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Monday, October 31, 2016

On losses and near losses -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



FOOTBALL WIN WAS JUST THAT...A WIN

Now that everyone's heart rate and blood pressure has stabilized...48 hours after the last-minute, 32-25 Louisville Football win over Virginia...let's review a few things. 


1) Lamar Jackson did nothing to hurt his Heisman Trophy campaign. Four throwing touchdowns, over 400 yards of personal yardage and a winning touchdown clip that was shown by every media outlet and replayed on every website and blog...except Hillary for President and Al-Jazeera (and I didn't check there).  They have to mention about four or five guys whenever broadcast dudes and duchesses talk about the Heisman...but there is only, in reality, one candidate.

Lamarvelous. 

2) Just win, baby. Al Davis popularized the phrase when he was dictator of the Raiders. And, in fact, it's all Louisville needs to do in their final four games. The four team above them in the polls and rankings are undefeated. One (or more) of them needs to lose a game. Since the Cards don't have Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson or Washington on the roster...we can't personally control that factor. 

Just win, Cardinals.


"Another early breakfast and mucho coffee Saturday morning"
3) Lunchtime Cardinals. The network honchos have stuck Louisville in the noon slot for the 11/5/16 game at Boston College. What a surprise. As a few of you may know...Paulie hates noon games...especailly on Saturday. I have little doubt that UofL will be slotted at high noon for the visit from Wake Forest on 11/12 and UK on 11/26. At least the power-brokers can't screw with the trip to Houston on 11/17. Thursday night football at 8 p.m. 

The Cards are the #5 team in the nation and can't get a 3:30 or 7 p.m. gig? I protest vehemently, your honor.  

4) Baffle 'em, Bobby. On the Cards final scoring drive...I, like a lot of Cardinal fans, was just hoping to get close enough to the goal-line for a easy field-goal. That nearly got de-railed when the Cards faced a fourth-and-three. Fortunately, the football that Lamar Jackson tossed to Cole Hikutini had eyes and avoided two Virginia hands. On the touchdown pass...I'm hoping for a 10-15 yd. gain to set it up easily for Creeque, O'Hara, Charlie Brown...whoever Bobby decided to trot out there. Jackson threads a 35 yd. pass to Jalynn Smith in the deep right corner of the end zone.

Yeah, that'll work...

Here's a nice LINK video on the win:   http://www.espn.com/college-football/recap?gameId=400869475

One day at a time, one game at a time, one win at a time. By 30 or 3...it really doesn't matter to me anymore. 

Just win, Cardinals. 

Ending this season with one loss will have exceeded any possible scenarios I had in the pre-season. Even going into the Florida State game.

 Score more points than the other team. Never seen a team lose that did that.


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VOLLEYBALL FALLS SHORT AGAINST MIAMI

My esteemed colleague "Worldwide" Jeff McAdams will have more on this Tuesday (we traded days today...due to his job requirements) but the Serve and Kill Cards dropped a exciting match to Miami in five sets...16-25, 25-20, 23-25, 30-26, 13-15.

Anne Kordes lays it out to us: 

"That was a hard-fought match and it is tough to walk away from that level of intensity without at win," said UofL head coach Anne Kordes. "It was right in our hands and we might have to chalk it up to inexperience. There was some nervousness from our kids but those are the same kids who made some big time plays too.  My heart breaks for the team because we kicked it off on Friday with some great play against No. 11-ranked team and came back strong. But hats off to Miami. Olga Strantzali stepped up big for them."  


The Cards hit the road next...at Duke Friday and Wake Forest Sunday


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HAPPY "PAUL-O-WEEN" !!


Have a great "Paul-o-ween" tonight! To celebrate, I've donned the infamous Bill Clinton mask for the occasion. 

If I happen to show up on your door-step tonight, bring me in, gimme a bowl of chili and a beverage and sit me down in front of the Bears-Vikings game. 

"If you're going out to soap windows tonight...do ours first, then get a bucket of water and a squeegie and finish the job."

( my late father...circa 1972) 

paulie
xxxxx


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cards Split Saturday -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cardiac Cards Survive...win 32-25


Yesterday morning on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour, I quipped that for Virginia to pull off the upset, the wheels would have to fall off for Louisville in all facets of the game. While this came close to happening, the better team found a way to win in the face of some adversity. Yesterday, we found out just how good this team could be, despite a bad overall performance, based on key plays in clutch situations. Since I almost had a heart attack multiple times before the clock read zeroes across the board, I'd rather just focus on the positives and forget this game ever happened.

Two years ago in Charlottesville, a muffed punt lost the game. Sure, in the grand scheme of things, a single play doesn't cost a team an entire game. However, this one was the direct reason for loss, so it lost the game. The culprit behind that muffed punt was James Quick. I only bring up that nightmare, because it must be something about that stadium that makes Quick forget he has hands attached to the end of his arms. Three drops by Quick in the early going, including one that looked like a sure touchdown, threatened to completely derail the offense. It would be unfair of me to not mention that Quick wasn't the only one dropping passes for the Cards, but his seemed to be the most egregious to me. And here I said I was only going to focus on the positives. You all should have known me better.

My first shoutout goes out to a defense that came up big when it mattered. Did they allow 25 points in the game? Yes. Did they give up a go ahead touchdown and subsequent 2-point conversion with under two minutes left? Yes. However, make no mistake that the defense saved this game. On two huge series that could have blown the game wide open, the defense made their mark. The first comes after Louisville's first stalled drive, which started about 15 yards deeper in their own territory than it should have (Jaire Alexander was hit after calling fair catch and it was uncalled). Louisville punted the ball away, and the Virginia returner broke off a huge return, getting to the seven yard line before being forced out of bounds by Mason King (get that punter tackle stat, Mason!). The defense held strong in the "and goal" situation and held Virginia to a field goal. Later in the game, after a Lamar Jackson air mail interception (seriously, no idea where that one was supposed to go) was returned to the 15 yard line, the defense was tasked with a short field again. Again, they held strong and, this time, Virginia hooked the kick to the left. Virginia came into the game with one of the best red zone conversion percentages in the ACC (albeit on a low number of attempts), but they were held to 3 points on two drives that started in the red zone. Clutch defense.

You already know who the second shoutout goes to. The man earns a helmet sticker every single game, and it was no different yesterday. Lamar Jackson amassed 451 total yards, threw for four touchdowns and only had the one wild interception previously mentioned. If not for numerous drops early in the game, his passing numbers may look even better. Those four touchdowns included a DIME to Jaylen Smith to regain the lead with 13 seconds left. His completions also included a laser to Cole Hikutini on 4th and 3 to save the game. The ball was so close to being swatted down at the line by two Virginia players that I get heart palpitations whenever I watch the replay, even though I know how it ends. That drive may very well have been the clutch moment Lamar needed under his belt for his Heisman resume.

I used this picture last week. It still applies.
People will talk a lot about an underwhelming performance against a team the Cardinals should have had no troubles with, but that really doesn't matter. Even if it is a made up rivalry, Virginia is a league rival and those games are weird every year. Louisville went on the road, had some bad breaks, but put together a good enough performance to win the game. That is what is important about yesterday's game. It wasn't a matter of a bad team blowing the upset. Virginia was doing almost everything right. They didn't lose the game. Louisville won it. In the end, when we try to speculate what the postseason looks like for the Cards, nothing matters if they don't win the rest of their games. Yesterday was a crazy day in college football. Ohio State had their hands full with Northwestern at home. Washington won on a punt return (with suspect no-calls, I hear). The Big XII is essentially out of the picture with West Virginia and Baylor both losing. Nebraska was finally knocked off. Chaos is happening all around, and Louisville was able to avoid it.

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Field Hockey Controls the Game, but Not the Scoreline; Fall 4-1 at Michigan


This season has been very good for the stick-ball girls. They finished conference play with a respectable 3-3 record (like most of the league) in a conference that usually keeps all seven teams in the top 25. They also won nearly every non-conference challenge that faced them. In games they lost they were competitive, and none really seemed out of reach. Yesterday's game was a strange aberration. If I showed you the game stats (excluding the score and saves), you would be inclined to think that Louisville won the game. I know I was. Louisville outshot Michigan, they drew 5 more penalty corners, and they were penalized fewer times. However, either Michigan's goalie was better, or their shots were more efficient. Either way, 4 of Michigan's 7 shots on goal found the back of the cage, compared to just 1 of 7 for the Cards. If I'm reading the box score correctly, (which there's really no way to know for sure) Michigan's fourth goal came on a Louisville empty net (sorry, Paulie). It's a rough way to end the regular season, rather deflating if you ask me, but I believe that the Cards are in a good position going into the ACC tournament and beyond. Let's see if they can manage to final bring home the hardware they deserve.

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Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Returns


Yesterday we took back the airwaves on WCHQ with the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. You heard Worldwide eulogize the 2016 Volleyball season before it's dead, Paulie force quite a few Halloween puns, and me make wildly wrong predictions about yesterday's football game.

Sadly, due to a glitch of both MP3 systems at the studio...the show was not recorded and there will be no re-broadcast available to hear.

We apologize for this malfunction. Technology can be mean, sometimes.

Until next time, Go Cards!
-CH-

Saturday, October 29, 2016

VOLLEYBALL FALLS TO FLA. ST....FIELD HOCKEY FACES MICHIGAN...FOOTBALL AT VIRGINIA -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



WIDE NETTERS GET "NOLED" 3-1


Louisville Volleyball (7-14, 2-9) took another one to the chin last night in the KFC YUM! Center...#11 Florida State taking care of the Cards 25-23, 18-25, 27-29, 10-25 in four sets. 

The fact that the Cards were fairly close in a couple of these and actually won a set should be of some encouragement to Anne Kordes and a squad that is still trying to find a consistent identity. Melanie McHenry and Tess Clark combined for 27 Cardinal kills...despite the seemingly never-ending 'block party' power the 'Noles were displaying at the net. They had 12 stops at the net to Louisville's six. 

Coach Kordes saw some things she liked: 


"I am really excited about the way we came out strong. Gabbie Wiley had a career-best match. We have to place our focus on things we can control", said Anne Kordes, UofL coach. "We can control unforced errors, the service error and the hitting errors. I liked that we got a good glimpse of what we can do. But we have to continue the maturing process and not keep making the same mistakes. Credit to FSU, they wore us down mentally. We have to take things forward and learn from them."

Jeff McAdams will have more on this on today's radio show THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR and in his Monday column. 

LISTEN HERE TO CRESCENT HILL RADIO! Crescent Hill Radio



Louisville returns to the Denny Crum Court on Sunday to face Miami. 2 p.m. gets the first serve in the air. 


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FIELD HOCKEY FINISHES REGULAR SEASON AT MICHIGAN


Louisville Field Hockey ends the regular season today with a 1 p.m. pass-back in Ann Arbor against #11 Michigan. The Flock, seventh in the nation, is 15-3 and already knows their assignment in the ACC Tournament...starting off as the #4 seed and facing fifth seed UNC at 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 3rd. in Winston-Salem, NC on the Wake Forest campus. 

The Michigan test should be a good one to prepare the Cards for post-season play. The Wolverines (10-6) have won their last two games in overtime...taking down #10 Northwestern and #16 Iowa...two teams the Cards defeated also in the regular season. 

For Louisville, junior Nicole Woods was named ACC Offensive Player of the week last week...getting two goals and two assists in wins over #9 Virginia and #17 James Madison. 

This one will be available on Michigan's live stream via internet...in case you want to watch while viewing football today:

LINK: LOUISVILLE VS MICHIGAN FIELD HOCKEY


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FOOTBALL IN VIRGINIA

Right after our broadcast this morning on Crescent Hill Radio, the #5 University of Louisville Football team takes on Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. 

This one, arguably, shouldn't be that close. The Cavs have a hard time creating defense and that's never a good thing when you face an offensive juggernaut like Lamar Jackson and his Cardinals. When you add in the fact that Virginia doesn't produce much offense either...it's probably not going to go so well for the ACC foe. 

Will they try to take the air out of the ball...like Duke did against the Cards? They very well may. Will they have any success in that procedure? Probably not. I can easily see another 44-0 score at the half (or more) in this one. 

National TV again for Bobby's Boys...either ABC or ESPN2...depending on where you live. (Sigh)...another noon game. I hate noon games. 


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ON THE AIR WITH A LOT TO SHARE


We return to radio this morning after a week off. Expecting Worldwide and Case to join me in the studio as we cover Volleyball, Football, Field Hockey, Soccer, Hoops and more! 

I suspect we'll have a bit of Halloween mischief as well on the broadcast today. We won't be in costume...but wouldn't Worldwide be well-cast as an Ewok and Case as Herman Munster? As for Paulie...definitely as a UK Football player. That would scare the bee-jeezus out of a bunch of people. 

Tune in! We start haunting the airwaves at 11 a.m. 

LINK: THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR


paulie
xxxxx



Friday, October 28, 2016

WBB ranked #8 in USA Today Poll...WSOC ends season with 2-1 loss to Virginia -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



USA TODAY/COACHES POLL PLACES WBB 8th.

Tis the season for pre-season rankings. We've seen Louisville ranked as high as #2 in the conglomeration of these pundits. Another county heard from...the USA Today/Coaches say Louisville is #8. 

I have no problem with that. When you consider the top five (UConn, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Baylor and Maryland) were a combined 171-10 last year and that all have recruited well and return significant talent...they are worthy of such pre-season praise. After that, I might question Texas (31-5) and Ohio St. (26-8) being above the Cards (26-8)...but, after all, it is pre-season. 

The ACC landed five schools in the top-25 (Notre Dame, Louisville, #12 Florida State, #13 Syracuse #20 Miami)...which pretty much mirrors what the esteemed Blue Ribbon panel came up with at ACC WBB Media Days...so, call me Captain Obvious if you want...but it's gonna be one tough conference again. 

It's interesting to note that five different conferences (AAC, ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Big 10) are represented in the top five. All-in-all, five conferences are represented in this top-25 version...Six SEC teams, five from the ACC and PAC 12, four from the Big 12, three from the BIG 10 and two from the AAC. UK comes in at #19 in the poll. DePaul and Doug Bruno...who knocked the Cards out of the dance last year...checks in at #21. 

It all gets underway next Sunday with an exhibition game against Howie Lindsey  Lindsey Wilson at the Chicken-Basket-by-the-river. 


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WSOC ENDS SEASON WITH 2-1 LOSS TO VIRGINIA

It was a 11% chance to begin with that the combination of games last night could propel the Kickin' Cards to the ACC Tournament. But, it was exciting near the end...Louisville coming back from a 2-0 deficit and hammering away at the Cavs. 

Louisville cut the lead in the 68th. minute to 2-1 on what was originally described as a goal by Alison Price, then termed as an "own goal" by Virginia and then reverted to a goal by Price. They nearly tied it in the 87th. minute when Brooklynn Rivers fired at the goal but the shot was barely deflected by Cavs goalkeep Morgan Sterns. 

In the end, though...it was a loss. NC State, who had the edge in getting the eighth spot for the ACC Tournament, ended up getting an overtime goal to beat Pitt 2-1 and will face Notre Dame to start the post-season conference tourney. Virginia Tech had about 15 minutes to dream they might get the spot...with a 1-0 win over Wake Forest. The trials and tribulations of watching three games simultaneously...I woke up this morning seeing everything in threes...

The Cards end the season 7-7-4 and in tenth place in the ACC. Preseason polls had Louisville finishing tenth. The future does look bright for WSOC at Louisville, though. So many freshmen and sophomores contributing. Solid junior class returning. 

Big things tonight in Lynn....#1 RPI ranking Clemson comes to do battle with the #3 ranked men's soccer team. Take a canned good (or several) and get in free. They kick at 7 p.m.


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VOLLEYBALL HOSTS FLA STATE TONIGHT

If your UofL women's sports fix needs a refill...we suggest you head to the KFC YUM! Center tonight to see the Wide Net Cards tussle with FSU. 

It hasn't been a stellar season for Anne Kordes' Krew...at 




For Louisville women's soccer...it's win or stay home -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



WSOC NEEDS A WIN TONIGHT...AND A LITTLE HELP FROM SOME FRIENDS


The classic Beatles song "With A Little Help From My Friends" could apply to the Louisville women's soccer team tonight as they face Virginia at 7 p.m. in Lynn Stadium. The Kickin' Cards are on the outside, looking in at the eight-team ACC Tournament...one point back from NC State, who is in eighth with 10 points and tied with Virginia Tech at nine points. 

You could even use the Beatles lyrics "Help! I need somebody." in this case.

The scenario is simple. A Louisville win and losses or ties by both the Wolfpack and Hokies puts the Cards in the Oct. 30th ACC Tournament first round.

Not being one who is good at probability statistics...I don't know the odds of these three separate events coming to fruition...but they're probably pretty high. 

Defeating the Cavs is the first step. It will not be easy. UVA is 12-3-2 overall and
5-2-2 in the ACC. They're also #7 in the nation, according to both the Top Drawer and NCAA Coaches polls. In fifth place in the rankings in the ACC with 17 points. Louisville hasn't defeated a top 25 team this season. 

If the Cards (2-4-3, 7-6-4) get by the Cavs, they'll need Wake Forest (2-7-0, 10-7-0) to win or tie at Virginia Tech (2-4-3, 10-5-3) and Pitt (1-8-0, 2-14-1) to win or tie at NC State (3-5-1, 9-7-1). OK, enough with the numbers, right? 

Other remote scenarios...which would create tie-breaker scenarios would be the Cards getting a tie and NC State losing, Cards getting a tie and NC State losing and Virginia Tech getting a tie. 

OK, maybe the scenario isn't all that simple. 

But, to keep the season going, to best control their fate...the Cards would be best served with a win and a couple of upsets. 

The Cards were picked 10th in the league in the preseason ACC polls. They'll end up in 10th. if they lose tonight. They are guaranteed at least a .500 season this year, no matter what happens tonight. If they get into the ACC Tournament, they'd find...most likely duke waiting for them in the first game...but possibly Florida State, Clemson or Notre Dame...depending on how action goes tonight. Louisville did tie Duke during the regular season. Thank goodness there are no ties in conference tournament play.

It is a Cardinal team that has depended on a lot of youth this year and gotten some great results from frosh and sophs. They graduate only five players...four of them transfers into the program and just one starter in goalkeep Taylor Bucklin. 

I've heard it said by more than one ACC Network Extra announcer (who isn't affiliated with Louisville) that the Cards look like they could be a serious ACC title contender in 2-3 years.

I believe it. 


paulie
xxxxx 



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Louisville women's basketball -- What Are You Looking Forward To? -- Wednesday CARDINAL COUPLE



2016-17 SEASON FOR LOUISVILLE WBB DRAWS NEAR



I had the chance to sit down with an old buddy recently and do some catching up. Among the many things we discussed...one surprised me. He had a question about the Louisville Women's basketball team. From a guy who never really paid that much attention to women's sports in general, I think we have have converted him into a fan. He asked me what was the biggest thing(s) he should look for if he and his wife were to attend a few games this year? 

This is not an easy question to answer in a short response. I'm not sure I adequately answered his question...but I did encourage him to get out, show up and cheer. As I was thinking about our conversation this morning, I thought I'd create an article about it.

What are you looking forward to when it comes to Louisville Women's Basketball this season? Here are some things I came up with. Feel free to expound upon and discuss in the comments sections at the end of this article.


1) Freshman Impact. The Cards have six freshmen on the roster (plus a fifth year player). A variety of front-liners, guards and wings. This is the tallest class that Jeff Walz has recruited in his ten years at Louisville. How will Kylee Shook, Ciera Johnson and Bionca Dunham fit into to the schematics of a squad that has Myisha Hines-Allen, Cortnee Walton and Sam Fuehring as paint-patrollers? This group of girls (all 6'2" or taller) gives Coach Walz and the coaching staff a plethora of options.

Add in the reports that Hines-Allen and Fuehring are improved at outside shooting and free-throws. Walton is finishing better under the basket. If you take 80 minutes (which is the total amount of time that would be available in a game for the "4" and "5") and divide it among these seven...you get roughly 11 minutes a game per player. We might likely see that in the early going. I'm looking forward to see the different combinations and how they mesh together and with the rest of the players on the court. 

Guards/wings Jazmine Jones, Sydney Zambrotta and Jessica Laemmle bring depth to positions that were a little thin at times last year. The Cards shot 31.9% from the three-point line last year. Along with Taylor Johnson...will these new additions increase that accuracy? Will they vye for starting (or finishing) minutes with returnees Arica Carter, Briahanna Jackson, Asia Durr, Mariya Moore and Brianna Jones



2) Who will start? I get this question ranging from novice/new fans to seasoned sportscasters? I'm not sure Walz or the staff even know that yet. But, as Walz is quick to point out...that's not as important as who he puts out there in the final minutes of a close game. Reports are Jackson has impressed at point guard with her distributing skills.  Durr is back to 100%. Carter is rehabbing from a keg injury but is expected to be ready for the first scrimmage on November 6th. 

I would surmise that you want a starting line-up out there which is capable of putting a great distance between you and your opponents early on. Tough defense, multiple scoring options and consistency. i'll offer a starting lineup possibility...but it's pure conjecture and a dart-board guess...

PG - Briahanna Jackson
SG - Asia Durr
Wing - Mariya Moore
Forward - Myisha Hines-Allen
Center - Cortnee Walton

The thing is, I've probably given out 4-5 different lineup possibilities over the last several days. We'll see how close I am in the early going. 


3) Can the Cards get to the Final Four this year? They definitely can. Depth at all positions. Talent at all positions. Superior coaching. Outside shooting on the improve. Athleticism like we've never seen. The key is putting it all together in a consistent fashion. Look to see how the Cards do in early contests...especially at Middle Tennessee, in the three-games-in-three-days Hall of Fame Challenge at the YUM! Center. A killer stretch starts on Nov. 27th. with a Sunday contest against South Carolina in Springfield, MA. followed by visits from Maryland, Kentucky and WKU over a 10 day stretch. If Louisville is 11-0 after this gauntlet...I love their chances to get to the Final Four. I am looking forward to this matchup against the Gamecocks (like a lot of you and the players are) and the early December action. 

4) How much better can Myisha Hines-Allen get? Well, there's NCAA Player of the Year...which has been owned by now-graduated "Stewie" from UConn. She'll tell you that she's working on the mid-range and deeper shot making and selection (she was 0-4 from 3-point land last year). She led the team in fouls last year (along with Moore). All areas she has room to grow and improve. She's already, in my opinion, the third best player to don a Louisville WBB uniform in history (behind Angel and Shoni). Can she vault to #1 or #2? An NCAA Championship or Final Four trip would help. 



We are 11 days away from the exhibition game against Lindsey Wilson. 16 days until the season-opener at UT Martin. 15 players. 31 games before conference play. 22,000 seats to fill in the KFC YUM! Center. 4 coaches to plan, assess, instruct and decide. 

We're seven months past from that disappointing Sunday in March at the KFC YUM! Center...when DePaul knocked off the Cards in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

I wouldn't mind if I never felt the way again I did that afternoon. 

I see talented young, impressive experience, quality coaching, a fan-base raring and ready to go. I answer questions daily about the 2016-17 Louisville WBB squad. Sometimes, I might even get the answers somewhat right. It's akin to waiting for Christmas morning. A renewal of hope and dreams.

I'm looking forward to this season. I'm ready  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Louisville Women's Golf tied for fifth in Cardinal Cup -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



LAUREN HARTLAGE LEADS CARDS GOING INTO FINAL DAY


Freshman Lauren Hartlage, from Elizabethtown, KY., leads Louisville women's golf with a seven over par 151 after two days in the Cardinal Cup at the UofL Golf Club in Simpsonville, KY. Hartlage is tied for 10th in the individual standings.

The Chip and Putt Cards are tied with East Carolina for fifth and are 20 strokes behind Florida State as the team head into the final 18 holes today. Louisville completed their first round on Sunday tied for fifth. 

Sophomore Olivia Cason is tied for 14th after 36 holes. Shannon Gramley is currently tied for 37th for Louisville's "A" team and Molly Skapic rounds out the Cardinals with a tie for 45th. 

Red-shirt freshman Meghan Nay leads the "B" squad for the Cards with a 36 hole total of 154 and is tied with Gramley at 37th. They are at 15th. in the 17 team field.

The action begins today at 9:30 a.m. with a shotgun start. (Hopefully, the players will be out of firing range!) 


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ACC FIELD HOCKEY TOURNAMENT SET...CARDS #5 SEED

Louisville Field Hockey (15-3, 3-3) earns the #5 seed in the ACC Field Hockey Championship and will face #4 seed North Carolina in the opening game of the event. The two will square off at 11 a.m. Thursday morning Nov. 3rd at Wake Forest's field in Winston Salem, NC. If the Cards down the Heels, they'll face #1 seed Duke Friday Nov. 4th. at 1 p.m.

Syracuse earned the #2 seed and plays #7 seed Wake Forest. Boston College will start as the #3 seed and face #6 seed Virginia on Thursday. 

The Cards downed UNC 1-0 at Trager Stadium on Oct. 15th. Louisville narrowly lost to Duke 2-1 at Trager back on Sept. 16th. 

Louisville plays their final game of the regular season at Michigan this Saturday at 1 p.m. in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines are #16 ranked in the latest poll at 10-6. They have lost to ACC opponents UNC and Wake Forest this season. 

One could make an argument for all seven ACC teams making the NCAA Tournament this year. Five ACC schools (Duke, UNC, Lou., Syracuse and VA) are in the top ten. Boston College is #13th and Wake Forest is #16. All seven teams made the "Big Stick" last year...in a 18 team format that had three ACC teams in the Final Four and Syracuse winning the NCAA title over North Carolina. 

Fun times ahead for the Sowry Stick Girls!


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HOW EARLY IS TOO EARLY? 


Rowe is from Pikeville, KY
Recent news on the UofL WBB program indicates that 2020 prospect Sydney Parrish, 2021 #1 ranked Azzi Fudd and 2022 Cassidy Rowe are getting a lot of love from the UofL coaches. 

2019 star Nyah Green has already verballed to UofL.

The 2017 prospects are seniors in high school currently. That means the Cards are keeping a watchful eye on a current sophomore, freshman, eighth grader and seventh grader.

So, the question begs itself...should we really get over-the-top excited about what middle-school kids are doing...even if they're playing varsity basketball? 

I think I remember in the seventh grade that I wanted to replace Dick Butkus as the Chicago Bears middle linebacker. I went through a lot of different career choices before I entered college. None of which my parents took too seriously.



Azzi Fudd...welcome to the 8th grade! 
Finding talent early is good, don't get me wrong. Bobby Knight wanted Damon Bailey at IU when he was an eighth grader. But, a lot of things change from the seventh grade to high school graduation. 

I wonder if Myishia Hines-Allen and Mariya Moore knew where they wanted to go as eighth graders? Bionca Dunham wasn't even playing organized basketball in 2011 as an eighth-grader. Nita Slaughter was in the Louisville-thinking mode as a ninth grader. I guess it depends on the kid, the talent and the recognition. 

Yes. Recruiting has changed. 


paulie
xxxxx



Monday, October 24, 2016

Meatloaf Monday? Not Quite - Monday Cardinal Couple

In the words of the classic Meatloaf song, "two outta three ain't bad". Alas the main three women's sports only managed one outta three Sunday. All three of, Field Hockey, Soccer, and Volleyball were on the road, but only Field Hockey chalked one up in the win column.

Field Hockey


We're down to the nitty gritty in Field Hockey, with only one game left this weekend.  The conference slate is all wrapped up and the ACC tournament field is set.  The Cards still have the opportunity to make a statement at the national level, with a game against #12 Michigan Saturday afternoon at 1pm in Ann Arbor.

In the meantime, the team took care of business this weekend in Virginia with bouts against #9 Virginia, and #17 James Madision.  The 3-2 win over Virginia was recapped in the Saturday edition of the Cardinal Couple.  The Cards continued to roll with a 4-2 win over James Madison, the Dukes, in Harrisonburg, VA.  The Cardinal faithful were loud and proud and could be heard on the live stream that JMU thoughtfully provided online.

JMU actually dominated a significant amount of the playing time, maintaining the pressure on the Cardinals defense and Ayeisha McFerran with 13 shots, and 6 on-goal.  The Cards only got 9 shots off, but were more efficient, with 7 of them on goal.  To be fair, the 4 score for the Cards was in the waning minutes of the game against an empty net (here's your cue Paulie).

Goals were scored for the Cards by Lotta Kahlert who fired a rebound off of a save home in the 6th minute, Lizzie Gittens who got a corner penalty in the net off a JMU deflection and assists to Nicole Woods and Stephanie Byrne in the 32nd minute  Finally, Nicole Woods gets the last two, both in the 2nd half, in the 42nd minute with an assist to Abby Grimes, and the last in the 66th minute into an empty net on a break, with an assist to Marigrace Ragsdale.

James Madison is definitely a quality non-conference win, and will only help the Cards' resume' as
they head into NCAA tournament selection time.  There is essentially no doubt that the Cards will have a berth, and of course, an ACC tournament victory, while a big challenge, is of course still a possibility for an automatic qualifier.  Really the Cards are playing for seeding, though.

Before we get too far ahead, however, we do still have a regular season game against another high quality non-conference opponent in Michigan.  The Wolverines have played a blistering schedule, with wins over then #1 UNC, #7 Wake Forest, #11 Stanford, and are just coming off of wins against current #16 Iowa, and #10 Northwestern.  The only head scratcher I can find in their schedule is only a mild one against an unranked Indiana team that has played some quality opponents to very tight games.

Beyond the regular season, the Cards will also tackle the ACC tournament starting November 3rd against 5th seed UNC with the winner to play top seed Duke, who gets the sole bye.  In other games, 7th seed Wake Forest tangles with Syracuse, and 6th seed Virginia draws 3rd seed  Boston College.  The tournament goes through November 5th, and all games are on The ACC Network Extra.

Soccer


The Women's Soccer team lost a heartbreaker against a good Florida State team who stands 2nd in the ACC with a 6-1-2 record.  This one was scoreless through most of the game, with the stats overall looking quite even.

I only got to watch a few minutes of this one in between watching Field Hockey and Volleyball, but after playing most of the game competitively, it has to hurt for the opponent to get the only goal of the game in the 81st minute.

Taylor Bucklin performed well in goal with 3 saves (matched by FSU's 3).  The only real stat divergence is in corner kick opportunities, where FSU had 4, with 3 of them coming in the 2nd half, while UofL didn't get any.  The would be a credit to clean defensive play by FSU.

The Kickin' Cards have one more regular season game, against Virginia here at Lynn Stadium.  The Cards current sit in 10th place in the ACC, while only 8 teams make the ACC tournament.  8th place is still theoretically in reach for them to sneak into the tournament.  A tie would put us in a tie in the standings with NC State (assuming they don't get any more points)...a team that we tied with when we played them (here's your cue Case).  An outright win by the Cards puts them in 8th place...assuming NC State and VT don't get wins of their own.  The takeaway here is that it's still a tangled mess, but UofL still has an opportunity to get into the ACC championship.

Volleyball


After a decent win against VT on Friday, the Cards dropped the match against Pitt, in Pittsburgh in
straight sets.  Pitt is roughly at the top of the middle of the pack in ACC.  They're a team that has consistently improved, year over year, for the past several years.

The Cards' passing and digging woes continue, although I felt (and this is a very subjective impression of the play) like it is improving, but it still has a long way to go.  Molly Sauer got 15 digs, which is pretty good for a 3 set match.  Meanwhile Melanie McHenry got 7, Morgan Miller, who is really developing well as a player late in this season, got 5, and Gabbie Wiley got 4.  What's not really captured in the stats, (and thus I can't really quantify well) is how many passing mistakes were made to get those digs.

On the offensive side of things, the bright spot, while not terribly bright, is Jasmine Bennet again, with a .200 average with 7 kills on 20 attempts.  Morgan Miller has the next highest percentage at .129 with 7 kills on 31 attempts.  The Cards were without Janelle Jenkins again this weekend as she is continuing to recover from a strained PCL.  Due to (I'm gonna be blunt, here) a very stupid ACC rule, the team can only take 15 players on road trips, so Jenkins didn't even travel with the team this past weekend.  The team is hoping to have her back in action this weekend at The KFC Yum! Center.

Still a lot of season left for Volleyball.  This weekend sees the Florida contingent of the ACC coming to town, with #12 Florida State on Friday with a 6pm start, and Miami comes in Sunday with a 2pm start.

-- JMcA

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Saturdays are for Football -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Offense Returns to Form; UofL Routs NC State 54-13


Yesterday was a pretty big day for Louisville football. I'll talk more about the national picture in a bit, but the biggest story of the day for the Cards was the return of a high octane offense and a suffocating defense. The Cards were clicking on all cylinders in the first half of yesterday's game, with Lamar Jackson racking up four touchdowns and the defense picking up three interceptions on the way to a 44-0 halftime lead. Louisville went on to let up in the second half, with NC State actually winning the half 13-10. Of course, during this time, Louisville attempted fewer big plays down the field, played much more conservatively on defense, and got a bit sloppy overall. I would be disappointed, but with the game in hand so early, I'm really just surprised that the starters stayed in as long as they did.

The defense deserves some love. After disappointing performances in the Clemson game and the third quarter of the Duke game, the Cardinals defense came out with their hair on fire against NC State. The aforementioned three interceptions were just a product of continual pressure on the quarterback and yielding absolutely no ground in the run game. The defense played with a purpose, to show that while Louisville may live and die on the performance of Lamar Jackson, the defense will fight tooth and nail to the death if he isn't performing well. This half was a reminder that when all the parts of the Louisville team are operating the way they should, this team can dominate anyone, just like they showed against FSU. The starting defense was tagged for all 13 NC State points, but they did their fair share to make up for it. (I still think the receiver was out of bounds for their first touchdown anyway.) Outside of Shaq Wiggins getting torched (not sure why he replaced Jaire Alexander as the starter again), the defense was on point. In addition to the interceptions, they tallied up a blocked punt and turned two Louisville turnovers inside their own 40 yard line into zero NC State points. Welcome back, Cardinal Defense, you've been missed.

LJ8 has been practicing this pose all season.
You know who else deserves some love? The kicking game. Namely, Blanton Creque and Mason King. After Evan O'Hara missed two field goals before taking the roughing penalty that saved the game last week, Blanton Creque regained the starting spot this week. I think that he did plenty to cement it, going out and tying the school record for points in a game by a kicker with 18 (4/4 field goals and 6/6 extra points). He had a lot of help from punter, Mason King, who is also the holder. As NC State showed, a holder is just as important as a kicker, as a muffed hold led to a missed extra point on NC State's second touchdown. Mason King had a good kicking game of his own, sticking two punts inside the 5 yard line. Let's remember that all these guys in the kicking game are freshmen, and get excited about their potential growth in a Louisville uniform.

Told ya.
With defense and special teams covered, the only thing left to talk about is the offense. Although they stalled in the second half (am I still allowed to blame bad ACC officiating if we win by 40?), the offense returned to form against NC State, scoring on all but one drive in the first half, with the one stop being a very strange fumble by James Quick. Lamar Jackson accounted for four touchdowns and gained 459 total yards (though he lost 28 of those via sacks). It was a good day to get his Heisman campaign back on track, even if Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) and Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech) put up more video game like numbers against JV defenses in the night game. Lamar Jackson has now accounted for 34 touchdowns on the season, and while his average per game has dropped below five, I think that he still has a great opportunity to break Colt Brennan's record for touchdowns in a single season (63).

The National Picture


After Louisville's loss to Clemson, the road to the playoff got a bit windier. Louisville needed to win the rest of its games (check so far) and needed to pray to the college football gods for chaos. Until yesterday, that chaos hadn't quite come about yet. First, the bad. Houston lost again. This time it was at SMU, and they will surely fall like a rock from their top 15 position. That November road game has gone from a potential statement win for the Cards to a must win, lest we lose a lot of the national respect we've garnered this season. Also coming into the bad column is a Kentucky win. Of course, from a purely objective standpoint, we want Kentucky to win every game that isn't against Louisville. From a personal standpoint, though, this one makes me sad for a couple of reasons. One reason is that I generally just don't like Kentucky. The second reason is because I have to attend a wedding at 5:30 on the day of the Louisville vs Kentucky football game and I quite desperately need Kentucky to continue being bad so that game is played at noon.

Now onto the good things that happened for Louisville. Stanford and Oregon continue to lose. That's fantastic because the more they lose, the less impressive Washington's "statement wins" end up being. If it is a one loss beauty contest between Louisville and Washington, we need the PAC-12 to be completely terrible so that Washington comes out of that conference looking like the prettiest pig. That said, Washington still needs to lose, and they have yet to do that. Alabama beat Texas A&M, which is good, because a one loss non-conference champion Alabama would definitely get in over a Louisville team of similar stature. I'm not sure A&M carries that same weight, but I'd rather them lose again at some point to be sure. Finally, Ohio State was upset at Penn State last night. That loss is huge for the Cards. The Michigan vs Ohio State game is interesting now. I personally think that Louisville makes it easily over Michigan if they both have one loss and don't win their respective conferences. However, if Michigan goes out and beats Ohio State, then the B1G seals its fate with only one playoff team.

Things are looking up Cards fans. The Lamar Jackson show hits the road this week to take on Virginia. As always, we'll look for Bobby to mop the floor with the opposition.

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The Men's Basketball Team is Doing Stuff!!


And that stuff doesn't include paying for scandalous things in dorms or overcrowding the aisle at a football game in a manner that is clearly a fire hazard. With the Notice of Allegations coming out last week, it looks like Louisville is out of the woods on this whole scandal thing, and will face no more than the previously imposed postseason ban and a potential suspension for Rick Pitino. That's all I really care about saying or speculating on that matter, though, and there are plenty of other sources where you can go gorge yourself of information about it. 

The Men's Basketball team has now completed both of its Red v White scrimmages, which is a clear sign that the season is upon us. After a barn burner in the first game, a 105-102 final, one team ran away with the show Friday night. The White team took it to the Red team, winning 123-80. Jay Henderson (yep, Jay Henderson) paced the White team with 29 points, hitting 9 of 10 shots from behind the arc. Quentin Snider and Deng Adel each had 8 assists for the white team, and Donovan Mitchell put together and impressive line of 21 points, five assists, three steals, and a block. The Red team's bright point on Friday was Ray Spalding with 12 boards and 11 points. 

The Cards take the floor against their first opponent that isn't themselves on November 3rd at 7:00 PM. Kentucky Wesleyan will come to town and play their part in the first exhibition game of the season. 

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On the Road Again...


It's a busy day for Cardinal athletics, but you'd be hard pressed to attend any of these games, as they're all on the road. Here's the lightening round. Women's soccer is at Florida State. After a rough outing against Miami they need points however they can get them to make it to the ACC tournament. Women's volleyball is at Pittsburgh. I don't know anything about Pittsburgh, but I know that Anne Kordes would love for her team to start winning some ACC matches. Men's soccer is at NC State. They had a rough week, but righted the ship with a win over Ohio State. They'll be looking to solidify their conference lead with good performances today and Friday when a top ten Clemson team comes to town. Finally, field hockey is at James Madison. They'll look to round out the non conference regular season with wins, but will have to not look ahead to the conference tournament too much. The Cards tied for 3rd in the conference with three other teams (too few conference games will do that), and will take on North Carolina in their first game in the conference tournament. Reminder that Louisville won that regular season matchup 1-0 at Trager while UNC was ranked in the top five.

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Case, you forgot the radio link.


No, I didn't. Due to the timing of yesterday's game, we decided to take the week off from the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. We'll be back in the WCHQ studio next week where you can hear me talk like I know more than I really do about college football. You can also hear Paulie and Wordlwide talk about things they actually know about, like Louisville women's sports. If you absolutely need your fix, head on over to Crescent Hill Radio's website and check out some of the old shows in the archives. 

Until next time, Go Cards.
-CH-

Saturday, October 22, 2016

2 for 2 Friday For Louisville women's sports -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


FIELD HOCKEY, VOLLEYBALL CAPTURE WINS

A great way to start the weekend with both Louisville Volleyball and Field Hockey going on the road, both in Virginia and getting wins! Let's look at them.


O.T Thriller for the Stick Girls

In a contest that statistically favored the Cavaliers, the Cards pulled through 10 minutes into overtime when freshman Minout Mink beat the coverage and took an Erin McCrudden feed to drive down the field, juke a defender and send a shot into the net to give Louisville a 3-2 victory. it almost never got to the extra session, as you'll read below. 

V.T. took an early 1-0 lead on the Cards but Louisville got the first-half equalizer when the Cards capitalized on a penalty corner. Mink's shot was deflected but Shannon Sloss there for the rebound and guided the ball into the net. Louisville would take a first half lead when Mink took a Nicole Woods pass just outside the circle and found net success with 8:40 left in the first half. 

The Cavs evened it up with 14 minutes left in regulation and appeared to win the match with six seconds left in regulation when it looked that they had scored off a penalty corner. Louisville called for the challenge and upon further review, the referees reversed the call and no goal was allowed. 

That set the stage for the 15 minute, 7v7 O.T. and Mink's 14th goal of the season. 

Ayeshia McFerran, who actually had to leave the contest for almost three minutes due to a penalty card, logged an incredible 12 saves in the match...Virginia out shot the Cards 22 to 12 and had 14 shots on goals...compared to Louisville's nine. 

The Cards (14-3, 3-3) step out of conference next but stay in Virginia to face James Madison on Sunday. 

Next, we go from Charlottesville to Blacksburg on our swing through Virginia to check in on Volleyball



WIDE NETTERS TAKE DOWN HOKIES IN 4 SETS.  

Four Cardinals combined for 50 kills in the 25-18, 25-10, 22-25, 25-22 win over the Gobblers Friday night. Melanie McHenry led the way with 15...followed by Tess Clark's 14, Morgan Miller's 11 and Jasmine Bennett's 10.

Louisville broke open a close first set with an 8-0 run to seal the deal. The second set was never close...UofL taking a 11-2 early lead and pushing it to 20-5 to win by 15. 

After the break, the Hokies regrouped to down the Cards by three. An 8-0 start benefited VT...Louisville climbed back to within one at 17-16 but the Techsters closed out the contest strong to force the fourth set. 

Louisville seemingly had things under control with a 17-10 lead in the final set but the determined Hokies came back to tie things up at 22. The Cards were able to regroup and get the final three points to end the match. 

(Worldwide will offer his in-depth analysis on this "W" in his Monday column). 

The Cards (7-12, 2-7) get their second ACC win of the season and will head north to Pittsburgh next...they'll play the Panthers Sunday at 3 p.m. 


GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN (We hope...)

We're taking a "bye" week on THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR due to scheduling conflicts but we'll be back with you on the 29th. for our Halloween edition of the show...(as if we weren't scary enough!) GO CARDS! 

paulie
xxxxx