of regulation.  Her shot soared over the heads of the wall of defenders and passed the outstretched arms of a diving Gabby Kouzelos.  The sun definitely played a factor in the goal as well.

Louisville answered in the 20th minute as Louisville native Emina Ekic dropped a shot in over the head of Wright State's goalkeeper off of a corner by Nadege L'Esperance.  Ekic led the Cards in goals scored with seven last year.  She is already a quarter of the way there after putting up two on the evening.

Freshman Maisie Whitsett scored her first goal in a Louisville uniform six minutes later after sneaking in on the weak side following a cross from Kennadi Carbin.  The defense was frozen in their shoes as Whitsett's shot whizzed by the goalkeeper.

Less than four minutes later, freshman Delaney Snyder found her shot sailing into the back of the net.  She took a cross from Whitsett into the box and powered her way into the mix of defenders to send the Cards into the locker room with the lead. 3-1 UofL at the half.

Coming out of halftime the bloodbath worsened.  Carbin's header off a set by Allison Whitfield gave the Cards a sizable advantage.  The senior forward, who recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, seemed to be back in midseason form already.  Unfortunately, baby Kali was not in attendance to witness the goal.

47 seconds following Carbin's goal, L'Esperance joined in on the fun.  The Canadian native, whose parents and grandparents came to town for the weekend, received a pass from Brooklynn Rivers and took a shot from 25 yards out.  Her goal (5-1 at this point for those keeping track) set a new Lynn Stadium scoring record for UofL women's soccer with the previous record being four.

Lynn Stadium's PA announcer Delbert Ault couldn't even finish the announcement to the fans before Ekic knocked in her second goal of the night.  Ekic dribbled past a couple defenders, found an open shot with her strong foot, and made the defense regret giving her space with a goal near where L'Esperance had previously made one.

Just a hair over five minutes later came Whitsett's second goal of the night.  Whitfield (not to be confused with Whitsett) set up her freshman teammate off the cross to add to the unstoppable offense.

Taylor Kerwin ended the scoring on the night in the 69th minute off an assist by Snyder.  Kerwin took the pass on the left side of the field and found an open net to cap off the record eight goals by the Cards.

Defensively, the Cards kept the Raiders from doing much of anything.  UofL maintained possession well and kept the ball and their side of the field.  The only shot on goal Kouzelos faced in her 69 minutes was the free kick early in the game. Reserve keeper Lana Batson closed out the final 21 minutes and recorded one save.  Centerbacks Gabi Vincent and Sarah Hernandez were a force to be reckoned with as they disrupted the Raiders' offense all night.

24 different players stepped foot on the pitch for the Cards.  The blowout gave Coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes a chance to see her new faces in action and give her veterans and starters a chance to rest before Sunday's match. The Cards bring in Xavier for a Sunday 7:30 p.m. match next.

Both Ekic and Coach Ferguson-Dayes offered their insights following the match.  Ekic was grateful to be back on the pitch playing following a season-ending ACL tear last year and enjoyed being able to celebrate the victory.

"We pride ourselves on defending always," said Ferguson-Dayes, "but tonight what I thought was pretty special was our attacking, so I thought we moved the ball really well."

She was extremely happy to see both sides of the ball performing to the best of their abilities.

"Enjoy it, but tomorrow at 9:30 when we meet again it's back to business," said Ferguson-Dayes regarding her message to the team following the match.

The Cards start the season in the win column (1-0) as many of us guessed.  They have the chance to push that to 2-0 when they host the Muskies on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.  After that, they visit Dayton later in the week to cap the matches against Ohio schools.  With Paulie, Case, and myself in attendance last night we can only hope to talk Worldwide into joining us Sunday.

They talk it up a bit

The post-game interview with Karen Ferguson Dayes can be heard at the link below:


We also had Emina Ekic, a sophomore mid-fielder from Louisville, KY who scored twice, join us:


UPS was nice enough to send a cargo jet over during the Ekic interview and L&N provided  background theme audio by rumbling several trains down the Floyd Street tracks to show their support of Cardinal women's athletics, including one during the Ekic interview. We did not get a siren during either interview...the third factor we normally mandate and request when we do these.

Those two corporations must really like Emina...or Louisville women's soccer...right?

Other News and Notes

Congratulations to Scott Teeter and his wife, Jen, of Louisville lacrosse on the birth of their baby boy Lunas Scott Teeter!  Born 8 lbs, 9.2 oz, and 19 inches, we're sure to see little Lunas at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium in the spring.

We send our condolences, thoughts, and prayers to the Louisville community which lost a student yesterday, just four days before the first day of classes.

I spoke with a few members of the softball team last night who were at the game.  Things have been going great with the transition of a new coach.  Their will be an actual fall schedule this year with opponents, dates, and times to be announced later on. Also seen in attendance at Lynn were speedy Jazmine Jones from UofL WBB and post Bionca Dunham. It's always good to see other student-athletes out supporting sports they aren't directly involved in. Could you imagine Dunham guarding the net with her height or Jones sprinting down the Lynn turf leading a breakout?

What Day Is It?

With some fancy hair by a couple of our veteran members here at Cardinal Couple, I must mention that it is National Men's Grooming Day.  Remember having to use a specific pencil when taking certain tests such as the ACT or SAT?  Well, the #2 pencil has its own holiday as well.  It may not be a Friday the 13th, but today we also appreciate black cats, which are sadly considered to be a sign of bad luck.

Happy Friday! You made it through another week Congratulations!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

WSOC opens regular season vs. Wright St. tonight -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


It's here! The official start of the Louisville 2018-19 fall and women's sports schedule.

Louisville women's soccer gets things underway this evening with a 7:30 p.m. match against the Wright State Raiders in Lynn Stadium. It's good to be writing about events again and getting official stats and (hopefully) interviews for you to read and reflect on here at Cardinal Couple. 

The Kickin' Cards bring in Wright State, a foe that is (surprisingly) 12-3-1 all-time against the Cards. Louisville did take the 2015 match up between the two the last time they met Lynn Stadium. 


Wright State, located in Dayton, OH, went 12-8 in 2017 and 6-3 in Horizon League play. They finished fourth in the conference last year and are picked to finish third in a Horizon League preseason poll. 

Two of their three leading scorers return. Mattie Cutts, a senior out of Colorado Springs, CO. (Jeff Walz's favorite destination) and Jordyne Helinski, a junior from Bellville, OH. (which is just off I-71 and located in north-central OH) will headline the attack for Coach Pat Ferguson. He's been the Raiders head coach since 2005 and complied a 204-156-41 record at Wright State. Also keep an eye on senior forward Aaliyah Patten. 

The Raiders went 1-1 in preseason exhibition matches. A trip to Indy to face Butler ended up revealing that "the Butler did it" in a 4-0 shutout win. WSU hosted Bowling Green at home in their final exhibition and bested the Falcons 3-2. 

The Wright State match is the first of two for Louisville Women's Soccer that'll take place in Lynn over the next four days. The Cards welcome in Xavier on Sunday. 


Louisville returns nine starters from the 2017 squad which complied a 9-7-2 record. The Cards were prognosticated to finish ninth of out 14 ACC teams in preseason predictions. The top three scorers for Louisville return in Emina Ekic, Brooklyn Rivers and Allison Whitfield. 

The Cards strong middle defense with Gabby Kouzelos and Gabrielle Vincent (Gabby squared" ) also returns for the Cards. Niamh Nelson, Kennadi Carbin, Sarah Feola and Nadege L'Esperance should also provide a strong scoring ability for UofL. Mollie Rouse, a sophomore midfielder for Louisville, is currently in France playing for England's U 20 World Cup squad and will miss a few early games. When she returns depends on how well the English do...they face The Netherlands Friday night in quarterfinal action. 

Karen Ferguson Dayes has 18 seasons in the books for Louisville and has a career record of 157-149-35. 

Louisville has two exhibitions in the we know the results of...a 4-0 win over Morehead State University back on Saturday night and a scrimmage against an "unknown opponent at an undisclosed location with a unrevealed result." 


-- You might pack rain gear (in clear plastic containers) when you head out for tonight's contest. It's been raining since Wednesday night in Louisville and there is a 70% chance of rain for Thursday. 

-- Tickets for tonight start at $5 for general admission and can be purchased at the door about an hour before the contest, via TicketMaster or over the phone at (502)GO-CARDS. Season Tickets are available as well at the phone option listed above.

-- You might want to leave early or be prepared for delays. It is the first night of the Kentucky State Fair and traffic could be snarly around the Crittenden Drive, Eastern Parkway and I-65 areas near the stadium. 

-- Tonight's contest will be shown on the ACC Network Extra. No word on who has the call yet. I'm 99% sure it won't be me or Cardinal Couple soccer aficionado Case Hoskins.

-- We do know Cardinal Couple official photographer Jared Anderson will be there "snapping" things, in addition to banging drums, shouting and other non-sense... so shout out "Hi, Jared" when you see him down on the turf. Refrain from tossing him small treats...once you feed him, you'll have a hard time getting him to leave. As for Worldwide Jeff, I'm forecasting a 40% chance of him showing up. Thursdays usually have him playing trivia or haunting Bardstown Road if he isn't swimming in the digital ocean. 

Go Cards tonight and hopefully we'll see you at Lynn for a Cardinal win! 


Sydney Zambrotta, who played for the Cards WBB squad for two seasons, has transferred to George most of you are aware of. She's with the GW team in Spain this late summer...transfers are able to play in events like this even though they have to sit out a season in NCAA competition...and she led George Washington in scoring with 19 points in a 63-58 win over Spanish team CD Cref in Madrid. She had 13 of the 19 in the second half.

No box-score that I could find on this one...but Syd was 3 for 5 from three-point range. 


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Analyzing Fall Sports -- Louisville Volleyball -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Dani Busboom Kelly Begins Second Season as Louisville's Head Coach

To continue on with the "Analyzing Fall Sports" theme Paulie has kicked off this week we will continue onto Louisville Volleyball.  Worldwide has been following the program for much longer than I and is a volleyball guru so I am asking for his input on it either by edit or in the comments section.

First things first, the Cards are the reigning ACC Champs.  Their conference record was matched by Pittsburgh last season, but Louisville held the head-to-head tiebreaker.  They are the preseason Number Two pick for the 2018 season in the ACC this year, right behind Pitt.

There are several big name returners to the squad.  Molly Sauer has made herself a household name.  The libero from Assumption High School here in Louisville has been the Cards' best defender in all her years so far.  She is accompanied by two other seniors, McCracken County product Jasmine Bennett and Puerto Rico native Wilma Rivera.  Bennett has progressed into a powerful hitter and middle blocker.  Rivera transferred in as a junior and was the top setter all year.

Other key returners include Amanda Green, Alexis Hamilton, and Melanie McHenry.  Green transferred in as a red-shirt sophomore and is in her second season wearing the red and black uniform.  She was on the Collegiate National Team that took the European tour.  Hamilton is a rising sophomore that also hails from Assumption High School (this school has a good history of sending volleyball studs our way) and will play a big role on the back line.  McHenry is a well-rounded player entering her junior season.  You can put McHenry anywhere on the court and she can answer the call.

Coach Kelly's roster is stacked and is the size of a small army, totaling 19 active players.  Nine of those players are new to the team from last year.  Six of the new faces are freshmen.  Two of them transfer in as sophomores, with one returning to her hometown where she graduated from Mercy.  The final new face actually returns back to Louisville.  Brianna Lester was a red-shirt her freshman year in 2016, transferred to Pepperdine to play basketball, and comes home to UofL to get back into volleyball.

Schedule Breakdown

Volleyball plays many more games than soccer or field hockey, which means you have more chances to see them play.

The Cards kick off the regular season as host to the Cardinal Classic on August 24 and 25.  Their opponents include Tennessee-Martin, Southern Illinois, and IUPUI.  They should start the year 3-0.

Labor Day Weekend will be a trip to Florida.  No, the "Volley Cards" are not going to Orlando to watch the Louisville vs Alabama football game, but they will make a stop in the Theme Park Capital of the World.  Coincidentally, I'll be half an hour down the road at Walt Disney World.  Sadly, I won't be making the trip to see the Cards play.  They'll then hit the road to Gainesville to face Florida and Southern California.  Playing two of the best teams in the country away from home will be a challenge that Louisville might not be ready to face this early in the season.  I expect the weekend to be 1-2, sending the record to 4-2.

September 7-8 will be a short trip to West Lafayette to compete in the Purdue Tournament.  Besides facing the host Purdue, Louisville will also test their skills against Lipscomb and Xavier.  The Boilermakers are not a team to overlook, especially at home.  The Cards come out of the weekend winning two of three, improving their record to 6-3.

Before diving into conference play Louisville returns home to host Kentucky (Sept 14) and Chattanooga (Sept 15).  The Cards are looking for revenge following a 3-0 in Lexington last year.  They'll add two more to the wins column, moving up to 8-3.

A trip to Raleigh on September 21 to face NC State and Ms Wuf will be the Cards' first ACC test.  UofL swept the Wolfpack last year and will win again, improving to 9-3.

They'll make the hop, jump, and skip over to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina on Setpember 23. These two teams battled it out to the death at Cardinal Arena in the home finale after falling at UNC 3-2 early in conference play.  UofL had to fight to come back in the fifth set to claim the win and secure their perfect home record in ACC play.  Louisville will win this one a little easier this year, hitting the 10-win mark, going 10-3.

Headed south on their road trip, the Cards will take on Georgia Tech on September 28 and Clemson on September 30.  Louisville swept both teams last year and will take the win in both again.  After improving to 12-3 the Cards will finally break the Top 25.

Following the road stint we will get to see the Cards at home in conference play for four straight games.  Duke will visit on October 5 and Wake Forest will follow on October 7.  UofL swept Wake Forest last year and used a second half comeback after trailing 2-0 to defeat the Blue Devils in a five-set nail biter.  Home court advantage will help the Cards add a pair of wins and move up to 14-3.

Instead of a weekend of games the schedule will alter slightly the next week.  Notre Dame will come in on Wednesday, October 10 and Virginia Tech will say hello to Cardinal Arena on Friday, October 12.  Louisville defeated the Hokies 6-1 in two matches last year and defeated Notre Dame twice 3-2.  UofL will enjoy playing at home to win two more, and improve to 16-3.

The Volley Cards hit the road again to head north.  On October 19, they will take on Virginia and then visit the highly-anticipated game against Pittsburgh on October 21.  The Cards routed the Cavaliers twice last year and should be well-rested after a week-long break to take that win.  Pitt will have their revenge from last season as the Cards drop their first conference game.  UofL will come out of the weekend 17-4.

A four-game homestand will be nice around the time midterms hit.  Boston College comes to town October 26 and Syracuse will follow right behind on October 28.  UofL beat both of them last year and will do so again this year.  Their record goes up to 19-4.

The next two home games include Miami on November 2 and Florida State on November 4.  The Cards and Hurricanes each defended their home turf last year while the Cards stole both games from the Seminoles last year.  Late-season weariness will be enough to send both matches to five sets.  Either Miami or Florida State will walk away with a win, stunning the Cards at home.  Their record moves to 20-5.

November 9 will be a trip to Boston College with November 11 being a trip down the coast to Wake Forest.  Louisville will beat both teams again for the second time that season to go to 22-5.

Louisville's final road game will be November 16 at Notre Dame.  Despite a couple rough years lately the Irish have historically been good and will prove themselves to defeat UofL.  The loss will be the sixth on Louisville's record of 22-6.

2018's finale will be at home when the Cards host Georgia Tech on Black Friday, November 23.  The long break and final game of the season will result in victory for the Cards, who will win the ACC for a second straight year.  Their final record: 23-6, 15-3.

This record is pretty par to last season, as Coach Kelly continues to work her gameplay style and recruits into her system.  The 23-6 record and Top 25 ranking would be enough for an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, but winning the ACC will ultimately be how the Cards get in.

No first round exit this year for Louisville, who will make their fifth ever Sweet 16 appearance.  The 2018 season will also lead to Louisville's 27th NCAA appearance and 26th conference championship, including their third in the ACC.

Louisville has a skilled team and will continue their recent dominance in conference play.  They'e exciting to watch and undefeated with Case in attendance.  Look for the Cardinal Couple contingent covering the chaos and competition on the court.

Your thoughts on the team? Talk about it in the comments section!

What Day Is It?

Grab a lemon meringue pie and relax to celebrate two holidays at once.  A major Catholic holiday today is Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Day.  There are two big names celebrating birthdays today.  Internationally, Napoleon Bonaparte was born on this day in 1821.  More recently, Louisville-native and Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence celebrates her 28th birthday today.

Here in Louisville, it is the first official day of going back to school for the Jefferson County kids. Be watchful on the roads today for children and buses and those friendly school crossing guards that always seem to jump out in front of you when there are absolutely no kids waiting to cross the street...

Other Notes

On a personal note I officially released my photography website yesterday  A few people knew about it in advance and I thank the rest of the Cardinal Couple crew for their input and advice in helping my construct the site.  For you technology geeks (we're looking at you, Worldwide) I used Wix as my website building platform.  Everything from format to layout to making sure everything linked properly was all done by hand, or mouse.  I will continue using Flickr as my photo storage site but JDA Photography will be the official site to go to for pictures, including pictures from all women's sports at UofL.  You can see UofL WBB from Senior Day, the Sweet 16, and the Elite 8 on there.




Happy Wednesday and Go Cards!

- Jared -

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Analyzing Fall Sports -- Louisville Field Hockey -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


One majorly important thing you need to know about Louisville Field Hockey, if nothing else, is that the "Stick Girls" return keeper Ayesha McFerran...the best goalie in the USA. Bold words? Not really. She was named the MVP keeper in the recent World Cup, where she and Ireland finished a very unpredictable second to perennial power The Netherlands. She is the only three-time All American goalkeeper in Cardinal history. 

Of course, any good defense is not about just one player and the Cards return backs Carter Ayars, Maria Gomez, Ann Marie Habelow, Isabella Leeker and, if needed back there...Taylor Stone, who head Field Hockey coach Justine Sowry would like to use a bit more at mid-field this year, if possible. Megan Schneider can also go defensive back or mid-field, which gives Sowry a ton of options back at the last line of defense. Talented goalie Hollyn Barr, a junior, also returns, in case McFerran needs a bit of time to adjust to the return from Ireland and promising freshman Sam Minrath (Louisville Christian Academy) has the unique opportunity to learn the keeper spot from two of the best in a probable red-shirt situation. 

The "middies" as their sometimes called, are deep and talented. Katie Walsh (Louisville Ballard H.S.)  is the standout there, and she was a member of the 2018 USA National Team. Mercedes Pastor comes back after a season where she was injured and red-shirted. She gets high marks from all who have seen her play. Bethany Russ saw valuable time in the mid-field role last year as well, as did Alli Biting. A group of talented freshmen will vie for remaining spots...Biz Allgeier, Mackenzie Karl, Taylor Orsi, Carmen Pichea, Caitlin Cunningham and Erica Cooper are also options in the midfield for UofL. 

Whena Munn is a returning forward for the Cards and she'll run at the attack spot with Madison Walsh (no relation to Katie), Kathryn Schneider (Megan's younger sister) has shown great promise in the spring also. You can probably expect Sowry to insert a few midfielders, as needed, into the "attack" or forward spots. 

The roster breakdown is four seniors, three juniors, eight sophomores and eight freshmen. Five of the student-athletes are from Kentucky and they're all from Louisville. Three from Assumption H.S and one each from Ballrd and Christian Academy. There are also five student-athletes from Pennsylvania, two each from Virginia, California and Missouri on the roster. One each from Delaware and Massachusetts. Internationally, UofL has a player each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and Spain. 

We'll miss watching Minnie and
Jared's predictions about her...
Significant losses of players who has eligibility left would be Minout "Minnie" Mink (The Netherlands) and  Marisa Martin-Pelagrina (Germany) who returned to their home countries to pursue academic opportunities there. The Cards lost starters Marigrace Ragsdale, Nicole Woods and Abby Grimes to graduation. 

The Cards were 14-8 last year and fared 4-2 in ACC play, tied for second. They advanced to the ACC Tournament finals, narrowly losing to North Carolina 1-0 and were knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by Northwestern 3-2 in overtime. 

Preseason rankings in women's Field Hockey are as hard to come by. I had no success in locating them, so I'll base my predictions on last year's stats and Cardinal success against the foes.

This year's schedule has 18 games, plus the annual Alumni game and a scrimmage against Michigan. The Alumnae game kicks things off on Saturday, Aug 18th. and the Field Hockey team travels the next day to face #3 Michigan in a exhibition scrimmage. The regular season features two Big 10 opponents to kick things off.

August 24th sees Louisville with a Friday trip to Bloomington and Indiana. Louisville handled the Hoosiers 4-1 last year and I see the Cards winning again against them in 2018. 

Ohio State comes to Louisville on Sunday, August 26th. The Cards fell in Columbus last year 1-2 but I see Louisville turning the tables on the Buckeyes this year with a win at Trager Stadium. 

Louisville plays nine matches in September and will start things off against U-Mass Lowell in Richmond, VA. Cards should have no trouble here to improve to 3-0

UofL travels to Delaware on Sept 3rd and despite the Cards win last year against them in Trager, the Blue Hens finished 7th in the nations with a 15-4 record. I hate to do it, but I give the Cards a close loss against them. 

It doesn't get any easier on the 7th. with North Carolina coming to town. The Tar Heels finished 4th. in the nation in 2017 and the Cards split with them in matches. I'll go out on a limb here and say Louisville gets revenge for the ACC Finals loss with a win.

California is next on the 9th at Trager and Louisville should prevail over the Bears in this one. 

The home-stand continues when ACC foe Boston College visits for a Friday night contest.  Louisville won easily up in Chestnut Hill in 2017 and I'll take the Cards to do the same in 2018. 

A huge match on Sunday, Sept 16th. when Northwestern comes to town. They sent Louisville home from the NCAA in 2017 and downed the Cards earlier in the season as well. The motivation shouldn't be any problem for Sowry's squad in this one and I'll go with Louisville and a close win. 

Louisville ends September with three road contests. First stop is at Wake Forest for a September 21st, Friday night match. The Cards bested the Demon Deacons in Trager last year with a 3-2, shootout victory. Expect another tight one in Winston-Salem but I'll go with Louisville winning. 

Sunday the 23rd. finds UofL in scenic Boone, NC against Appalachian State. They did not meet last year and the Mountaineers were 8-11 in 2017, so I'm giving the Cards their second road victory in three days. 

The road trip and the September schedule ends in Charlottesville, Va with a Saturday test against Virginia. The Wahoos finished 2017 as the #5 team in tha nation and knocked off the Cards in Trager 2-1. Unfortunately, they'll probably give Louisville their second loss of the season in another close one. 

October brings one more road game to start the month in Muncie, IN with a rare Wednesday game versus Ball State on the 3rd. The two did not meet in 2017 and with a 5-12 2017 record and a new head coach for 2018, these Cardinals are in a rebuilding phase. Louisville takes the contest. 

Michigan State visits Trager on Sunday Oct. 7th. They didn't face each other in 2017 and MSU struggled through a 8-11 season. The Cards continue their mastery over Big 10 opponents by sending Spartie back to East Lansing with an "L". 

Pam Bustin was the Louisville Field Hockey head
coach before Justine Sowry. 
Another huge match in Trager on Sunday, Oct 12th. when Pam Bustin brings her Duke Blue Devils to town.  Duke embarrassed the Cards 5-0 in Durham during the 2017 regular season but Louisville got revenge in the ACC Tournament semi-finals with a 3-2 shootout win. Duke finished 2017 as the #2 team in the nation with a 16-3 record and this one was a toss up game for me. Literally. Louisville was 'heads" and Duke was "tails". The coin landed on "heads" give the Cards the win. Good coin, good coin! 

The October home-stand ends when Miami (OH) comes to town on Sunday, Oct 14th. They did not meet in 2017 and the Red Hawks had a 12-9 season. The Cards keep the winning streak alive with a win. 

To the road to end October and UofL's first stop is Syracuse for a Friday, October 19 match. The Cards took a two-overtime, 2-1 win over the Orange last year in Trager. Another tough one to predict, but, I'll give the Cards another nail-biting win. 

Sunday October 21st finds Louisville in Albany playing the Great Danes and the Cards didn't play in 2017 and the New York State foe finished 12-7 on the year. Louisville avoids the bark and bite and gets off of the Alumni Turf pitch with a win. Fun fact: Albany's head coach is Phil Sykes. We're not related, that I know Sykes' are mostly North Carolina rooted...but I'll be pulling for him and the Great Danes to have a great year. 

Another Sunday match ends the regular season. This one is in Kent, OH against Kent State on Oct 28th. The Golden Flashes were 9-10 last year but 6-1 in the MAC. They also played their first 11 games on the road in 2017, including a 5-1 loss to Louisville at Trager. The Cards end the regular season with a win and sweep October with a 7-0 record. I hope. 

So, let's recap. Maybe I'm a bit ambitious here, but I've got Louisville Field Hockey at 16-2 and 5-1 in the ACC. That ought to be good enough for at least a top five ranking when the Cards travel to Chapel Hill, NC for the ACC Tournament that starts Nov 1st. 

Remember, when you've got McFerran, you've got a lot. If the opponents can't score, their likelihood of winning drops dramatically. Not many will score on Ayeisha this year.

You know the routine. Sound off in the comments section with your thoughts. 


Monday, August 13, 2018

Analyzing Fall Sports -- Louisville women's soccer -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Over the next several days this week, we'll be looking at some of the Louisville women's fall sports and trying to provide a pre-season analysis of how they might do and who will be doing it in their contests.

We'll start with Louisville women's soccer, who actually have started their season with a 4-0 exhibition win over Morehead State Saturday night in Louisville at Lynn Stadium. 

Cardinal Couple's Case Hoskins will provide a lot of the breakdown and analysis of the WSOC games this year -- he'll be our "lead" when it comes to the sport --  and his thoughts may differ from mine (Paulie) or the other staffers...but I'll also be at all the home contests I can make and will offer today my "take" on the season and squad. Plus, I hope to have plenty of post-game interviews with Coach Ferguson-Dayes and players through-out the 2018 season.

30 student-athletes are listed on the 2018 Louisville WSOC roster and 13 are freshmen. When 43% of the roster are freshmen, it can be a bit of an uncertain...but exciting and maybe a little nervous time for a coach. Ask Karen Ferguson Dayes. Out of the freshmen, it's our best guess that we'll see significant playing time from defender Sarah Hernandez, forward Delaney Snyder, midfielder Anna Henderson, defender Morgan Jackson and forward Amari Hopkins. 

Out of the returning 17 Cardinals, Emina Ekic returns from a season-ending knee injury last year and should be very influential in the offense. Midfielder Mollie Rouse is still in England playing for the English U 20 World Cup squad and, depending on how they do (they've already qualified for the quarterfinals), she may not be back until the Michigan or Kentucky game in late August. "Gabby squared" -- Gabby Kouzelos at keeper and Gabrielle Vincent at middle defender, give the Cards a strong middle in the defensive set. Those two were a strong presence in last year's defense, which produced eight shutouts.  Lana Batson provides strong backup as a reserve keeper.

Niamh Nelson, Nadege L'Esperance, Taylor Kerwin, Brooklyn Rivers, Allison Whitfield and Kennadi Carbin all provide excellent scoring potential for the Louisville offense...the state of Kentucky trio of Ekic, Rivers and Whitfield were the leading scores last year for the squad. Nine starters from last year return. 

A roster breakdown by state (and country) shows six players from Kentucky (five from Louisville), six from California (four from San Diego) and five from Ohio. Two players from Colorado and one each from New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Washington. Two Cardinals are from Canada and one is from England. By class the roster has 13 freshmen, seven sophomores, eight juniors and two seniors. 

The schedule features 17 games before the ACC Tournament. Nine will be played at Louisville's Lynn Stadium. There are ten conference matchups, Louisville playing each of the 10 schools once. There are actually 14 teams that play women's soccer in the ACC, the Cards will not face Boston College, Clemson or Florida State in regular season play. That might work out well for Louisville...FSU is ranked #10 in preseason polls and Clemson is in the "also receiving votes" column. 

In 2017, the Cards went 9-7-2 overall and 3-5-2 in conference. 

The Cards open the regular season with two home games... Wright State, from the Horizon League (12-8, 6-3 in 2017)  followed by A-10 school...Xavier (8-8-4, 4-3-2). I will predict the Cards put both in the win column.

Trips to another A-10 school in Dayton (9-9-2, 4-4-2) and the Big 10's Michigan (6-6-6, 3-5-3) follow. I'll predict a win over Dayton and let's go with a tie against the Wolverines

The Kentucky Wildcats (8-12, 3-7) visit Lynn Stadium on Aug. 31st. Louisville defeated the SEC school at Lexington last year 3-1 in a rain-soaked affair and I choose Louisville as the winner again this year.

Next the Kickin' Cards travel to Purdue (10-7-2, 5-4-2) on Sept 6th. The Boilermakers have looked pretty good in exhibition play, beating Indiana State and battling preseason #14 Notre Dame to a scoreless tie. I'll say Purdue in a low scoring affair up there.

Louisville ends the non-conference part of the schedule against Eastern Kentucky from the OVC (11-5-4, 6-1-3) at Lynn and I'll go with a UofL victory prediction here.  

ACC play begins Set 15th. at Pittsburgh. The Cards were predicted in the preseason poll to finish ninth out of the 14 schools. I think they'll do a little better than that and be one of the eight schools that make the ACC Tournament. Against Pitt (0-9-1, 3-12-3) I see Louisville winning their first conference game.

Thursday, Sept. 20th. features Notre Dame coming to town. The Irish were 9-8-5 overall in 2017 and 5-3-2 in conference. They finished the season ranked 18th. in the polls. The prediction here is a hard-fought battle that ends in a tie.

Louisville hosts Syracuse (7-8-2, 2-6-1) on Sept 23rd. and I'll go with the Cards getting their second conference win in this one.

A trip to North Carolina (17-3-2, 8-0-2) follows on Sept 29th. Last year, the Cards pulled off a major shocker against the #8 school in the nation with a scoreless tie. The TarHeels are preseason-ranked at #6 this year and I hate to say it, but I think they get the better of Louisville in 2018. 

October features six ACC matches. Virginia (13-7-4, 5-2-3)  comes to visit on Oct. 4th. The Cavaliers finished 2017 ranked #9 in the nation and took Louisville 1-0 last year in Charlottesville. I'll hope for a loud and rowdy Thursday night crowd that will help Louisville get a tie against Wahoo Nation this year.

Sunday, Oct 7th. brings Miami (1-9-1, 5-11-0) to "the Ville" and I think the Cards pick up their third conference win in this one over Bassy the Ibus and company. 

Louisville goes on a three game tour of the state of North Carolina next, beginning with a October 12th. stop at Wake Forest (13-7-4, 5-3-2). UofL tied the Demon Deacons last year in Lynn Stadium 0-0 and I'll call for another tie this year in Winston-Salem.

The road trip continues in Durham on Oct 21st. with a Sunday match against Duke (10-0-0, 23-2-1). The Blue Devils are placed #3 in the nation in preseason prognostications and I'm afraid they'll have a little more than the Cards can handle and defeat UofL. 

The tour of Carolina ends with a Oct 21st. visit to Raleigh and the North Carolina State WolfPack (15-5-2, 6-3-1). The Cards visited there in 2017 and left a 2-1 loser. N.C.State  finished 21st. in the nation in 2017 and they'll give Ms. Wuf a reason to dance and they'll probably best the Cards again this year.

Louisville ends the regular season on Oct. 25th. when they host Virginia Tech (1-5-3, 7-6-5) on a Thursday night. These two did not meet in 2017. I'm predicting a Cardinal win to end the regular season. 

So, let's recap. I'm calling for a 10-3-4 overall finish and 4-3-3 ACC mark. That would equal out to 15 "points" in conference standings. That's also four more points than Louisville amassed in 2017. Boston College was the final qualifier for the ACC Tournament with 13 points in 2017.

Feel differently about the season? Agree with me? Let me know in the comments section. 

Injuries, weather conditions and players who shine in reserve roles can obviously affect a any coach will verify. Here's hoping for a minimum of "dings and dents", bearable temperatures with clear skies and lots of Cards contributing on the pitch. 

Join in the fun at Lynn this season, won't you? 


Sunday, August 12, 2018


Louisville Women Get Underway

The UofL women's soccer team got their competition underway yesterday with a scrimmage against Morehead State.

I wasn't able to make it to the game due to previous engagements, but Paulie, and Jared were in attendance.  Perhaps we can get their impressions added in the comments.

Information is scarce on this one as stat sheets and post-game recaps don't get put out by sports information for women's soccer exhibitions.  We do know that Louisville came away victorious with 4 goals and a clean sheet against the Eagles.

Odds are that "Gabby Squared", Gabby Vincent, and Gabby Kouzelos, were instrumental on defense,
Vincent as center back, and Kouzelos in goal.

No word on how much time on the turf Emina Ekic got as she continue to recover from a knee injury last year.

The season (and stats sheets!) officially gets underway Thursday at 7:30 with the Wright State Wolves come to play in Lynn.

( A great job last night on the photos by Jared Anderson! Thank you! )

England U-20 World Cup Advances

Louisville is still down a high impact mid-fielder, with Mollie Rouse still off in France playing for the English U-20 team in the U-20 World Cup.

Late breaking news on this one as England routed Mexico 6-1 to secure the top spot in the group with 7 points for the quarter-finals.  North Korea finished out the group stage with 6.

Rouse and the Brits will play next on the 17th in the first round of the knockout stage, which means that Rouse will certainly miss the UofL match against Wright State.  If England advances, the next game will be on the 20th, meaning UofL would be without her services for the Xavier match on the 19th.  Winning that would put England into the finals which will be contested on August 24th.  That would prevent Mollie from playing in the Dayton match on the 23rd, and could jeopardize her appearance for the Michigan match on the 26th.

We wish the best to Rouse and the English side in the World Cup, but we'll also be glad to have her back in "The 'Ville" playing for the Red and Black, instead of the Red and White of England.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

Worldwide and Case try to get some sense out of
The knuckleheads were a man down yesterday as well, Jared off turning 20s into 2 dollar bills.  Most of the show was a recap of the Fall Sports Media Day from Thursday.  We didn't get to hear all of the audio from the event, check out Friday's article for links to all of it, and we didn't get to hear from Taylor Stone, and Katie Walsh at all (my apologies to the two of them) due to me not having sufficient knowledge on how to pause and resume clips.  It's a learning process, folks.

In any case, we interspersed a bit of commentary and analysis with Paulie, Case, and I with the bulk of the audio.  We heard from the three major women's team sports of the fall, with Field Hockey (Coach Justine Sowry, Taylor Stone, and Katie Walsh), Volleyball (Coach Dani Busboom Kelly, Wilma Rivera, Jasmine Bennett, and Molly Sauer), and Soccer (Coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes, Emina Ekic, Gabrielle Vincent, and Gabby Kouzelos).

Check out the replay at:

I did spend a few minutes after the show to learn how to pause and resume clips, so we'll be able to better break up and comment on audio in future episodes.