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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday Cardinal Couple - Another Year of the Cardinals?

Is This Another Year of the Cardinals?



We've finished fall sports, are well into basketball season and have solidly kicked off spring sports.

This summer was filled with rampant speculation and discussion about whether we could have another "Year of the Cardinals" like we did in 2013, so let's look at where we are.

First, the fall sports.

Volleyball

Anne Kordes' Volleyball team played in The American conference this year.  They had a good year, though, to be honest, I don't think we can call it stellar.  The American didn't hold a conference tournament in volleyball, but UofL did rip through their regular season conference schedule unblemished, walking away, easily, with the conference championship.  Unfortunately, the out-of-conference schedule didn't look quite so rosy.  The road-heavy non-conference regular season schedule resulted in a 5-7 record, plus a loss in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Though Kordes has shared with fans her philosophy of scheduling tough out-of-conference schedules, particularly when you're having to make up for a weaker set of conference foes, it appears that the wide-net Cards just weren't quite up to the task of that schedule this year.

This was a good season, but I don't think we can call it a great one.

Soccer

The men's soccer squad rounded out the season with an 11-5-4 record.  Not too shabby, and with a 5-
1-2 record in The American Conference, edging out UConn for the regular season conference championship.  This will fall into another good season.  A quick exit from the conference tournament doesn't help the picture particularly, and an exit from the NCAA tourney in the second round doesn't help much either.  A point of interest, though neither good nor bad in my mind for this discussion was the collection of 11 overtimes that the team participated in during their play this year across 6 games.

Women's soccer tallied a 12-5-2 overall record, 8-1 in conference, and were edged out of the regular season conference championship by one point.  Also with 6 games going into extra play, but only 9 total overtimes, the women's soccer team departed both The American Conference tournament as well as The NCAA tournament in the first round.

I think both soccer seasons fall into the good, but also not great category.

Field Hockey

A 6-1 conference record in The Big East Conference...yes, Paulie, I said The Big East...The Cards claimed a share of the regular season conference championship as part of their march to one of the best ever overall records for the program of 15-5.  As great as that is, that is, unfortunately, about all their is in the positive column for this sport.  A first round exit from the conference tournament, and not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA resulting in a disappointingly early end of play for Coach Sowry's Field Hockey squad.

Still, a good season for a program that you can see progressing year to year.

Football

Some people have wrapped the fall successes of the UofL Football team into the previous Year of the
Cardinals because they're counting a calendar year, while I prefer to think of academic years instead.

12-1 overall, 7-1 in conference was good enough to land a rather prestigious bowl, as well as a very entertaining one on twitter (@RussellAthBowl), but not enough to land a BCS bowl bid.  Alas, with the sole loss of the team being in conference, it also knocked us out of The American Conference championship.

I'd say this was a great year for UofL Football, but not a Year-of-the-Cardinals level year.

Basketball

The men's basketball team is ranked in the top 10, while the women...do I really even need to say...are enjoying the position in the Top 5.  Both teams are hanging on to a chance to win The American Conference regular season championships, or at least a share of it in the case of the women's team.  Both teams are rolling with some impressive momentum, even if the mens' beards are a bit hit and miss.  Deep conference tournament runs are likely along with good seedings to make deep NCAA tourney runs.

Here's where we start to pin some hopes for more "Year of the Cardinals" finishes.  We're close to wrapping up regular season play with hopes for post-seasons high.

Softball

A rough start for Softball, though with a good weekend just finished, they've climbed back
above .500 and hopefully are settling in for a good season. A tough weekend trip to California awaits. If Pearsall can get her pitching consistant and the bats re-energized on a regular basis, a fairly weak AAC awaits them.

Lacrosse

Despite a loss to a very good Duke team, it looks like a really good start for the Lacrosse team.  Only in its seventh year in existence, WE here at the Cardinal Couple are keeping a close eye on this team.  Also early in their season, this could be an exciting year for this team.

Baseball

A 5-2 record for Baseball is good, but will need to improve for a return to the College World Series if they wish to reprise their role in the previous Year of the Cardinals.  Again, there is hope, here as their season is just getting started.

Golf

Laura Restrepo and Emily Haas are looking impressive in the Golf world, with Katie Petrino getting some attention as well.  Will there be enough for the whole team to go deep into The American Conference tournament and then the NCAA Regionals and Championship?  Stay turned, we'll find out in May.

The Men's Golf team doesn't appear to be racking up quite the accolades that the women are, but still look to be playing well in general.

Swimming and Diving

The men's and women's swimming and diving teams look like they are nearly unbeatable at the moment, though I don't know the world of swimming and diving well enough to know if we were just dramatically better than a merely mediocre conference, or if we really do have great things in store for the rest of the year.  We'll find out in less than a month at the NCAA championships that occur over two weekends in late March.

Tennis

The men's tennis team is en route to a good year with a 7-2 record, and the women are doing nearly
as well at 6-2.  Julia Fellerhoff and Rebecca Shine collected a number of accolades in early action as individual and pairs competitors, including a runner-up finish at the ITA Indoor Championships.  We're about halfway through the regular season for Tennis and we'll continue to follow the fortunes of the women's team here, of course.  Tennis season runs through April.

Rowing

Rowing has only had one actual competition so far, but made a good name for themselves with several runner-up finishes.  This is another very young program at UofL that is already starting to make waves...pardon the pun.  We'll be keeping an eye on outcomes as their mostly-spring season progresses through May.

Track and Field

That only leaves track and field for Louisville teams.  I must admit that I know little enough about track and field that I can't even really get a feel for how well they are doing as a team this year.  The indoor season is about to wrap up in mid-March, and the outdoor season will run late March through mid-June.

Overall Analysis

So what's your take on how all of the Cardinals sports teams are doing?  I think you have to say that by and large its been a good year for UofL Athletics.  Will we have another Year of the Cardinals?  Truth be told, I think its fairly unlikely, though there is certainly still room for an amazing string of accomplishments in the final tally.

Ultimately, I don't care.

There are still plenty of opportunities to get out and support the UofL student-athletes, and particularly with spring sports getting into the swing of things, doing so frequently involves some of the most wonderful weather in the Louisville area.  So, come on out to the newly-renovated Ulmer Stadium, and the Louisville Lacrosse Field and cheer on the Cards.

Jeff McAdams
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3 comments:

  1. And, don't forget, almost all of the spring events are free. If in doubt, check the web site. You might pay to park or you might choose to park further and get in some exercise.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If any of the coaches are on a hot seat, it would probably be the womens soccer coach.

    ReplyDelete
  3. SMU coach with technical after a no call during her players attempted lay up. Announcers acting like cheerleaders for UConn. Even when replay showed UConn player using non-shot defending hand and arm to push SMU player. Technical was a result of a number of problem calls throughout the evening.

    Too bad the SMU player attempting the lay up - or any of our players for that matter - do not bring back the jump stop - sell the shot with a head fake of a lay up attempt then crouch down before springing up for the lay up. Mo made a living throughout her career doing just that move.

    Defenders would regularly be caught up in the air while our player then moved up and under for the shot and foul. It is not that easy to be running full out - receive a pass - then put it up as you run under the basket. Mo knew how to solve that problem. It is a shame to ignore the option.

    Maybe it would be good to get some of the Mo film and watch what she did. Better than our missing several lay ups each game while we fly through the air.

    ReplyDelete

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