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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday Cardinal Couple -- Softball ranked 19th in USA Today Preseason poll



THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

- Cards, USF only AAC teams in top 25


The USA Today/Coaches poll was released a couple of days ago and the University of Louisville softball team has been ranked 19th. The poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches...one from each conference.

Louisville finished the 2013 season with a 47-13 record and went to the NCAA Tournament for the tenth season in a row. The Cards were a #18 preseason selection last year and were ranked as high as eighth in the regular season.

Louisville also hosted regional action in the tournament last year but was sent to the sidelines by UCLA in a game most Cardinal softball fans would like to forget...the Bruins putting a 19-2 pasting on UofL. The Cards went 18-4 in their final season in the BIG EAST Conference but got eliminated in the conference tournament by USF.

USF is the only other AAC team in the preseason top 25...sneaking in at 25th. They are a dangerous bunch and talented pitcher Sara Nevins returns for them.

As for Sandy Pearsall's sluggers...plenty of talent returns for the 2014 season. All BIG EAST team members Whitney Arion, Caralisa Connell, Hannah Kiyohara, Caralisa Connell, Rachel Le Coq and Maggie Ruckenbrod will suit up and take the field. 2012 All-American Taner Fowler is back also.

Oh, yeah...some kid named Keller is returning. It's said she can hit a bit. She was also on the 2013 All-American team.

Louisville adds 10 newcomers to the lineup and the pitching staff that fell apart at the seams because of injuries at the end of the 2013 season gets Connell and LeCoq back and is bolstered by the arrival of two highly heralded freshmen flamethrowers.

One other team from Kentucky was selected in the top 25...that school located in Lexington. They check in at 12th.

UK will be on the Cards schedule again this season twice and Sandy's squad will also face in-state schools EKU, WKU, and NKU. The Cards will also go up against preseason ranked #5 Michigan and get a rematch against #16 UCLA.

The Top Ten in the poll?

1) Tennessee              6) Alabama
2) Oklahoma               7) Arizona State
3) Washington             8) Oregon
4) Florida                    9) Nebraska
5) Michigan                 10) Texas

The Cards get it started on Feb. 7th. in Boca Raton, FL. at the FAU Kickoff. UofL's first home game will be in the Cardinal Classic against Northern Kentucky on Feb. 21st.

Louisville will play 56 regular season games before American Athletic Conference Tournament action starts on May 8th. in Houston, TX.

Softball in Louisville in late Feburary...

With the current arctic blast encompassing Louisville today on Jan 23rd...it sounds foreboding. We all know how weather can be around this region, though, in late Feb.-early March. T-shirts and shorts one week and parka and gloves the next.

UofL staff underlings duck and cover as Paulie takes a
photo of Coach Sandy Pearsall and Sonja
With the returning crew and a cast of talented newcomers, it looks like Pearsall has plentiful and powerful players to punish the patsies in AAC play. USF will be a threat. Houston got a couple of "others receiving votes".

As we've said in several sports this year...we're not looking to buy, we're just renting for a year before moving into the mansion...when it comes to the AAC. It is interesting to note...however...that only (1) ACC school got top-25 recognition. Florida State landed 15th. in the poll.

Ulmer Stadium is undergoing a facelift/renovation and the press box is being enlarged. That's good...means I won't have to sit on milk crates or in the utility closet this year.

Maybe...

Chalk up the baselines, warm "Marge-Peg's" arm up and stock up on the Texas Roadhouse peanuts. The annual ding of the bat and bombardment of the grassy knoll at Arthur and Brandeis streets is less than a month away.

paulie
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