WOMEN'S SOCCER OFF TO BEST START SINCE 2012
It was the rapid reply from Coach Karen Ferguson Dayes during our post-game interview when I asked her what the squad could gather out of this 4-0 win over Toldeo...and as they prepare for Kentucky on Friday night at Lynn Stadium.
The attitude junior mid-fielder/attacker Alison Price exuded when she talked about the difference between this year's squad and the 2015 version. Confidence and comfortability in her teammates.
Louisville women's field hockey gathered their third straight 4-0 victory of the season in front of a sweltering crowd at Lynn Stadium Sunday and wasted no time in taking the lead. I barely had time to sit down after the National Anthem (yes, I did remove my cap and mouth the words) when the Cards took the opening offensive sequence and got a score from freshman Sarah Feola off a nice cross set up by Brooklynn Rivers just 21 seconds into the contest.
It is easy to be confident when your team is doing most of the scoring and the opponent struggles just to get off shots against you. All told, in four regular season matches and two exhibition contests...Louisville has allowed two goals.
What is just as impressive and confidence-building is that the Cards have scored 13 goals in building their 3-0-1 record. In 16 games last year, they totaled 15 goals.
Louisville pushed yesterday's match to a 3-0 halftime advantage...getting a score from Price 20 minutes in when she schooled the goalie on a one-on-one maneuver and a late score with 71 ticks left in the first half from senior Caroline Kimble on a "bloop" kick over Toledo goalkeeper
Katie Wilson's head following a deflection by Rivers.
Heat, substitutions (the Cards played 11 non-starters throughout the second half) and maybe a bit of fatigue from playing their second game in less than 48 hours limited Louisville to one goal in the final 45 minutes. It was a beauty though...sophomore Jill Vetere getting loose on a cross and firing one off the left post that bounced in.
What was just as impressive was Vetere's post-score celebration...where she took down Price with a full leap/jump/sack that Cards' football defensive coordinator Todd Grantham would have been proud of.
The Cards held a 22-7 shot advantage and 11-2 shots on goal edge. Taylor Bucklin had both the Louisville saves...in her first strenuous athletic efforts since she was asked to pass the fried chicken at the 4th of July picnic. Tory Gabor spent the final 22 minutes between the posts for the Cards...a goalie Coach KFD is very impressed with and the probable successor to Bucklin when she graduates.
All told, the Cards had four different scorers from four different classes (freshman, sophomore, junior and senior). They are off to their best start since they opened 6-0 back in 2012. That team went 10-4-4 and had their win streak stopped by UK. Guess who is next on the 2016 schedule for the Kickin' Cards? Yup, the Big Blue.
It's a wonderful thing to establish early in a season with a roster that is so young (11 freshmen and 5 sophomores) but also blessed with three returning starters on defense and the incredible Bucklin between the pipes.
|"Whaddya mean you haven't got our UK versus UofL tickets yet?"|
The Cats are 0-2-2 to start the year. Yesterday's match in Lexington against Northwestern ended in a cancellation after 45 minutes of play due to rough weather. I heard reports of torrential rain. August weather. Always unpredictable once you get past the heat guarantee.
We hope Kentucky doesn't come to town and rain on Louisville women's soccer parade. The Cats might be a little confident...and rightfully so, since they've won the last five matchups against the Cards and have posted shutouts in the last four.
Time to shine, Louisville. Celebrate this last one a bit longer and then get ready for the Battle of the Bluegrass.
Catch my post-game interviews with Coach KFD and Alison Price at the two links below. I even snuck my head and cap into camera view at the start of these.
Confidence...it even extends to the senile old guy doing the post-game chats.
POST GAME WITH KAREN FERGUSON DAYES
POST GAME WITH ALISON PRICE