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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday Bonus Post - An Update on 502 Softball Academy

We try to keep up to date on some of the achievements of former student athletes at UofL because there are so many that are accomplishing so much.  One accomplishment that we have covered in the past was the opening of 502 Softball Academy here in Louisville.  Opened as a venture by Katelyn Mann and Alicja Wolny, this indoor batting facility in the Lyndon was a gutsy step of entrepreneurship for the two California transplants to Louisville by way of the University of Louisville Softball squad.

I dropped in at the facility a few months ago just to see how things were going and found Mann hard at work, of course.  She informed me that business was going great, and the organization was looking to relocate, in order to have more space available to increase the number of batting "cages" (they're nylon rope mesh, so "cage" isn't exactly the right word, here).  While that relocation has not yet happened, I did get news this week that Mann has been able to take the step of resigning from her "9-5 jobs" and for 502 Softball Academy and her other teaching and coaching opportunities to be her full financial support.  In her Instagram post, Mann said, "now I am able to give my whole heart to my girls and the facility."

This is a big step for Mann and the 502 Softball Academy, and it has been a joy to watch the development of this local establishment, created and driven by Louisville Softball alumnae.  Congratulations Mannie and we're still cheering for you as you continue to make an impact, both on Mr. Spalding and the local economy.

-- JMcA

All apologies...Louisville WBB -- poised for greatness?... Radio today! -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


I'd like to start today's column with an apology that I didn't get a Friday column up here on the website. I though we had a Friday column covered by a guest writer. That didn't happen. I was travelling Friday and didn't have time to do a write-up as a backup. By the time I realized that nothing had been posted, it was too late to do anything without some research.

Nobody's fault but mine. I should have confirmed plans a bit better and followed up on them. I hope the "faux pas" on my part gave you, the reader, a chance to look at some of the really great articles that were posted on the site earlier this week. Responsibility is ownership. I take the blame for not following through. I'm grateful for the assistance I get here and will try to do a better job of leadership in the future. When it comes down to it...we are a non-profit site that is dependent on me six days a week to produce. I enjoyed my time off...believe me it was needed after the past two weeks. I'll try to live up to those standards I've set for this site to the fullest extent now that I'm "back in the saddle".

All apologies...

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The e-mails, the conversations, the reports I'm getting and just looking at this 2016-17 Louisville women's basketball roster has people (myself included) buzzing. With good reason. 

Let's look at some basics:

1) All five starters return from a team that wasn't shabby at all last season. Yes, I know. There was disappointment that Louisville bowed out in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to DePaul. Let's not forget, however, what that Louisville squad accomplished. 26-8 overall, after a rough start. 15-1 in the ACC. The ACC Player of the Year in Myisha Hines-Allen. 22 wins out of 23 games after facing UK. Not bad stats at all...

2) A incoming class extraordinaire. We're hearing wonderful things about these freshmen. Let's start with Jazmine Jones. Some readers are thinking she may work her way into the starting line-up. Ciera Johnson battling tooth and nail in pickup games. Taylor Johnson showing why she was picked first team Missouri Valley Conference team (and defensive team) selection. Kylee Shook tearing it up inside. Sydney Zambrotta getting back in form after a foot injury. Bionca Dunham wowing people with her speed, rebounding and shooting. You could take these six...add walk-on Jessica Laemmle and field a team that could possibly finish in the top six of the ACC by themselves. You're adding them to an already well-established roster. Depth for Walz? Yeah, I think so...Talent? You betcha.

3) Improvement from the returnees. We hear Arica Carter is nailing threes at over 50% in drills. Asia Durr is back to 100% (and then some, according to my sources). Briahanna Jackson and Mariya Moore firing full force. Brianna Jones and Sam Fuehring playing at a better clip than last season. Cortnee Walton. Determined to make her final year here her best one. 

And then there's Myisha. I saw her at one of the Walz camps. There's a look of confidence and wisdom in her eyes these days. She realizes just what she could end up being. She's ready to fulfill it. 

In the final analysis, it is up to this talented list of players to put it together. The coaching staff can only do so much. There will be challenges. Early on...Maryland, South Carolina. Kentucky. An ACC schedule that looks maybe even tougher than last year. The Irish aren't backing down. FSU thinks they might be pretty decent. Syracuse was a Final Four squad. Miami. Duke and North Carolina. NC State. No walkovers, no automatic easy nights. 

Yes, this team is poised for greatness. We'll get a glimpse of what they might possibly be when they go to Cuba in a couple of weeks. Top to bottom, the squad looks stronger than any UofL squad I've ever seen. Let's hope they can pass the "eye-test" and produce that way.


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Have you heard THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR? WE think it's worth your attention and a listen. We're on WCHQ 100.9 FM in the Louisville area and available throughout the galaxy at

It's a look at the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports. It's also the culmination of 12 hours of planning and research for me. All for 60 minutes. 

The show starts at 11 a.m. Saturday mornings. Give us a try. I hope we measure up today...since I've no interviews to play and no studio guests. I hope my co-host Worldwide has some good stuff planned. Otherwise, I may be bring up the highlights of my recent vacation. WE do feature a quiz in the slow months. As far as what the quiz will be about today? I have no clue...I'll toss something together. 

Tune in this morning and see if we fly or flop... 



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Let's Talk Rugby! - Thursday Cardinal Couple

Rugby?  That's not even an NCAA sport, I hear you say?

Well, yeah, it's not, and UofL certainly doesn't have a varsity Rugby team, but as we lead up to the Summer Olympics in Rio, we've been doing our best to keep track of current and former Cardinal women making their appearance.  In addition to Angel and the swimmers (Kelsi, Andrea, and Tanja), you can chalk up a field hockey alumna for the list as well.  Just not in Field Hockey, but as part of the Team USA Women's Sevens Rugby roster.  Jessica Javelet secured her trip to Rio this week by being named to the squad.

I always knew, and have seen on the Trager Stadium field that Field Hockey was a rougher sport than many people give it credit, but transitioning from Field Hockey to Rugby takes that to another level.  Javelet played Field Hockey at UofL from 2003 to 2006, and brings the current total of Cardinals in Rio to 12.

Going for the gold in Rio may be one the few ways that Javelet to could better her record after her time at UofL.  While with the Cards, she was a 3-time NFHCA (National Field Hockey Coach's Association) All-American, the only UofLer to achieve that feat.  With that resume point, you can imagine that she was also three time All-conference in the Big East, but also picked up the Best Offensive Player honors two of those years.  OK, so she was an attacker...yes, very much so.  She still holds the UofL record for season and career goals.  In fact, she appears on the top 10 list for season goals three times.

We, here at Cardinal Couple, always like to add in academic accolades as well, and Javelet picked them up left and right as well.  Graduating with a 4.0 in Marketing and was thus the Business School Valedictorian and UofL's overall Outstanding Graduating Senior.  A three time CoSIDA Academic All-American, and two time Big East Female Scholar Athlete of the Year.

The Rugby competition will have a format similar to large International Soccer competitions with 12 teams in pool play.  Team USA joins a pool with Australia, Columbia, and Fiji.  The top two teams from each pool along with two third place teams will advance to the quarterfinals for a single elimination tournament.  Play begins August 6th, and the medals will be decided on the 8th, so they won't let be wasting any time getting these games in.

Congratulations to Cardinal Forever Jessica Javelet.

-- JMcA

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hello there! -- Wednesday Cardinal Couple

I'm alright...don't nobody worry 'bout me!

(with apologies to Kenny Loggins for borrowing a line from a great song...) 

Hey! Paulie here...having a big time on vacation. A special thanks to the writers that have been filling in for me...and those who will be filling in the next several days. 

Went trout fishin with C.E.

We've had some success.

Been eating well...

Delicious baked apple pancake


All gone...

Staying hydrated

Very important to do that in this hot weather. And, representing in the Cards gear. 

Met some great Cards fans while away from Louisville! 

The water is rather low in some spots...

But the are flowers still beautiful! 

And so is Sonja! 

Time to eat AGAIN! 

Talk with you soon...


Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Once again, I return to the CARDINAL COUPLE pages to offer viewpoint from a non-local but still committed Cardinal athletics fan. In case you are relatively new to the site, my name is David Watson and I've had the pleasure of knowing Paulie and the site since its inception. I'll jump in here once or twice a year to write for Paulie but I do follow it each day. Louisville women's basketball was the hook that brought me to the shore, as it was probably many of you, but through the writings of Paulie and Jeff -- plus their radio show I highly recommend you catch -- I now follow volleyball, lacrosse, and definitely field hockey. 

My daughter just recently graduated from college and spent four years as a partial scholarship field hockey player in the Northeast. Anyone hiring? I jest there -- she is interning with a nice outfit that manufactures boats of all kinds. She also is a volunteer field hockey coach. They say if you can't play, you coach. She seems to be good at both. It was her interest in basketball before field hockey won out that got us to Louisville games and subsequently meeting Paulie and Sonja. 

I keep my eyes on the Cards (and the Irish as well, I'm a retired professor from Notre Dame)and have been enjoying the 'summer of love' that UofL sports has had so far. Seven swimmers under Arthur Albiero headed to Rio! How incredibly wonderful for that program! The all-encompassing Angel McCoughtry will play for the USA and be a heavy favorite to bring home gold. If they don't, there should be a major inquiry.

Dan McDonnell has several ballplayers that will be bringing home the mega-dollars in baseball. Jeff Walz keeps lining up recruits and, as a side-note, did you hear that great interview Paulie and Jeff did with head coach Chris Souder? Looking at some college coaches and then hearing Souder's philosophy on the game and his players, I have to ask the question. How is he not coaching in the college ranks? I have to assume it is because of his own choosing. I'd be proud to have a daughter play for him! 

Moving from Muncie, to Sarasota and then Naples has sent me on a search for a local team or sport I can back. I keep hoping the Tampa Bay pro outfits will step up but it always seems to be "Wait until next year" with them. USF has peaked my interest, especially in women's basketball -- which is how I first met Paulie -- with Jose Fernandez doing a great job with the Bulls. He's also a very fun and wonderful guy to talk to. I hit several Bulls WBB home games last year. I'll do the same this year while fervently praying my youngest daughter magically grows 10-12 inches and can rebound. She's a force at 5'6". Loved watching Courtney Williams and Alisha Jenkins play. Briahanna Jackson, too. We'll see if she can make the freshman high school girls basketball team in a couple of months. I want to be a WNBA dad.  

Summer turns to fall eventually. That means all the hard off-season practice and training evolves into success in the field of competition. I used to tell my daughter "keep your eyes on the prize, it makes the journey more meaningful to get there." I tell my son, a budding golfer who tees it up on the other coast here in Florida the same thing. He just nods and proceeds to crush me off the tee by 50-60 yards whenever we get together to play. He lets me stay close to him in score -- I theorize -- so I'll keep sending checks and care packages to him at college. Maybe he'll make the pro tour someday. We have nothing in our lives if we don't have dreams.  

Will the summer's hard work pay off for the UofL athletes? I suppose we'll know soon enough. I look forward to following LOUISVILLE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL in Cuba, in the tough preseason ahead and in the ACC. I'm not ruling out trips to FSU, Miami or even Atlanta and Clemson to see them play. I'll also roll back into Louisville for a game or two while visiting my snow-bound brother in Louisville this winter. Usually, people escape the cold to come down to my part of the country. I head north for a week or two. I guess I still miss the snow shoveling and sliding off icy roads just a little bit. A very little bit. It makes me appreciate those sunsets and sunrises on the beach that much more. We had a beautiful sunrise this morning. It was hard to leave, so I brought my laptop to the beach and sent this column to Paulie while watching it. I also like the I-Heart radio app. I heard Jeff McAdams on it this morning on Cards RADIO talking to Howie Lindsey

We've come a long way from erecting antennas to get better radio reception, haven't we? 

Ok, PAULIE. Here's the column I promised. I know I rambled somewhat. Us older guys do that from time to time. You know that. Go Cards, Irish and Bulls in the fall. Keep up the good work via column and radio. We're reading and thankful. And thanks for inviting me to jump in and be a fan/writer. It has been a good summer for Louisville athletics. Superb! I hope the fall is fantastic. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Don't Call It a Rebuild - Monday Cardinal Couple

After my column last week about Coline Coessens joining the Volleyball team, a commenter asked if this would be a rebuilding year for Cardinal Volleyball after the graduation of Katie George and Erin Fairs.  I thought I would take today's column to consider that question.

LL Cool J famously said, "Don't call it a comeback", and I think I'm going to paraphrase that to be my theme for the column today.

Don't Call It a Rebuilding

First, of course, we can't forget the third graduate from the wide-net squad, Roxanne McVey.  I think pretty much everyone is confident that our defensive stance in Volleyball is in good hands with Molly Sauer, Gabbie Wiley, and Eleni Georgiafandis.  Roxanne was, her senior year, a solid passer, and an asset to the team, but I think we're in good hands in the back row.

Katie George, a powerhouse of a competitor in whatever she does...witness her tour-de-force of Louisville media since her graduation...and could reasonably have been considered among the top tier of setters in the college game.  I'm not worried about our setting position, though.  We've got Kali Eaken, possibly supplemented by the rock steady hand of Lindsay Palmer to run the setting position.  We even have Morgan Miller, who can slide into the setting position and hold her own as well, though I suspect she'll be too busy swinging on the outside and from the back row.

The biggest challenge for the Cardinals will be in generating offense.  In addition to the graduation of Erin Fairs, Maya McClendon and Aniah Philo have transferred to other schools.  This seriously decimates the offensive firepower available to the Cards, but help is on the way.  The three incoming freshmen are all hitters (a left side, a right side, and a middle), Jasmine Bennett has been doing some pretty good things in the middle, from what I've been hearing, meaning that Maggie DeJong is likely going to move to an outside hitting position (and maybe even see her playing some defense in the back row!).  Coline Coessens, as mentioned, is an outside hitter, bolstering the crew and the aforementioned Morgan Miller shares a lot in common with Janelle Jenkins...mostly that you can put her anywhere on the court and she'll do well.  That's a pretty solid hitting capability with that mix.

So, no, I don't think it will really be a rebuilding year.  The line-up with take on a fairly different look from last year, and I think, even moreso than in the past, you'll see players in multiple different positions and playing multiple roles.

Truthfully, the sport that I think is most likely to have a rebuilding year is Lacrosse, but we can talk about that as we approach that season...maybe sometime over the winter.

-- JMcA

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hardest sport to master? -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


I like to watch sports. That should come as no surprise to our readers, since we run a website based on the joy and excitement of Louisville women's athletics. Whether it is on television or in person, I marvel at the skill and athleticism of student-athletes applying their trade.

I remember my competitive days...learning where to be on the court and positioning myself for rebounds or trying to master solid defense. In football, it was a whole different skill set. As a defensive end, my objectives were and destroy. My brief baseball career ended when I was faced with  trying to hit a curve ball. Never did figure that out.

While watching a very competitive tennis match the other day, the thought crossed my mind...what is the toughest sport to master? 

Tennis, with it's challenges of successfully getting the ball back over the net, positioning yourself for the return and the quick sprints and lateral movement are ones that can be arduous in terms of become good. I also thought of golf...the correct swing in a multitude of different positions on the court. Multiple clubs, putting, chipping and driving. Playing in woods, sand and deep grass (which describes my game perfectly). Certainly not an easy thing to perform successfully at. 

Running, as in track and field or cross country, is fairly straight-forward and basic. Sprinters go as fast as they can over their short distances. Long distance specialists learn to pace themselves and attempt to muster a final sprint near the end of their course. Track and field gets a little more complicated when you add the elements of hurdles, objects to throw, jumps and bars to clear. 

I've always marveled on how lacrosse players maneuver, pass, catch and throw with their netted sticks. Positioning is also important in lacrosse and you definitely get some running in. The same with field net on that stick but you still have to be able to progress the ball down the field, play defense, pass and run, run, run. 

Basketball players have to use a bunch of skill sets. Shooting accurately being one of the most important. Ballers have to be able to pass efficiently, dribble, determine where a rebound might fall and try to prevent the opponent from doing all those things effectively. They also get in some miles on the court during a game and the quicker they can run, usually the better. 

Volleyball. That's a sport that really calls upon multiple skills. Serving, setting, blocking, digging and jumping in a wide variety of situations. I never ceased to be amazed at how wide-netters plunge themselves to the floor to keep a flying orb remaining in the air and, at the same time, get it to a teammate to do something with. In basketball, the ball touching the floor is a big part of the game. In volleyball, it's frowned upon...unless your delivering a kill shot or blocking a kill shot. 

Softball also requires a variety of motions. Hitting the ball where the opposition isn't. Throwing accurately. Catching the ball. Running the bases with speed and being in the right place at the right time to stop the batted ball. 

I came up with soccer as perhaps the most difficult to master. First off, you can't use your hands...unless you're the goalkeeper. Imagine a basketball player or shot-putter with no hand options. In soccer, the objective is to score and you have to be able to kick effectively, move the ball to teammates with your body, head or feet and you are constantly on the go. Imagine Myisha Hines-Allen trying to get the ball to Mariya Moore with her head, feet or trying to sink a three by kicking it from 20 feet. You also have to stop the opponent from scoring in soccer. Soccer players spend a lot of time on the ground. They run a lot, maybe more than any of the other sports mentioned. 

I used to be ambivalent about the sport of soccer. Big deal, I thought...they try to kick a ball into a net. But, as I watched the sport in depth as I got older...I have grown to appreciate the depth, concept and multiple skills needed to become good at it. And, look hands! In my brief encounters at soccer, I liked playing defense...we called it the fullback position 'back in the day'. The reasoning was because I could try and kick the ball as hard and far as I could to the other end of the field. It reminded me of my days as a terror on the grade school playground during kickball. Paulie could send the ol' rubber ball a long way.

I have never played rugby, cricket or curling. I'm sure they have their own nuances, difficulties and schematics. I still choose soccer as the toughest sport to master, though...and admire those who do it well. 



Did you catch Saturday's broadcast of THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR? Worldwide and I had a great time in the studio...discussing hoops, comfort food and had a great guest in Mercer County head girls basketball coach Chris Souder...who joined us via phone. Worldwide even posted a great score in the weekly quiz! 

In case you missed it, here's a link to the rebroadcast. 




I will be away from these pages for a few days while vacationing. Another chance for me to fall in icy cold creek water while wearing hip-waders and carrying assorted paraphernalia. Don't try this at home, kiddies.

Not to worry, though. Worldwide Jeff McAdams has ascended to the captain's chair and will be guiding our version of The Enterprise through the sports galaxy the next few days. We've also got a few great writers lined up to fill these pages...DAVID WATSON returns to the pages, HOWIE LINDSEY has offered his services for a day, WorldWide will write TWICE this week and I'm still working on getting someone lined up for Wednesday's column. You want a shot at it? E-mail Worldwide at 

If needed, I'll jump back in the saddle and bore you with a dissertation on trout fishing, flies and sore and aching muscles created by dancing on banks and slippery rocks. If, for some reason, we get huge breaking news on any Louisville women's sports...Worldwide will drop whatever he is going, set the alert at DefCon 5 and have the details available to you faster than Briahanna Jackson can drive by a backpedaling defender .  

Gone fishin'.