Friday, March 14, 2014
Friday Cardinal Couple -- Louisville Classic starts today for Softball
FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- Softball welcomes UM, UW, Kent State and Iowa State
- Hoops commentary
Sandy Pearsall's sluggers begin play in the Class Act Federal Credit Union Louisville Classic today at 4:30 p.m. against Kent State. It's one of five games the Cards will pitch and catch in over the next four days at Ulmer...they'll play #7 Michigan on Saturday and Sunday and Wisconsin twice on Monday. A little different approach to this Classic format...where the Cards would normally face each visitors once...they won't play Iowa State while they are here.
According to the UofL official schedule, that is.
Louisville went 5-1 in the Red & Black Classic last weekend beating Ohio University twice, Ohio State and UMass once and going 1-1 against Illinois State. The Cards (13-7) have been hitting the ball well lately and getting some promising efforts out of the four pitchers on staff.
- Walk this way. Junior Brittany Duncan has received 19 base on balls in 20 games. When opposing pitchers do decide to pitch to her, she's hitting at a .404 clip. In any event, she's gotten to know the location of the first base bag pretty well in her first season here.
- Show me? Yes, can do...Kelsi Jones transferred in from Univ. of Missouri...the "Show Me" state. She's revealed quite a lot in 20 games...with a .364 batting average, team-high six home runs and 18 RBI's. She's also 4-4 in stolen base. Maybe Maggie Ruckenbrod is the only one in the nation who could gun her down?
- Coaching record? Could Coach Pearsall be the leader in games coached all-time at UofL? She's coached 847 of them since arriving in 2000. Not sure how many Denny Crum or Peck Hickman had total...but Sandy has to be close to the title, if she doesn't own it. The term "game day" to her has to be as common as the term "crazy weather" is to any Louisvillian.
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As Nita Slaughter and Shoni Schimmel prepare for their final NCAA Tournament run, let's take a look back at what was going on when they first arrived on campus in the fall of 2010. Jeff Walz and the Cards were coming off the school's worst season since 1993-94...a 14-18 record and loss in the first round of the post-season WBI Tournament to Bradley. They were joined on campus by fellow freshmen Sherrone Vails, Ashley Rainey and Charmaine Tay. Tia Gibbs was eligible after sitting out a year after transferring from Vanderbilt.
Rainey eventually ended up at Lindsey Wilson, where she had a very good career. Tay transfered to Clemson and had a good season for the Tigers this year. Sherrone Vails, of course, is still here...sitting out this season with an injury.
The Cards were moving from Freedom Hall to the KFC YUM! Center for home games and out of the returning letterman, it looked like Monique Reid, Asia Taylor and Becky Burke would be the impact players. Shelby Harper was the returning point-guard and Keisha Hines was expected to do great things prowling the paint.
The place was packed for opening night...a tussle against Pat Summit and Tennessee. A tough loss against the #4 ranked team in the nation, a breakout party for freshman guard Meghan Simmons. But signs of improvement and cause for optimism and hope.
We know the effect Shoni had on that year's team. Who could forget Schimmel magic on a March night in Cincinnati, OH when the Cards took down Xavier? Nita was providing valuable minutes off the bench and the squad made it to the Sweet Sixteen before losing to Gonzaga in Washington.
22-13 for that squad and the emergence of two new shooting stars.
There would be many more memorable moments for Shoni and Nita over the next three years. They'll be remembered, along with Tia, as three of the greatest players to don the Cardinal jerseys and take the court.
A free-wheeling, rez-ball trained and perpetual shooting machine out of Oregon and a shy, smiling all-over-the-court baller from Louisville's Christian Academy.
Who knew back in 2010?
Thanks for some great memories and some great ones still ahead. It'll be hard to ever watch anyone in jersey #23 and #4 down the road and not think of you two...