Tuesday, October 4, 2016
On The Sidelines...Paulie looks at Four UofL Coaches -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
FALL SPORTS FINDS FIVE COACHES FINDING RESULTS
Here at CARDINAL COUPLE, our mission is to promote the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports from a fan's viewpoint. We've also been doing a bit of dabbling in Football and men's soccer as of late...we know many of our readers and many of the women's coaches, staff and student athletes are fans of these two men's sports....just as the participants of Football and men's Soccer are avid fans of women's sports.
Sometimes, maybe we get too caught up in the particular student-athletes that are scoring the goals, making the plays, creating the opportunities and combining all this with academics and community service. So, today...let's take a look at four fall coaches. After all, it is the coaches and their assistants and staff that are responsible for getting the Lamar Jackson's, Melanie McHenry's, Ayeshia McFerran's, Brooklyn Rivers and Stefan Cleveland's on campus and in Cardinal uniforms, right?
-- Bobby Petrino. More than any time in the history of Louisville football, the program is garnering vast national attention and the highest rankings in history. While Jackson, Cole Hikutini, James Quick, Brandon Radcliff, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Jaire Alexander are getting their share of headlines because of their stellar play...let's also give credit to the chief architect of the firm...Bobby Petrino. "Bobby-Ball" is exciting, diverse, powerful and productive. It's been a long road for Mr. Petrino to get back into the national spotlight. You know the past. This is a new Coach Petrino. A man who has been changed, for the better, from the experiences in his life. While the same fiery, demanding, emotional and hyper-active man remains on the sidelines...it looks like he is somewhat a kinder, caring and gentleman type now. The Petrino Family Foundation. Humble and complimentary in public. A understated sense of humor.
I think that Bobby's days of job-hopping and risky public behavior are over. You now have a man who realizes just what he has, what he lost and how close he came to losing everything important to him. There are some out there who still watch him with a cautious and subjective eye. One thing is for certain, though...the man is an offensive genius. Experience is the best teacher....in many aspects of life. Louisville may not lose another football game this year and is one foot short of being still undefeated.
-- Justine Sowry. Field Hockey soars along with a well-earned 10-2 record and #7 ranking in the polls. Whereas Louisville football probably isn't in the strongest conference in the NCAA...there is little doubt that Louisville Field Hockey is. Like Petrino, this isn't the first stint for Sowry as a Louisville coach...first as an assistant for Pam Bustin for five years...a stint as the goalkeeping coach for the US National team and then a head coaching job at UMass for four years before returning to Louisville where she is in her sixth year as head coach.
Where Petrino is an offensive genius...Sowry is a defensive mastermind. She was one of the best goalies in Australia during her playing years and those concepts and skills have carried over to coaching. This year, a high-energy, fast-paced offensive attack compliments the solid defense. Combining a few freshmen with a couple of seasoned veterans...the Cards have scored 40 goals this season while allowing just nine. Last year they scored 42...the Cards still have seven regular season games to go, an ACC Tournament and a probable NCAA bid. Ayeshia McFerran, Minout Mink, Erin McCrudden, Shannon Sloss, Whena Munn, Lotta Kahlert, Nicole Woods, Abby Grimes, Stephanie Byrne, Taylor Stone, Lizzie Gittens and Marigrace Ragsdale
are the "12 apostles of the pitch" and there's no Judas in this bunch...
Sowry takes a very balanced, analytical and straight-forward approach to her coaching style (and interviews). Quick to praise an opponent, always ready to point out the good and bad aspects of her own team's performance and always calm, cool and collected on the sidelines...Sowry has established an identity for Louisville Field Hockey and Trager Stadium that lets opponents know that this team cannot be overlooked, will never give up the fight or intensity and will protect their home turf with the ferociousness of a mama bear guarding her cubs.
-- Karen Ferguson-Dayes In her time at Louisville, Coach KFD has probably seen and experienced it all.
She may just have one of the biggest wins in UofL women's sports history when her un-ranked Cardinals knocked off #1 North Carolina last year at Lynn Stadium. Playing originally in a track and field stadium converted for soccer...a cow pasture with bleachers and lights...she now shares the finest college soccer stadium in the NCAA with Ken Lolla. It is something she never takes for granted. When you spend time and talk with her, you are stuck by her compassion for her players, the fans, her family and things unrelated to soccer. You are impressed with her ability to adjust lineups and playing styles to fit the personnel she has available.
This year, she has found a new wrinkle to add to the always solid and effective defenses she's know for. A bold, new aggressiveness in the offensive attack. It is a delicate balance of fiery freshmen like Brooklynn Rivers, Sarah Feola and Allison Whitfield combined with upperclassmen Gabrielle Vincent, Alison Price and Inger Katrine-Bjerke. Toss in an absolutely fearless goalie in Taylor Bucklin and proven veterans such as Kaela Dickerman and Jill Vetere and you have a group that is capable of beating anyone, anywhere at any time.
Dayes handles it all with a watchful, objective and positive eye. Like the experienced hiker who knows that the trail has its hills, valleys and streams...Coach KFD knows that there are going to be high and low points in the course of a long season. The objective is to play as a team and work as a team and improve as the season progresses. The team unity on the 2016 squad is off-the-charts. The 7-3-2 record a quite pleasant and note-worthy achievement so far.
Look for the Kickin' Cards to continue their winning ways and make the ACC Tournament and...who knows....maybe even the NCAA bracket?
-- Anne Kordes
Anne Kordes will find a way to get it done. Whether it's moving an inter-squad exhibition match from one facility to another in mid-set or moving players from one position to another to get their maximum effectiveness..."Coach K" has a back-up plan and an eye for talent. Hometown girl makes it big and keeps the stars coming.
Anne Kordes is emotional, passionate and dedicated to what she does. As a former player related..."If you disagree with her about a particular aspect of the game, she'll give you the chance to show her you're right and she'll compliment you and back you if you are right. If you're wrong, though...she'll give you that look and you definitely learn from the experience."
It is not the best of seasons so far for her and her Volleyball squad. They have been beset with injuries, concussion protocols, lineup adjustments and a squad that is relatively new to each other and lacking experience. Anne sees the entire picture, the long range view, though...and knows that the mistakes and slip-ups from yesterday can serve as an opportunity to teach, learn and improve. That is what separates winners from losers and Kordes is definitely a winner.
She is the kind of person that will give you the shirt of her back and, at the same time, outline a plan for you to obtain a better shirt and wear it with pride. Out of the many coaches that we cover and follow in the course of a Cardinal Athletic season, she'd be my probable choice for most inspirational. A chat with Anne is like a crash-course primer in confidence, responsibility, acceptance and commitment.
In it for the long-haul, doing the work and steering the ship...Anne, like the
other three coaches we've featured today, realizes that the term "student-athlete" is much more than just showing up for practice, playing in games and studying for tests and midterms.
Louisville is quite fortunate to have all four of these leaders guiding their squads. It is one of the reasons that Louisville is the best college sports town in America.