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Friday, August 26, 2016

Let's play two...oops... five today! -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


A popular term for a double-header is "Let's play two, today!" Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs was well-known for his quote...

"It's a great day for a ballgame...let's play two!" 

If you're a UofL sports fan, take that...double it and add five matches take place for the Cards today in three different cities.

Our tour begins in Bowling Green, OH with Louisville Volleyball starting the Bowling Green Hampton Inn Tournament action at 10 a.m. Our roving reporter Jeff "Worldwide" McAdams is on site for the action. We're not sure if he's actually staying in the Hampton Inn or not...but he will be in the Stroh Center to watch the wide-net proceedings. The Cards face Oakland...out of the Horizon League and owner of a 18-13 record last season. No TV that we know of on this one...check the Twitter feeds for Louisville Volleyball and Card Couple Radio for updates! Sidearm Sports also runs a stat-tracker you can access through the Bowling Green Volleyball homepage. 

We jump from Ohio to Indiana next and land in Bloomington...where the Indiana University campus is located. Justine Sowry takes her flock of Field Hockey Cardinals to face I.U. in the first regular-season game for UofL. The Cards were winners there in 2014 and also defeated IU in Trager last season. It's the Battle of the Border and the #12 ranked Cards have built up a nice, little rivalry with those girls in Crimson over the years. 3 p.m. is the start time for this match on the pitch and it can be seen on the Big Ten Network Plus or at if you have access to it. This was a trip I made two years ago and was very tempted to go again this year. It's an absolutely beautiful drive from Louisville. 

Next we'll head back to Bowling Green where Louisville plays their second match of the day...this time against Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) at 4:30. The Rams participate in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and were 14-17 in 2015. 

At 5:30, focus turns to Lynn Stadium in Louisville, KY where the women's soccer team looks to stay undefeated on the season when they go up against UAB. The Kickin' Cards down the Blazers 1-0 in the rain at Birmingham last year. This is where I'll be tonight, and after the women's game...the men's soccer team faces Butler around 7:30 or so. Our newest writer, Case Hoskins will be on hand and will have the write-up of the evenings activities in the Saturday edition of Cardinal Couple. He'll also discuss what he saw on THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR Saturday morning at 11 a.m. on Crescent Hill Radio.

Two games for the price of one and it's also BOGO night (buy one ticket, get one free). There's food and beverage specials and a new playground for the kids on the north side of the field. The weather is looking perfect for tonight...get out and cheer Ken Lolla and Karen Ferguson-Dayes' squads on to victory! 

It's just the start of a very busy week for UofL athletics. Volleyball goes again tomorrow and we'll talk to Worldwide via phone to recap and preview the action during our show. Sunday brings more women's soccer with the Cards hosting Toledo. Monday finds Field Hockey at Miami (OH) and men's soccer hosting Quinnipiac. Rest up Tuesday and Wednesday if you can...because Football starts the season Thursday night in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium against Charlotte. Friday features UK coming to Lynn to take on Cardinal women's soccer, Volleyball brings Santa Clara to the KFC YUM! Center and football heads to Syracuse. 

(Pausing to catch my breath and wipe my brow...) 

Oh, by the's also Labor Day weekend next weekend.

So...grab your shin guards, net, shoes, seat cushions, cooler, sticks and balls of every size and get ready for competitive college athletics Louisville style. Fall sports comin' at ya in waves and we'll be here to give you the news.  


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Alex Wilharm promoted to Associate Head Volleyball Coach -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


If you have ever attended a Louisville Volleyball game over the past four years, chances are you've seen Alex Wilharm. Towering over six feet, a shock of bright red hair and patrolling the sideline with the frequency and intensity of his head coach Anne Kordes...Alex isn't just another face in the crowd or body on the sidelines. 

He arrived at Louisville in 2011 as a volunteer assistant. Fresh from graduating from Clarke University in Iowa, he had been the Male Athlete of the Year and led the Crusaders to the NAIA national finals in Volleyball. The school is similar to Bellarmine here locally...a small liberal arts Catholic university with it's roots in Dubuque. The son of a high school Volleyball coach...he got his feet wet in the coaching pool while in college...working with club teams and even coaching the women's team his senior year at Clarke in the fall before playing for the men's team in the spring.  

He moved quickly through the UofL ranks...starting as a volunteer assistant coach and now as an associate head coach. Earlier this year he was named as one of The American Volleyball Coaches Association Thirty Under 30 award recipients. The honor recognizes up-and-coming coaching talent at all levels of the sport.  

Louisville will probably not be the last stop for Alex. Under the careful tutelage and learning experiences from Anne Kordes...there will be head coaching possibilities down the road. He's known as an excellent recruiter...being a part of bringing three Top 25 classes to Louisville. 

Bright skies ahead for the Iowa native as Louisville prepares to get the 2016 season underway with a trip to Bowling Green, OH to participate in the Hampton Inn Bowling Green Tournament. The Cards will get in three games in two days on the Falcon campus in the Stroh Center starting tomorrow. 

Louisville will face Oakland at 10 a.m. Friday to kickoff the action. As my co-host on THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR pointed out to be Saturday, this is not the Al Davis, John Madden, Fred Bilitnekoff band of Raiders from the Bay's the Horizon League Golden Grizzlies from Rochester, MI. Worldwide is attending the events and will have reports on our Saturday morning show about the games vs. Oakland and the Friday 4:30 p.m. match-up against Virginia Commonwealth. The Wide Net Cards will also take on host Bowling Green on Saturday.

Oakland went 18-13 last year and is expected to contend for the Horizon League title this season with five starters returning. Bowling Green struggled through a 7-22 year in 2015 and is a part of the MAC Conference. VCU ended last year with a 14-17 record and plays in the CAA. 

Not top notch, stellar competition for the Louisville Wide Netters...but a great chance to test a young team's skills on the road early in the season. We'd be surprised if the Cards lose a set in any of the three matches...but all three opponents could add a significant feather to their cap by knocking off the #23 squad in the nation early on. 

Fall sports. They're here and coming rapid fire at us now. 

Besides Volleyball..we have Field Hockey (at IU) and women's soccer (vs. UAB) on tap Friday also. Plenty of chances to get out and cheer on the Red and Black! Next week gets even crazier...but don't fret...your Cardinal Couple tour guides are here to navigate you through it all. 

Seats upright, tray's locked...prepare for takeoff, fans! 


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Going the Distance -- UofL women's Cross Country adds talented freshmen -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


From all intents and purposes, Louisville cross country head coach Dale Cowper is taking the 2016 women's Cross Country season very seriously. The sport is one that we haven't given a whole lot of coverage to here at CARDINAL COUPLE over the years...they only run in four meets in a 45 day span before the Pre-Nationals, ACC Championship, NCAA Southeast Regional and NCAA Championship and only one of those is in Louisville. They were not a part of the Fall women's sports Media Day we recently attended. 

Nevertheless, they are one of the 2016 Fall Sports on campus and have also added an assistant coach in Jenna Wrieden. Jenna comes to the 'Ville after serving as head coach for High Point's Cross Country squad. She finished 14th in the NCAA Championships in her college days at Arizona State. 

Cowper notes: 

"Jenna is a proven recruiter with a strong sports science background. She has been mentored by some of the top distance in the NCAA and her presence will have a huge impact upon our program." 

She'll work with 17 runners...nine of which are freshmen. Five of the freshmen are from Kentucky and the roster features two freshmen from Louisville in Meghan Carrico (Assumption)...who finished 36th. in the State Meet and Labreea Hill (Manual). 

Claire Noser, a senior from Highlands Ranch, CO. is the most experienced runner returning for the Cards. She won the Evansville meet last season, finished 30th. in the Pre-Nationals and 55th. in the ACC Championships.

The Cards were 13th. (out of 15) in the ACC Cowper, Wrieden and the runners have some work cut out for them this fall in get among the ACC elite. The Cards start it off on Sept. 3rd in the Dayton Flyer 5K and will run two weeks later in Vanderbilt's Commodore Classic. The lone home meet will take place at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park on Oct 1st. with the Greater Louisville Classic. They'll travel to Wisconsin on Oct 14th. for the Wisconsin Invitational and the Pre-Nationals are the next day in Terre Haute, IN. 

Louisville was home of the 2015 NCAA Championships and got a lot of favorable press and comments for hosting the event. The New Mexico team came in and won the championship. Four ACC schools (Virginia, NC State, Notre Dame and Syracuse) were ranked in the top 20 for 2015 Cross Country. 

Here's hoping the Cards are on their way to making some national noise on the collegiate cross country scene. A nationally known running course is in place and the NCAA Championships will return to Louisville in 2017.The coaching appears to be solid. There is depth on the roster...although only two of the student-athletes are from out-of-country and none from the running hot-bed that is Kenya...

It's time for the Cards to break out of the pack and be a front-runner. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Welcome to Cardinal Arena -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


(Over the next several weeks, CARDINAL COUPLE'S Paulie will be taking a weekly look at the newcomers to the UofL WBB program. Rest assured, we're not serving anyone's agenda here or making any grandiose claims...just reviewing what is new.) 

Louisville must seem like heaven to GS point guard Taylor Johnson after her previous stop...Loyola-Chicago. While there for four years, she played under former WBB great Sheryl Swoopes...who was let go by the Ramblers July 19th. after allegations into her 'unusual' coaching style and mass transfer exodus of players following the 2015-16 season. 

Take heart, Matthew Mitchell. You aren't the only coach in WBB DI that has kids running to the airport to catch departing flights.

Taylor, a 5'7" guard, averaged 15.1 points (#2 on the team behind Taylor Manuel) and shot 79.5% from the free throw line. She led the team with 120 assists. Known as a fierce, lock-down defender in her Rambler days, she ended her career at Loyola-Chicago with 234 steals in four years. That would put her seventh all-time on the UofL career steals list, in front of Jude Schimmel.  

Her 2013-14 season was cut short after nine games after a season-ending knee injury. 

Jeff Walz on Taylor:

"A great kid. Very mature and will bring valuable experience to our program. A tremendously talented athlete with incredible leadership qualities that will benefit our team. She has a remarkable scoring ability, sees the floor very well and has a strong knack on the defensive end of the court. I believe she can come in make a difference right away." 

Paulie on Taylor:

When you get a chance to bring in experience like this for a year, you do it. Especially at guard, which was one of the areas the Cards need to improve on from last year. She'll be a defensive presence and you want good-free throw shooters on the court at the end of close games. Will she start? It doesn't really matter...but she'll be one Walz will look to in finishing close games. We know she did get a start in Cuba. 

She'll prove to be invaluable in helping freshmen Jazmine Jones, Jessica Laemmle and Sydney Zambrotta hone their games and will give Walz the experienced depth he could have used several times last year at guard. When you have options with experience and talent, you sleep a little better at night.


1) She is only the third Johnson to play for UofL WBB (Helen, her and this year's Ciera). 

2) She was the only Rambler to play all 30 games in 2015-16. 

3) She is from Frankfort, IL (which is the same latitude as Barcelona, Spain.) Other notables who lived in Frankfort are actor/comedian Bernie Mac and lead singer for Styx Dennis DeYoung.

(To see a music vid of Dennis with Styx, click HERE  )

4) Taylor led all scorers in a Dec. 21, 2016 upset over DePaul 88-75. She had 24 points against Doug Bruno. (No wonder why Jeff Walz wanted her...right?) 

5) The ACC is the third conference Taylor will have played in. She was on the all-conference teams in the Horizon and Missouri Valley conferences.

6) She had 18 points as a sophomore against UofL in the 2013 preseason WNIT.  They were defeated by UofL 101-54. 

So, is the addition "Taylor-made" for the 2016-17 WBB Cards? Time, of course, will tell...but all things seem to point to her "stealing" your heart (and the ball from the opponents) in the upcoming women's basketball season! 


Monday, August 22, 2016


Women's Soccer Defeats Indiana St. 4-0

Louisville's women's soccer team picked up their first win of the 2016 regular season yesterday with an impressive win over the Indiana State Sycamores. The win keeps the Cards unbeaten in the very young season and brings their record to 1-0-1 (W/L/D) after a 1-1 tie against IU late last week.

Despite a meeting running long, and fair traffic holding me up, I was able to make it out to yesterday's game only about 10 minutes after kickoff. It was a near perfect day for soccer, and I arrived not a moment too late. Kaela Dickerman scored Louisville's first goal of the game, and first home goal of the season, on a beautiful header as I sat down with my hot dog and nachos. The 13th minute goal was set up by a wonderful cross by the Canadian freshman, Sarah Feola. Kaela wasn't done scoring, though, and picked up her second goal in the 49', this time assisted by another freshman, Brooklynn Rivers. Dickerman's second goal was a great show of fundamentals as she accepted a pass at the top of the box and worked past a defender clinically before slotting the ball into the side netting.

As a former keeper myself, I have to give credit where it is due. Indiana State's goalkeeper, Brittany San Roman, played a heck of a game, despite allowing 4 goals (it would have been five if not for a spectacular save from one of her defenders). Brittany was all over the goal, and a fantastic save in the 33' caught my attention enough to make note of it. In what was almost a sure goal in a one-on-one situation, the keeper made a great diving save on a ball going across the goal. It was at that point that I realized just how many ISU fans were in the crowd. I'll give them credit as well, because they cheered passionately and intelligently, two things that are great to see anywhere.

WSOC meet and greet with fans
Unfortunately for San Roman, the ensuing corner kick from her great save led to the second
Louisville goal. The 34' goal was brought on by a pair of freshmen as Allison Whitfield played the corner in from the left side and Niamh Nelson knocked it home. Whitfield is a name you should be used to hearing when it comes to UofL women's soccer, and, according to the Louisville head coach, Karen Ferguson-Dayes, it's one you'll continue hearing for quite some time. Ferguson-Dayes had high praise for the freshman, who picked up her second assist when she set up Bridget Stewart in the 74', saying in her post-game interview that Whitfield "is going to be a very good college player.". Her sister, Casey Whitfield, was a very special player at Louisville for five years. Both went to Louisville Manual.  The youth on the team bodes very well for the future of women's Cardinal soccer.

The defense was not to be outshone by the offense in this game. The back line held strong enough that Louisville's starting keeper, Taylor Bucklin, was asked to make no saves. Victoria Gabor, who Coach calls Tori, came on for the last 14 minutes of play, saved the Sycamores' only shot on goal (a shot from about 25 yards out) in the 88th minute. It is not always that both sides of the ball can be clicking so well, as the Cards saw in their less than stellar first half against IU. However, when Louisville plays like they did yesterday, they will be a dangerous team.

The women's team takes the field at Lynn again on Friday, 8/26, against the UAB Blazers as part of a home double-header with the men's team. The women's game begins at 5:30 and admission to one game gets you in to see both.

Hear Paulie's post game interviews with Coach Karen Ferguson Dayes and Kaela Dickerman below:




Speaking of Men's Soccer...

The men's team finished their preseason with a 1-1 draw against UAB in Birmingham Saturday night in a game that lasted only 40 minutes due to weather. This comes after a 1-1 draw last weekend against Memphis. Louisville was picked by the coaches to finish fifth in the ACC's Atlantic division. We will hope to see head coach, Ken Lolla, help this team exceed those expectations in what seems to be a bridge year for the Cards.

The men open their regular season when they take on Butler in the double header on Friday. I'll be attending both the men's and women's games, and hopefully they'll give me good things to talk about when I join Paulie on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour on Saturday morning.


The Wait for Football is Almost Over

Sunday saw the release of the Associated Press Preseason poll, which marks the final major event before college football begins. Due to a scheduling error (I thought the open practice was in the afternoon. It was in the morning. I missed it.), I don't have any insightful personal information to pass along. That will have to wait until after September 1st. However, when Bobby Petrino's Cardinals take the field behind Lamar Jackson, they'll be doing so ranked 19th by the AP, 23rd by the Coaches, and 19th by Sports Illustrated. The Cards will face a host of teams ranked in the top 25, but they'll need to take the season one game at a time if they want to achieve their loftiest goals. I'm looking forward to it, and hope you are too.

Until next time, Go Cards.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Cardinal Couple - Red & Black Volleyball Scrimmage

Red & Black Volleyball Scrimmage

The only event on the card yesterday for UofL women's athletics was the Volleyball Red & Black Preseason scrimmage.

This is always a great event.  Free admission always adds to that, but it's also the first real chance for most Volleyball fans to get to know the new players on the squad.  We, of course, have been talking about most of them here at Cardinal Couple for a while, but even we benefit from seeing them in action in a game-type of situation for the first time.

The format is three sets, regardless of which teams wins or lose them, which is good because players switch back and forth between the two sides of the court on a regular basis.  Eventually, it becomes clear that the score up on the scoreboard is merely a formality and that this is more of a chance to evaluate individual play and overall team cohesiveness.

This year, the event was more...eventful...than normal.  About halfway through the first set of play, the fire alarm at Cardinal Arena (and presumably all of the SAC building) started sounding.  As the crowd started turning to file out, Coach Anne Kordes made a snap decision, and quickly jumped on the PA (taking over from the ever-unflappable Sean Moth) and announced that they would just move the event down the street to The Yum! Center.  As always, clarification need to be made that this was what is commonly referred to as "Little Yum", and not the downtown arena.  A large, orderly stream of fans proceeded down the street and into The Yum! Center practice facility.  Many hands made light work of setting up the net, many chairs (there was no chance there would be enough for the whole crowd, but many were produced), and other accoutrements to enable play.  The crowd ringed the floor and play resumed.

Two players remained on the sidelines tonight.  Gabbie Wiley and Kali Eaken are both out with concussions.  A quick conversation with Coach Kordes before the play started suggests that Wiley will likely return quickly, but Eaken's concussion was considerably more severe..."scary", is the word Kordes we may have to wait a while before we see Eaken back on the court.  Fortunately this UofL squad is deep at setter, so Lyndsay Palmer and Morgan Miller filled those roles on either side of the net.

Notable Play

So what did we learn at this event?

With Maggie DeJong moving out to hit outside, Jasmine Bennett will likely see playing time as a middle blocker and hitter, and she is much improved over the previous year.  We still saw some mistimed jumps, which is such a critical part of play in the middle, but she is able to take a much more aggressive approach to play this year, compared to last.

Some of the stalwarts from last year will continue to be the mainstays of the team.  Tess Clark, Janelle Jenkins, and Molly Sauer are still playing excellent ball and create a great core to build the rest of the team around.

Melanie McHenry brings a lot of power with her.  Another trait we've talked about a little bit already, but we saw plenty of it last night.  She's able to bring it to bear fairly well, though some experience and wisdom with targeting will only make her better.  I expect to see significant contributions from her.

The Cardinal serving looks, overall, to be pretty impressive this year.  While we saw quite a few errors, the team is serving very aggressively.  I would expect a fair number of service aces, but more importantly, expect the opposing team to regularly have trouble cleanly playing a serve receive.

Season Opener

Volleyball opens their season Friday morning up in Bowling Green, OH at the Bowling Green Tournament.  The open play at the tournament at 10am Friday morning against Oakland.  They'll play against at 4:30 in the afternoon against Virginia Commonwealth, and then Saturday at 2pm against host Bowling Green.

Home Opener and Event Venue Change

The home opener for Volleyball is the next weekend, Sept 2nd and 3rd, for the annual Active Ankle Challenge.  This tournament location has been changed to The KFC Yum! Center downtown.  The website currently says it is at Cardinal Arena, season tickets say it's at Cardinal Arena, but it was announced that the location has been moved to the downtown arena.

The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

IF you missed the live broadcast of Saturday's THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR, we invite you to listen to the rebroadcast at the link below. We had a very special guest in Jenny O'Bryan and caught up with her on the WBB Cuba trip and the Cuban culture. That and all our other usual banter and coverage of Cardinal Women's Athletics. LINK BELOW:


-- JMcA

Saturday, August 20, 2016



No winners or losers yesterday in Louisville women's soccer and Indiana fought to a 1-1 tie. 

IU got on the board first just four minutes into the match...tough break for the Cards on a deflection that fooled UofL goalie Taylor Bucklin. The first half ended with that 1-0 Hoosier lead...although the Cards held a 10-4 shot advantage. 

Freshman and Louisville Manual star Allison Whitfield tied it for the Cards in the 75th. minute...getting a nice feed from another freshman (Callie McKinney). The teams went through two overtime periods but neither could find the back of the net. 

Coach Karen Ferguson was proud of the effort but found a couple of teaching points in the tie: 

"Aftert giving up the early goal off a defensive misclearance, I was proud of our fortitude and ability to find the equalizer lat in the game. Allison Whitfield showed tremendous composure in her first collegiate game to get us the tying goal. We certainly had enough chances in the second half and both overtimes. Moving forward, we will look to work on finishing the chances we create." 

The Cards finished with a 21-16 shot advantage. Taylor Bucklin had three saves for Louisville, who will face Indiana State next. The home opener at Lynn Stadium is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.  



Anne Kordes turn the wide netters loose on each other tonight for the Red/Black exhibition scrimmage game for Volleyball at Cardinal Arena. This free event starts at 6 p.m. 

We'll discuss that, field hockey, soccer and other items today on THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR on WCHQ 100.9 FM and streaming live on the Internet at Crescent Hill Radio this morning at 11 a.m.

Sit down, get comfortable, grab a snack and tune in. We're also working on a special phone guest for the'll have to listen to see if it develops.