Friday, May 17, 2013
Friday Cardinal Couple -- Cards hope third time is charm
FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Softball faces IPFW in Louisville NCAA Regional
-Three named to NFCA All-Great Lakes Region team
-Cameron Newbauer named Belmont head coach
Julie Hermann was fond of speaking about a sense of urgency around the UofL campus when it came to sports. Sandy Pearsall is a firm believer of taking games one at a time. So, can you combine urgency and systematic approaches when it comes to advancing in the NCAA softball tournament?
For Louisville, hopefully the answer will be yes. The Cards begin their quest to get to the WCWS (Women's College World Series) tonight when they take on the Mastadons of Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne at 7:30 p.m. in Ulmer Stadium.
The regional also represents the third title that the Cards will try for in the 2013 season. Louisville appeared to be in the driver's seat for the BIG EAST regular season crown...but a rough weekend in South Bend to end the regular season left the Cards in third place in the regular season standings. UofL came into the BIG EAST Tournament in Tampa, FL last weekend looking for redemption and blasted Syracuse over into the Gulf of Mexico briny deep with a 12-3 shellacking. The homestanding Bulls thwarted the Cards chances of getting to the title game, though...blanking the Louisville bats in a 3-0 win en route to the BIG EAST Tournament title.
Round three approaches. The Louisville lineup, filled with powerful hitters from leadoff to ninth batter, will look to bombard Brandeis Avenue behind the left field fence as they try to advance to a 2 p.m. semifinal date Saturday.
If you're sitting out on the grassy knoll behind the outfield, a hard hat or motion sensing device might not be a bad idea. Louisville led the BIG EAST in home runs and with fence swingers Maggie Ruckenbrod, Alicja Wolny, Taner Fowler, Katelyn "Mannie" Mann and Katie Keller capable of saying goodbye to Mr. Spalding at any time...the Mastadons might need radar tracking devices to keep sight of the flights and the Cardinals' ability to clear the bags.
UAB and UCLA start it off at 5 p.m. Louisville is offering a free shuttle bus from Papa John's Stadium to Ulmer Stadium for fans from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m....in case you're looking to avoid the $5 parking fee closer to the stadium.
See you at Ulmer.
Alicja Wolny and Katie Keller were named to the NFCA All-Great Lakes Region First Team yesterday and Maggie Ruckenbrod received second team honors.
What Louisville and its' vicinity to the Great Lakes have in common is anyone's guess...but it's still quite a huge honor for these three softball Cards.
ALICJA WOLNY, a senior from El Dorado Hills, CA., was also selected for the first team last year. She's been a four-year starter and four-year member of the All-BIG EAST Conference team. Wolny led the Cards with a .417 batting average and had 10 home runs, 52 RBI's and scored 39 runs. If Katy Perry had been a Cardinal Softball season ticket holder, Wolny probably would have batted .600 and had 30 fence clearers. The steady first baseman for the Cards is also the team leader when it comes to advice, confidence and style.
KATIE KELLER, a junior second baseman from Livermore, CA. is also a two-time All-Great Lakes Region selection. She hit for .412 in 2013 and set a school single season record with 54 RBI's. Her 12 home runs led Louisville this season and she was selected as the USA Softball National Player of the Week this year as well. "Killer" Keller also plays a mean second base defensively and it's also reported that the Louisville International Airport air controllers have requested that special tracking devices get implanted in the softballs when Keller comes to bat....so they can identify the moon shots and not get them confused with meteors...
MAGGIE RUCKENBROD, a junior hailing from St. Louis, MO. is batting .349 in 57 games and has seven home runs, 40 RBI's and 35 hits. "Large Marge" also knows a thing or two about catching and baserunners who think about stealing on her usually regret the decision if they attempt it. She has thrown out 15 thieves this season and picked off 10 slow-to-react base dwellers. She holds the school record for season and career pick off and stealers retired. We're not sure if it's true or not, but it is rumored that the Louisville Metro Police Department anxiously awaits her graduation so they can add her to the Crime Prevention Unit. No one steals when Large Marge is around.
In this columnist opinion, center fielder Jordan Trimble should have been the fourth Card to receive NFCA All-Great Lakes Region honors. She's a prime-time, tournament star...however and you can expect her to rattle some fences and shake the confidence of a few pitchers over the weekend.
Congratulations to our Softball stars!! Keep it up, ladies.
Readers, please try to get out to Ulmer tonight and this weekend to cheer on your softball Cards. One of the most common themes I've run into when talking to these incredible ladies that make up the UofL Softball team is the joy, excitement and delight they feel when they see the seats and outfield watching areas packed with red-clad fans.
You help them be what they are.
Make them great this weekend.
Louisville assistant women's basketball coach Cameron Newbauer is headed to Belmont.
No, not the third leg of horse racing's triple crown. The university in Nashville, Tennessee. As the head coach.
Cam was a Louisville assistant for one year under Jeff Walz before taking the plunge and accepting the head position at Belmont University.
Cam is a rising, young star of women's college basketball coaches. He was instrumental in getting the University of Louisville women's basketball team to the National Championship game in 2013. His knowledge of skills, defense and fundamentals were a great help to the Cards in his one season here.
Another success story springs from the coaching tree that is Jeff Walz. We figured his time here at UofL was limited, at best....a man with so much talent and expertise doesn't stay un-recruited and ignored for long.
The wheels got into motion when Belmont head coach Brittney Ezell resigned April 28th. after three seasons to take the East Tennessee State head coaching job. Newbauer was an obvious choice and accpeted yesterday. A press conference is scheduled for Monday.
We have a feeling it's not the last stop on Cam's rise to head coaching. Recognition of talent and skill is always rewarded.
We wish Cam the best of luck with Belmont...he was always a great interview and know he'll be successful in this...his first head coaching opportunity.