Wednesday, December 30, 2015
2015 in review...Maybe not the Year of The Cardinal but nevertheless pretty special -- Wednesday CARDINAL COUPLE
CONFERENCE TITLES AND NCAA APPEARANCES NOTHING TO SNEEZE AT FOR 2015.
As we draw down to the final days of 2015, a look back and re-countenance of the UofL women's sports season is today's topic. A year of firsts and of new heights. A year of promise, success and hope for the future.
True, there were no national title chances for basketball, no Sugar Bowl to savor or things that had national media fawning over UofL (scandal and intrigue not-withstanding) but the women's athletes on the Belknap Campus accomplished some very good things.
The Cards won the ACC Conference Volleyball Championship. With a 18-2 in conference and 25-7 overall record. Erin Fairs and Katie George All-Americans. The bright promise of Molly Sauer and Aniah Philo...plus the continued excellence of Janelle Jenkins, Maya McClendon, Tess Clark and Maggie DeJong gave us some memorable moments and the promise of a very bright future for Anne Kordes' wide-netters.
With five seniors and two wunderkind freshmen battling in the best conference in women's basketball, Jeff Walz's women's basketball team went 27-7 overall, 12-4 in the ACC and 16-1 at home. A game away from the Elite Eight (Dayton...who knew?) and a team that featured the heart of Jude Schimmel, resiliency of Sherrone Vails, strength of Sara Hammond, smoothness of Bria Smith and determination of Shawnta Dyer...this was a UofL squad that will be one of my all-time favorites.
The end of 2015 has seen a major construction project in progress for a young group of talented Cardinals that very well may write another storied chapter in the history of Louisville women's basketball time. Give them time and patience. Championships aren't built in a day.
Kellie Young builds winners. Competing for the first time in the best lacrosse conference in the NCAA...her squad made another NCAA appearance and ended 10-8...another season where improvement was evident, the stakes were higher and the foes top-10 seemingly every week. Faye Brust's all-out assaults on opponents will be missed but Young returns Kaylin Morissette, Cortnee Daley, Hannah Koloski, Steph McNamara and a very talented group of underclassmen plus nine very promising freshmen. The ACC should be put on notice...the Cardinals are back for round two.
Louisville Field Hockey is another sport that made the NCAA Tournament, competed in the best conference in the NCAA and made some memorable moments. Elisa "Chile" Garcia, Vic Stratton, Katherine Gwynne-Wood and Megan Anstotz helped make Trager Stadium a nightmare for opponents. Their skills will be missed but Justine Sowry will pick right up when she left off with stars Ayeshia McFerran, Nicole Woods, Stephanie Byrne, Tess Hannah and Erin McCrudden back in 2016. Another warning salvo off the port bow to the other ACC ships...here come the Cardinals.
Louisville Softball put together a 4th. place finish against the ACC in 2015 and made another NCAA appearance for Sandy Pearsall. Two Cardinals (Kelsi Jones and Whitney Arion) went on to play in the pros and they'll be missed...along with Kayla Soles and Brittany Duncan...but Louisville returns six starters and powerhouse pitcher Maryssa Becker...along with a superlative freshman class. Hailey Smith, Brittany Sims, Jordan McNary, Nicole Pufahl, Alison "Mike" Szydlowski and Tiarra Sanabria look to take the Cards even higher in the conference standings in 2016.
Louisville Women's Soccer 2 - (#1) North Carolina 1.
It was my top moment for Louisville women's sports in 2015 and one I'll never forget. The biggest win in the history of UofL women's soccer and to be there to see it is something I'm very grateful for. The 2015 squad had heart, desire, youth and skill working in it's favor and with a solid nucleus returning...Karen Ferguson-Dayes is assembling a squad that will compete with the best in the ACC. The play of Casey Whitfield, Hannah Konermann, Lexie Nieboda, Rachel Avant and Aubrey Baker was essential to the improvements Louisville women's soccer had in 2015. Sadly, we see them go...but talent abounds in Lynn Stadium and Ferguson-Dayes has added some excellent freshmen.
Kelsi Worrell in the pool. Emmonnie Henderson throwing the shot and discus. Laura Restrepo and the women's golf team successes. And all the accomplishments of women's tennis, cross country and rowing made it a memorable 2015 for Louisville women's sports.
We'll raise a toast to all the student-athletes that made UofL women's sports a success in 2015...you that are under the age of 21, raise your ginger ale...and look forward to the joy and excitement of 2016.
It's tough to name a Cardinal women's athlete of the year but I'll toss a few names out for consideration. Kelsi Worrell, Katie George, Emmonnie Henderson, Maryssa Becker and Myisha Hines-Allen. All five made major contributions to their sports and any of them would be a good selection. There is a poll on the right side of the site where you can vote.