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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday Cardinal Couple -- Rowing title and another year of the Cards?



First, Some Results

The UofL Rowing team competed over the weekend in the AAC conference championship in Rowing.  I'm not sure how to put this other than to say that Louisville dominated the competition.

The Rowing competition consisted of time trials followed by the Grand Final in three different levels of 8+ person and 4+ person competitions.  In all 12 outings, the first boat across the finish line was Cardinal Red.  I went and watched the highlight video on the AAC website, and most of the finishes weren't competitive for first place.  By and large, the excitement was between Rutgers, UConn, and UCF for second, third and fourth places.

Unsurprisingly, given the above, there were four rowers - Darya Marchanka, Morgan Dunham, Hannah Ritter, and Jami Montesano - that earned placement on the AAC first team, along with three - Lucy Wilshier, Andrea Zorn, and Elise Valantine - on the second team.  The Coaching Staff of the Year award also went to Louisville, and how could it not, given that performance.

Another "Year Of The Cardinals"?

Hard to believe that last year about this time, all of the talk was about "The Year Of The Cardinals",
and everyone (yours truly included) was falling all over themselves recounting the various successes of UofL Athletics in 2012-2013.

No one could argue that 2013-2014 has been as successful as 2012-2013, but honestly, no one could have realistically expected it to be, either.

To be sure, however, 2013-2014 has been a good year, and its not yet over.  The Rowing team, as mentioned above, has just absolutely obliterated the competition in the conference and earned a berth in the NCAA championships in Indianapolis May 30th-June 1st.  We'll be continuing to follow the Rowing team as they finish out their competition for the year.

I'd like to take some of my columns over the next several weeks and look back on the successes achieved by some of the women's athletics teams at UofL.

Let's start with...


The UofL Lacrosse squad achieved unprecedented success this year.  I'm almost obsessive about pointing out that the Lacrosse program at UofL is only seven years old, because its a lesser known sport and with the successes they achieved this year, a casual UofL fan could be excused for not realizing that it hasn't been around longer.

Preseason, our Lacrosse team was picked to finish third in The Big East, behind Georgetown and UConn.  In the preseason poll, no one voted for UofL to finish in first place (coaches aren't allowed to vote for their own school).  UofL had three selections for the preseason All Big-East Team, in Monica Negron, Kaylin Morissette, and Nikki Boltja...three names that I've learned well enough that I don't have to double-check their spelling anymore.  The three selections were overshadowed by the six selections from Georgetown and four from Rutgers.  Without a doubt, in the preseason, Georgetown was considered the cream of the crop of Big East Lacrosse.

The season opened with a loss, though to be sure a loss to Duke is nothing to be embarrassed about.  They followed that up with an overwhelming victory over Detroit, but we beat them pretty badly last year as well.  Next a close win over Old Dominion, who we substantially beat last year and all of a sudden some doubts about how well this season is going to go start to creep in.

A win over William and Mary, and then a good win over Denver that we lost to in a similar margin last year and things are starting to look up a little.  Next a heart-wrenching loss to a very good Ohio State team 11-12 which was an 12-11 victory for the Cards last year, followed up with a loss to another good team in Notre Dame, but one that we had taken to sudden-death double overtime the previous year.  At this point, a 4-3 record doesn't look terribly exciting, but one can take heart that the schedule to this point has involved playing a number of very good Lacrosse teams, so let's not give up hope.

A chance to start the winning ways with Canisius which was a solid win last year, but alas the
weather didn't cooperate and the game was cancelled.  The last non-conference game was against Vanderbilt, and a good win in overtime in Nashville is encouraging leading into the conference slate.

And the encouragement was needed as the conference slates starts off with the big one.  Playing Georgetown, on their home field in Washington D.C....and an upset, but very close, win.  Next on the road trip is Cincinnati...maybe in a few years they'll be ready to join the adults Lacrosse table, but right now they're not there.  I think they were tying together the shoelaces of some of the Louisville players to try and make it competitive, but it didn't work.

Finally finishing off the road trip with a weekend visit to Philadelphia to play both Temple and Villanova in one weekend.  A victory over Temple probably isn't terribly surprising, but such a solid win over Villanova perked up some ears.

Finally, returning home, and starting to think that maybe this team can win out the season.  UConn and Rutgers come to town one weekend and Marquette the next and all get cut down by what's now a rolling juggernaut of a UofL squad.  In doing so, laying claim to the Big East regular season championship.

Off to the conference tournament, again on Georgetown's home field in Washington D.C.  Knocking off first Rutgers and then homestanding Georgetown to capture yet another, and last for UofL, Big East Conference Championship.  History is made in the process, by ensuring UofL a bid for their first ever NCAA tournament in Lacrosse.

The tournament starts with a matchup against mighty Ohio State.  In six previous meetings with the Buckeyes, Louisville has only won one, last year, and it was a victory by only one point.  Also remember the meeting previously this year was also a one point victory, but that one for OSU.  Another fearsome battle ensued, your Cardinal Couple correspondents were glued to GameTracker and one of us to Twitter...a surely frustrating way to keep up with the progress of a game, but better than nothing.  Coming away with another sudden-death double-overtime win to advance to the second round of the tournament.

Mighty Northwestern awaits to put an end to an amazing year for the Cardinals Lacrosse team.  Like the opening game of the season, a loss to Northwestern is nothing to hang your head about.  Scoring eight points against one of the best teams in the country has to be encouraging to a program still in its early years.  Northwestern will be playing this weekend in the Lacrosse final four, having pulled off a minor upset, by one point, over another very good Florida squad.  Northwestern will be the only squad in the Final Four that isn't from The ACC, with Maryland, Virginia and Syracuse filling out the four teams.

Speaking of The ACC...UofL will be back playing Lacrosse next year, but this time in The ACC.  Going into the NCAA tournament with an impressive 16th place ranking in the country, UofL was still behind seven of the eight women's lacrosse playing teams in The ACC.  New challenges for sure await, but also new opportunities to learn, improve, and build this program to greater heights.

The UofL Lacrosse team picked "Finish" as their word for this year.  The team finished the year in grand style, and while it ended in a loss, its important to remember that its very difficult to finish playing with a win.

 This team has outperformed anything that was expected of them, and will be back and hopefully taking it to yet another level next year.

We're proud of you, Louisville Lacrosse.  We can't wait to see you take on the competition in The ACC next year.


1 comment:

  1. A good summary of the first week of WNBA play. The author had been minimizing Shoni's potential for months. He is a big Odyssey Sims supporter. He does a good job of recognizing Shoni's efficiency and effectiveness in her stat line. The detail is in item 2.

    Shoni has always said she preferred passing over shooting. It looks like now that she is surrounded by ballers that can shoot consistently she's well on her way.


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