TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
( COLUMNIST AND RADIO PERSONALITY "WORLDWIDE" JEFF MCADAMS BRINGS US THE TUESDAY EDITION OF CARDINAL COUPLE AND INTRODUCES A NEW GAME TO US TODAY. WE THINK YOU'LL LIKE THIS GAME AS MUCH AS WE DO! )
I'd like to play a new game. I'm going to call it, "What Does It Take..." I think we're starting to find out some of the answers to this game, so now seems like a good time to start.
...For Emily Juhl to Get Recognition?
OK, its no secret that I'm a fan of Emily Juhl. I've had the opportunity to get to know her a bit over the past few years, and have a great respect for her as a volleyball player and a person.
I'm thrilled, then, to see her start to get some of the recognition that she deserves. Now, its not like she's been completely in the shadows, as she was one of the two UofL volleyball players to get The American Conference's preseason co-player of the year nod, along with Brooke Mattingly. She has also made the weekly awards honor role once or twice.
Part of the reason she hasn't gotten quite as much attention in the volleyball arena is that she played the past two years at less than 100%...her sophomore year playing on a leg with stress fractures when UofL had, at times, only 9 players available for play. After that season, quietly undergoing surgery...essentially the same surgery that garnered Kevin Ware a Top 10 list on Letterman...meaning that her junior season was spent at less than 100%, recovering. Now that Juhl is back at 100%, she's tearing the court up, and finally starting to get the recognition that she deserves.
The American Conference graced Emily with a Player Of The Week this week...finally. What did it take? It took UofL winning two matches, both 3-0 sweeps, and in doing so clenching the conference championship and automatic NCAA tournament bid. It took Emily hitting an error-free .509 with 27 kills on the weekend...stellar numbers for an outside hitter. I'll point out that Juhl has seen time attacking from both the right and left side, and even on occasion, going up the middle, as well as getting called on for some back-row attacks at times as well. She's not just an attacker, though, with 5 digs on the defensive side of the balance sheet this weekend, as well as getting credit for 3 total blocks, despite only being 5'10". Oh, and let's not forget the two aces she added with her booming serve. Essentially, Emily will do anything the team needs on the volleyball court...well, she would probably balk if you asked her to be a setter, but if the team really needed it, I'm sure she'd give it a try.
While we're talking about Volleyball honors
Maya McClendon has not had any trouble getting recognition from The American Conference, and well-deserved recognition it is. Maya gets her sixth Freshman of the Week award from The AAC. 18 kills and 31 digs across the six sets that UofL played this weekend earned her another spot in her familiar role as the freshman with the most kills per set (3.33) in the conference.
...For Jude Schimmel to get Respect From Cardinal Couple Commenters
Sorry commenters, but I've been saying that many of you all have been short-selling Jude for a while now. I'm just glad that so many of you are coming around on this issue.
Jude has had my respect for a while now. IN addition to her role as the alpha in the attack yorkie pack where she has played lock-down defense since she first hit the KFC Yum! Center floor, we're now seeing the evidence that a 5'6" player can hold their own driving down the lane and shooting against players nearly a foot taller. Let's not forget about the steady diet of rebounds by aggressively blocking out larger and taller players and having the court sense to be in the right place at the right time. You do remember who it was that started the break that resulted in Shoni's backwards-shot-over-Griner and-one circus shot, right? Yup, little sister Jude with the excellent block-out and outlet pass. Oh yeah, she really should've gotten the foul call, too. Take a look at the video if you don't remember it...you'll have to look quickly at the beginning because most of the video focuses on Shoni.
Now, let's remember this when we're talking about the coming emergence of 5'5" Monny Niamke and 5'6" Starr Breedlove as well as future recruiting classes.
( editor note: I COULDN'T AGREE MORE WITH JEFF'S ASSESSMENT OF JUDE SCHIMMEL. TALK ABOUT A BLUE COLLAR, WORKING CLASS HERO! SHE DOES THE JOB, DOES IT TO COMPLETION AND WITHOUT FANFARE OR THE ACCOLADES THAT OTHER PLAYERS RECEIVE. IT'S WHAT MAKES A TEAM GREAT...PLAYERS CONTRIBUTING FOR THE OVERALL GOOD OF THE SQUAD. AS RICK PITINO SAYS...YOU PLAY FOR THE NAME ON THE FRONT OF THE JERSEY, NOT THE BACK.)