KICKIN' CARDS WIND UP A SEASON OF UPS AND DOWNS.
When you walk into Louisville women's Soccer coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes' office, the first thing you notice is the half dozen or so framed international Soccer jerseys. They represent the hometowns or club teams where current or former UofL women's soccer players are from. Germany, Mexico, Canada and other jerseys...all brilliantly colored and decorated with the team names and advertising sponsors of these squads.
The jerseys haven't made it to a hanging status yet...leaning against the wall waiting for a craftsman's hammer and nail to place them. They mirror the status of the program itself...progress made, in place and waiting for the next step.
Louisville women's Soccer will not participate in the ACC or NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row...a .500 record and ninth place in the ACC being a resume that won't get the school recognized nor their named called November 9th. The progress from 2014 to 2015, though, is recognizable...after this second year in the toughest conference in women's college Soccer.
Ferguson-Dayes will lose a few impact makers...which is to be expected. You can't keep them forever. Casey Whitfield...who, when not hobbled with her achilles heel, was a definite scoring threat. Hannah Konermann, seemingly everywhere on the field and defensive star. It was Konermann's free kick that sent the ball eventually into Caroline Kimble for the score that beat UNC. Perfectly placed to Hannah Harris. Both Whitfield (Manual) and Konermann (Mercy) Louisville products. Midfield speedsters Rachel Avant, Aubrey Baker and Lexie Niedoba also matriculate out into the work-a-day world.
Those that return, though...give Louisville a solid nucleus to continue improving. Especially on the defensive end. where tough-as-nails goalies Taylor Bucklin and Paige Brown are back, everyone's favorite Norwegian defensive distributor Inger Katirne Bjerke and Isabella Gutierrez return. Defense was the guiding force in wins over UNC and Syracuse, a tie against Duke and close contests against Virginia and Kentucky.
Scoring? Always a tricky thing to come up with a Charlyn Corral or Christine Exeter type that can take games over...but Louisville returns Bella Habuda, Alison Price, Jill Vetere, Tina Marlot, Aubrey Baker, Gabrielle Vincent and Shelby Cohen who were the leading shooters and scorers for Ferguson-Dayes in 2015. A very promising class of 2016 will augment and bolster these attackers.
"I had a couple of girls who had to play out of their normal positions this year because of needs and injuries. I think you'll see just how really good they are once I get them back over to where they belong in 2016."
Unfinished work. Finishing touches. Climbing up the ladder in tough competition. The jerseys will get hung and more will follow. The program will climb the ladder, too and achieve a higher destination and record.
It's all about timing, placement and skill. The frames are in place. The players already preparing for next season. The final touches just need to be applied...and the future designing outlined.
With Karen Ferguson-Dayes in charge of the projects, it'll be a masterpiece ahead...
Be sure to catch our exclusive interview with Coach Karen on our Saturday radio show...THE CARDINAL COUPLE HOUR.
STICK CARDS START ACC TOURNAMENT TODAY
Another architect of success on the Belknap Campus...head Louisville Field Hockey coach Justine Sowry....is in Charlottesville, VA today to lead the #9 Cardinals into battle against UNC in the quarterfinals of the ACC Field Hockey Championships.
Revenge is one of the dishes that hopefully be served today...Louisville was handed their worst defeat of the season by the TarHeels in Chapel Hill and a win over UNC today would assure the Cards will be one of the 18 teams that compete in the NCAA Field Hockey Championships. The Cards are, in all likelihood, already in the Big Dance...but a win today could put Louisville in the running as a possible host for first and second round action at Trager Stadium.
Defense, discipline and following the process all keys that Louisville will need to employ to continue their current six game winning streak.
Game time is 4 p.m. and will be available on ESPN3.
We'll have a full recap of the action and also air our interview earlier this week with Coach Sowry on the Saturday radio show. Tune in to WCHQ 100.9 or join us at Crescent Hill Radio at 11 a.m. Saturday!
A visit to campus yesterday afforded me the opportunity to snap these images of the nearly-completed Louisville Lacrosse press box. The only thing left is the hanging of the CARDINAL COUPLE MEMORIAL PRESS BOX sign...
LACROSSE season starts in February. I'll be checking back on the building to see how the heating ventilation is set up... T