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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Softball, Basketball and the Big East


Softball takes two.

Amanda Zahui visits Louisville.

Big East Coach of the Year leaves St. Johns.


Softball headed to New Jersey and took care of business on Saturday, winning both, 6-3 and 6-1.  Taner Fowler had a week’s worth of play in just two games hitting 6-8 with 3 home runs on the day. 

Game one, 6-3
Taner Fowler went fence
three times Saturday.
The Cardinals took an early lead in this one with a Taner Fowler two-run homer in the second.   Seton Hall got one back in the bottom of the second, and the bottom of the third took the lead 3-2.     Watching my twitter feed, the softball Cards had me nervous in this one, not regaining the lead until the top of the 6th with another Fowler home run, this one a solo shot, tying the game.  The Cards went on to score another 3 runs in the 6th.  This proved enough offense for the game and the Cards sealed the victory.  Senior Tori Collins (20-1) got the win and sophomore Caralisa Connell got the save, her second on the year, holding the Seton Hall Pirates scoreless in the bottom two innings. 

Game two, 6-1
The Cardinals took a 4-0 lead in the top of the second, and never looked back.  The Pirates never threatened.  Fowler hit her third home run of the day, ninth of the season, in the top of the 3rd bringing the score to 5-0.  The Pirates notched one in bottom of the third, which would prove to be the only run in the game for them.  The Cards scored once more in the 5th, bringing the final score to 6-1. 

As Mark mentioned yesterday, Softball Cards return home for their final home stand of the season this Saturday against Georgetown.  Get down to Ulmer Stadium at 2:00 on Saturday for a double-header and/or 1:00 on Sunday.  The softball team is currently ranked 9th in the country and should feel the fan support and love this weekend as they close at home for this fantastic season.  Currently, the Cardinals are 42-2, 13-2 Big East.  We’ll see you next weekend at Ulmer. 


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Amanda Zahui and Monny Niamke, both international basketball players will be visiting Louisville this upcoming week.   Cardinal Couple readers may remember Monny Niamke from recruiting news last summer. 

Niamke is from France and signed her NLOI to play with the Cardinals in 2011.  Due to academic issues she was ineligible to play last season and spent the year at Lindsay Wilson getting herself eligible, presumably.   Niamke played in 32 of 33 games on the season and had a FG% of .446, 3pt FG% of .351, FT% of .660.  Niamke averaged 3.8 rebounds/game, 7 blocks on the season, 52 steals and created 95 assists to 91 turnovers on the season. 

Amanda Zahui hails from Sweden.  Coach Walz reportedly was in Sweden a little over a month ago visiting Zahui.  Sounds like the visit paid off as Louisville is among 3 programs vying for her services.  Washington and Minnesota, along with Louisville will each get a visit from the Swede this upcoming week, as reported by Cardinal Couple a few days ago.  

Zahuia is a big-bodied 6’3.  Her body type looks tailor made for the Big East.  She looks to have the ability to clog up the lane defensively.  In an email exchange I had about two weeks ago with a Swedish sports columnist he suggested Zahui has a good shot, can shoot mid-range shots as well as from beyond the arc.  For a big body, she also shoots very well from the free throw line.  He went on to say  “although big, her best post moves are based on her being pretty quick and agile. She's quick around the rim, but she's not very good running up and down the floor.” 

Guestimates on my end are that Zahui will be on campus some time between Monday-Wednesday, for a 48-hour visit, before she heads off to Washington for her last of three visits. 

Cardinal fans, we should know about both of these young players in the next few weeks as the signing period ends May 16.


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Finally, Kim Barnes-Arico, most recent Big East Coach of the Year has left St. John’s to take a position with Michigan.  Barnes-Arico spent the last 10 years with the Red Storm culminating in finishing second in the Big East this year behind Notre Dame.  Barnes-Arico and her Red Storm also ended a 99 game home winning streak by Connecticut this past season.  She and her team finished the season with a loss in the Sweet Sixteen, the deepest post season run the Red Storm have ever had. 

This has to be a huge loss to the St. John’s faithful.  It definitely is a loss to the Big East.  Barnes-Arico was one of my favorite coaches in the Big East to watch.  I am sad to see her leaving, but happy that she is making a decision and change that is good for her and her family.   Michigan hit the jackpot with this hire, I believe.  Good luck in the Big 10, Coach.  We here at Cardinal Couple wish you well and much success!

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