TWO SPORTS COMBINED 16-3-2 ON SEASON
The fall sports season for UofL women's athletics consists of seven of the 12 squads the Cards are competitive in with the ACC. Field Hockey, Golf, Cross Country, Soccer, Rowing, Volleyball and Tennis make up the events where Cardinals occupy on-campus and city-wide venues.
Two of these teams are off to a pretty spectacular start for 2016 and we'll look at them today. In addition, we just got the clearance to do our weekly radio show THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR as a live broadcast this Saturday morning from the Red and Black Rowing Regatta at the G. Garvin Brown Rowing Center on the Ohio River...so we're excited about that and will fill you in on the details later this week.
FIELD HOCKEY FIRING FULL SPEED
At 9-1 on the season, Louisville Field Hockey is off to their best start since 1977...when the Cards opened 10-1 en route to an 11-3 season under Sandy McLaughlin. The opponent list looked a little different in those days...with Berea, Hanover, Centre and DePauw (not DePaul) on the schedule.
The 2016 Cards are #7 in the NCAA Coaches Poll (with a new poll coming out later today) and have a #11 RPI ranking. They are out-scoring their opponents 37-7 on the season and have three shutouts on the season. Only Duke, led by former UofL head coach Pam Bustin have scored two goals on this group of stick-swingers...and her evaluation of this year's team indicated that she thought both Duke and Louisville could meet again...in the finals of the ACC Tournament and in the NCAA Championships.
How is it getting done? Justine Sowry has combined a core of returning veterans with perhaps the best first-year class to ever take the Trager Stadium field. First-year Cardinals account for 19 of Louisville's 37 goals and frosh Minout Mink has nine of those. From Haaksberger, Netherlands...the "Little Dutch Girl" (she stands 5'4") has taken 34 shots this season...twice that of anyone else on the squad...and is one of seven international players on the roster. Sowry has seven freshmen and one graduate student on the roster and their impact has been significant for The Flock this season.
13 different players have scored for Louisville this season. Hardly one-dimensional...the Cards present a defending nightmare to opposing coaches and opponents.
Preventing scores also helps you win games and Sowry (a former goalkeeper) has a solid defense contingent in goalie Ayeshia McFerran. From Larne, Northern Ireland...the sophomore stopper is among the nation's best. she's had 25 saves this season. Somedays, she's not very busy back between the pipes...complemented by defenders Abby Grimes, Gianna Perrone, Carter Ayars, Taylor Stone and Lizzie Gittens.
McFerran is also a student of Irish dancing and plays the flute. Maybe she could do a halftime show at Trager during one of the Cards next blowouts. I wonder if she knows any Jethro Tull?
|"Clear my schedule for the next four|
weekends! Got some field hockey."
We think you should get out there...admission is free and there is a concession stand. There are three Sunday, one Saturday and one Friday night games during the homestretch.
WOMEN'S SOCCER GETTING THEIR KICKS
At 7-2-2 on the season...the University of Louisville women's soccer squad is one win away from equaling last season's win record. With seven ACC games
remaining before the ACC Championships, we like the Kickin' Cards chances of surpassing last year's mark. Four of them are at Lynn Stadium...the finest college soccer facility in the nation.
This is Karen Ferguson Dayes best start since 2012 and the Cards are 2-0-1 in the ACC...with wins over Pittsburgh and Boston College. Last year the Cards were 4-5-1 in conference play...with the incredible upset over then #1 North Carolina and tie against #3 Duke.
Some things don't change...Duke and Louisville tied again this year...in the series history they've played four games..all going to double overtime and scoreless.
How are the girls getting it done? It's almost a duplicate of Field Hockey's successes...a combination of first-year talent combined with returning players and a strong defense that had allowed just nine goals in the 11 matches. Goalie Taylor Bucklin has made some incredible stops this year. Inger Katrine Bjerke and Niamh Nelson headline a defensive back core that make sure much doesn't get to Bucklin.
There is also an aggressiveness...especially on attack...that wasn't present last season. Consider that Louisville has scored 23 goals in their 11 matches. Last year they had 16 goals in 18 games. Like Field Hockey, they come at you with multiple threats. Freshman Brooklynn Rivers leads the way with four goals. Sophomore Gabrielle Vincent has three. Six Cards have more that two goals and 13 Cards have scored this season.
Refusing to lose. Sunday against #17 Boston College, Louisville was trailing 2-0 with 25 minutes left to play. The "Win In Lynn" mindset had not left the squad...though and Kaela Dickerman's score to start the second overtime gave the Cards a improbable but thrilling 3-2 win.
" I hadn't given up. We hadn't given up. We thought we could win. We got it done." Dickerman related after the victory.
It is the ACC, so the rest of the way won't be easy. Six of the Cards final seven opponents are in the top 25 RPI rankings and Coaches poll. Louisville is unranked and sits at #40 in the RPI. Florida State and Virginia are in the top three...with new polls coming out later today. Louisville tied #7 Duke, They beat #17 Boston College. We thinks they deserve, at the very least, an "also receiving votes" recognition.
Challenges. No matter the sports or season...they are continually present in the ACC and in the Fall Sports squads scheduling. At his point of the year, both Sowry and Ferguson-Dayes squads have met them with a great deal of success. The next month will be even greater in challenges.
We're confident the Cards will meet them and beat them.