Softball Takes Down the Seminoles
Two of the three games of this weekend's series in Softball against Florida State are being televised by ESPNU. The Cards fielding probably made ESPNU regret not covering last night's game.
The score, 1-0 might make you think this one was a pitcher's duel, and there was some pretty good pitching, with Maryssa Becker going the full game in the circle for The Cards, but the real story of this game was the fielding. From the speedster Jordan McNary running down a fly ball in left field; to Allison Szydlowski catching the strike-out pitch and picking off the runner trying to steal second; to Brittany Sims with a sliding catch at second, popping up, turning, and getting the throw to first; to Tiarra Sanabria with a very athletic jump to catch a hard hit ball that was headed to the right field fence, and getting the fly out; to Whitney Arion catching a one hop, stepping on second, and getting the throw over to 1st for a double play to end the game; this was a game with some spectacular fielding. Florida State had their share of plays that made you say, "Wow" as well.
The fielding combined with generally good pitching contributed to the combined 16 runners left on the bases during the game, 9 of them for FSU, and 7 for UofL, making it hard to get strings of hits together. Louisville was helped out by a couple of errors by FSU at critical times, including one that got the only scorer of the game, Hailey Smith, on base. A pair of fielder's choice plays advanced her to third, and a solid bouncer out to center by Brittany Sims brought her home.
The series continues this evening at 7 at Ulmer Stadium. This one will be on ESPNU. While all of the normal camera setup will be there, the commentators and play-by-play will be done out of Connecticut from the video feeds, so come out to Ulmer to get the full experience, or watch @CardCoupleRadio for my live tweeting to help fill in what they're not getting.
Volleyball Beats The Illini
Illinois came to town for a spring match in volleyball at Cardinal Arena on campus and ran into a rejuvenated Cardinal Wide-net squad.
In front of a crowd of around 700, many of which were club volleyballers in town for a huge Junior Volleyball Association (JVA) tournament at The Fairgrounds, the UofL Volleyball squad beat Illinois 3-1. The 3:30 start time was picked to fit into the afternoon break between sessions of the JVA tournament.
During the regular season play in the fall, defense had been the real bugaboo for this Cards team with defensive coverage being lacking, and passing and digging being erratic and frequently off-target. For the most part, those woes were gone, with the passing being crisp and on-target and no major openings being exploited by a good Illinois team, a team that ended the fall season ranked 11th. Impressively, the defensive revival occurred with a short-handed defense on the Cards squad. Courtney Robison, the graduating senior who played at DS was not playing with the team. Gabbie Wiley, who came on in the late season and surprised nearly everyone with her excellent play in the Libero position after Roxanne McVey came down with mono, was also not present as she was back home attending a funeral. That left the defense mostly consisting of Roxanne McVey playing Libero, and full rotation play from Maya McClendon, Janelle Jenkins, and Erin Fairs. We did see some time at Defensive Specialist by Eleni Georgiafandis, who acquitted herself quite well, with several good digs and critical passes.
On offense, the freshmen middle hitting duo dynamos of Tess Clark and Maggie DeJong continued to show why they quickly became some of the favorite players of the Cards fans in the fall. The Cards haven't had a great deal of blocking since Gwen Rucker and Lola Arslanbekova graduated a couple of years ago, but the middles, combined with the do-everything Katie George and the all-arounds mentioned above, put some ferocious blocks on a quite tall and powerful Illinois team.
Perhaps the most clutch performance of the afternoon came from the PA announcer, though. Yours truly got pressed into service at the last minute to announce the game, and I must say, I may have found my new calling. In all seriousness, though, while I think I did an acceptable job, Sean Moth's job is not in any sort of jeopardy.
The Volleyball team finishes spring play this afternoon at 3:30 against in-state rival Kentucky. This one is again at Cardinal Arena, and admission is free.
Speaking of Gwen and Lola...
The pair have been playing professional volleyball on the same team for Targoviste in Romania. They have reached the championships of their league. They will have matches on the 16th, 17th and 25th for the championship series.
Shot Put Victory by One of Our Favorites
A quick congratulations to Emmonnie Henderson in winning the shot put at the ACC/Big Ten Track and Field Challenge at Cardinal Park with a throw of 51' 6 1/4". E also placed second in the discus by hurling it 171' 4".
Also winning in T&F was Maggie Gilbertson in the High Jump, clearing 5' 5 3/4"
JMcA/Worldwide/PA Announce Extraordinaire