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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jeff Walz energizes WBB Tipoff luncheon crowd.

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SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE PRESENTS:

-Articles from Jenny O' Bryan and Sandy Walker on WBB Tip-Off Luncheon

-Volleyball shuts out USF

-Football today

(Thanks to both Jenny and Sandy for these excellent reports on Friday's tip-off
luncheon. From their accounts, it was an excellent time!)

"We are no longer hoping to do great things. We are expecting to do great things." - Jeff Walz, University of Louisville head women's basketball coach.

Let me just start off by saying that due to scheduling conflicts in the past, this is the first Tip-Off luncheon I've been able to attend. The excitement about the impending season was immediately in effect as we sat down to have lunch. We were treated to the last 3:30 of the Xavier game that catapulted the Lady Cards to the Sweet Sixteen. If watching that come-from-behind win was not enough to stoke the fire of any burning Card fan, I don't know what could. Not that I needed my fire stoked, mind you. I am beyond ready for this season.

Coach introduced each member of the freshman class. Shawnta Dyer, UofL's medical red shirt freshman, was portrayed as absolutely giving our post players competition for playing time. Bria Smith was described as having the quickest first step of any player Walz has ever coached. Coach expects Bria to take the ball to the basket and create foul trouble for her defenders. He also mentioned that Notre Dame's Natalie Novosel went to the free throw line more the all of UofL's guards combined last season. He expects Bria to change that. Sara Hammond tag? A competitor who will have a presence in the post and a player that can also step out and hit the 15-18 foot jumper. Walz also noted her biggest problem. She smiles so much. It's not working for him to yell at Sara...only to have her smile and nod at him. When she knocks a defender off of their feet, she smiles and helps them up. (A great problem to have to deal with, right?) Jude Schimmel is competing for minutes at point guard. According to Walz, she is the best on-ball defender he has coached. She will create havoc for her opponents. She needs work on limiting her turnovers and protecting the ball. 

Walz did not spend much time talking about the sophomores and juniors, noting that we should all know who they are by now. He did comment about having four sophomores that logged a lot of time last season. They know their expectations and they are prepared to deliver. 

Coach also spoke about the two Lady Card seniors. Two things of special note were that Mo and Becky were the first two players to make it through four years of Coach Walz. That being quite an accomplishment. They are also the only remaining players who have Final Four and National Championship game experience. (Keisha Hines played four years for Walz but was recruited by Tom Collen.)

In talking about Mo, Coach spoke passionately about Mo's "Granny" who all the players know. He talked about the local folks, years ago, doubting Mo could compete at a collegiate level. Mo wouldn't work hard enough, according to them. Supposedly, she'd never listen.  Coach revealed that when Mo and Granny came to UofL for a visit, and he met Granny, he knew Mo would succeed...because of the support system around her. Coach also noted that if any trouble is brewing, Granny will step in.

No one wants Granny to step in. No one! 

As a three year starter, Walz expects great things from Mo this year. She understands the expectations. It is fair to say that Mo has, and continues to, prove the naysayers wrong. I, too, believe we will see great things from Mo this year.

Finally, Walz spoke about Becky. He talked about her infamous three point shot. He spoke of her knowledge and understanding her role on the team. As a freshman, her instructions were to stand on the wing, wait to see if Angel was going to throw the ball out and then shoot her shot if that happened. Her game has evolved since those days. She drives, rebounds and even occasionally plays defense now...according to Walz, tongue-in-cheek.

The Lady Cards have two players with a national championship game under their belt. Sophomores with extensive playing time as freshmen. McDonalds' All-Americans. Kentucky Miss Basketballs. The Schimmel sisters. 14 players that could walk on any campus in this nation and compete for a starting spot. The best fan base in women's college basketball.

Dear friends, we have depth, quickness and great defenders. I believe we are poised for a deep run in the tournament this year. For any naysayers out there, I've got one word for you.

Granny. You can take it up with her.

-Jenny O' Bryan

(Great report from Jenny! Sandy Walker was also in attendance. Here's her take.)

Yesterday, 700 attendees were fortunate enough to attend the 2011-12 University of Louisville Women's Basketball Tip Off Luncheon. 5th year head coach Jeff Walz was the featured speaker. The UofL Pep Band, cheerleaders, and Lady Cards greeted us as we walked in the arena. Beautifully prepared tables filled the YUM! arena floor and we were surrounded by four large video screens that gave everyone a great view of the dais...where the team was individually introduced.

We were also entertained by video highlights and a portion of the Xavier game. We got a inside peak of the progress and status of the player's development which left us with an eagerness for the upcoming season.

Pack this place, Cardinal fans!
Our table held a lively conversation concerning the need for every fan to encourage first time game attendance from people we know. Just one game will convert them into permanent fans. Coach challenged the fans to raise last year's 10,000+ home game average to 13,000 and to overcome the dilemma of weekday afternoon tip-offs. To help meet the target, season ticket holders that are directly responsible for 1 or 2 additional  purchased season tickets by December 10th. will be rewarded with a T-Shirt, followed by a UofL pullover. The top two season ticket sellers will win either a $500 shopping spree at the YUM! Center Cardinal Store or a chance to participate as a travelling member of the team for an entire road trip.

Coach Walz took pains to let everyone know that with such a large group of talented players, each must buy into their specific role to help the team win. He stressed the need for someone who could lock down an opponent on defense.


Get on the bus and head to Lexington!
 It was announced that the Fastbreak Club is sponsoring group travel from Papa John's Stadium to the UK game on December 4th. Your trip must be reserved by calling (502) 500-4756 by November 23rd.  For $40, you get bus fare, a game ticket and food and drinks during the trip. The team will definitely need and appreciate everyone's support at what is always a partisan and rowdy UK "pack the house" event crowd.

Sunday's 3 p.m. game against Lindsey Wilson will be preceded by the women's soccer team playing Providence at Cardinal Park. It's a BIG EAST Tournament quarterfinal match and fans are encouraged to attend both. 

We've waited since last April. It's finally time to enjoy and support our women's basketball team again....all the way to Denver! 

Let the games begin! 

-Sandy Walker

(Thanks, Sandy for an excellent report on the event! CARDINAL COUPLE is very fortunate to have two writers with the passion, knowledge and spirit that we have in both Jenny and Sandy. LET'S GO CARDS!)

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Lola leaps for another kill

The University of Louisville volleyball team took the Bulls by the horns yesterday in Tampa and won convincingly in three sets...25-23, 25-14 and 25-23. Lola stepping up big again for Anne Kordes' squad with 13 kills. Emily Juhl added 1o for UofL, who goes to 17-6 overall and 9-1 in BIG EAST play.

It was a little closer than expected in game one...the teams battling back and forth and reaching a 22-22 tie before getting a couple of Lola kills to win by three. The Cards had no such problems in game two...steadily increasing the lead throughout the match to win by 11. USF tried to force a fourth game and was tied with UofL at 22-22 in game three before a huge kill from Lola gave the Cards another two point win for game and match.

The Cards hit an outstanding .402 for the match and outdug USF 40-33. They also recorded six serving aces, led by Emily Juhl's two. Caitlin Welch had 17 digs. 

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The Orange won't be this happy this afternoon
Charlie Strong leads the football Cards into a noon tilt with the Syracuse Orangemen today in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Syracuse comes in hot...having shocked WVU last time out 49-23 in the Carrier Dome. The Orange (5-2) won't put up those kind of numbers on Louisville's defense...but the Cards (3-4) will need to get the offense rolling for today's homecoming crowd if they want to improve to 4-4.

Noon kickoffs. Oughta be a law against 'em...

nochoiceisachoice

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