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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Volleyball musing and WBB action -- Cardinal Couple Saturday

I Hear There's Some Volleyball News


Case hinted at it yesterday, and even suggested I would have some insider information, alas I really don't in this case.  The news, of course, is the announced resignation of Anne Kordes as the Head Coach of UofL Volleyball.

First, the question I've heard from a number of people.  "Am I shocked at the news?"  Only a little.  While there were no outward signs of an impending shake-up in the Volleyball program, I was hearing from many fans wondering what happens with the coaching situation at the end of this season.

The reason stated in the statements from Tom Jurich and Anne Kordes were personal, indicating that she wants to be able to devote more time and energy to raising her daughter Mary (if you've never been blessed to meet Mary, she's totally adorable!), and even a hint that she may want to expand her family in the future.  These are all laudable thoughts, and I believe every word of those statements are true.  I also believe that the harsh light of a less-than-stellar season tends to shine that harsh light on some tough decisions to be made.

I do want to take a moment to be clear about one point, though.  Coach Kordes is a single mother of a 3 year old daughter.  That's a hard job, and she signed up for it willingly and eagerly.  As a single guy with no children of my own, I can't even fathom the idea of raising a child, and the radical changes that it would necessarily bring about in my life.  I doff my cap to Anne Kordes for taking on that responsibility and being a wonderful mother.  Yes, she has an extremely supportive family and was in a position in life that allowed her to bring significant financial resources to bear to help in the situation, but that only goes so far.  Making the decision that being a volleyball coach at the level of play that is expected at UofL is too much of a struggle to balance with being a mother is no doubt a hard decision for her to make, and I see absolutely no reason to second-guess any step of her journey.

So what does this mean for the program?  Tom Jurich's statement says that he will begin a nationwide
search for a candidate for the position.  Let's be honest, though, he probably already has a list made of people he wants to talk to.  I don't expect an announcement of a new coaching hire at least until the NCAA Selection Show for Volleyball as any announcement before then, presuming it's a active head coach or assistant coach, would be a disservice to the team and school where that coach is currently.  Beyond that, an announcement of a new coaching hire could come at any point at which that team is eliminated from play.  I guess Jurich could hire a coach that is not currently active coaching, but that doesn't seem likely to me.

For our program, a new head coach almost certainly means a new coaching staff as well.  I will be disappointed to not have Alex Wilharm and Alyssa D'Errico around as they are both wonderful people that I always enjoy getting the opportunity to talk to.  They also are extremely good coaches, both of them, and I have no doubt that they will find positions on coaching staffs somewhere.  Alex may very well find himself in a head coaching position somewhere.  He deserves it.  

Will we see players decide to transfer?  Perhaps, but I don't think there will be many, and maybe not any.  It's been my perception that these players genuinely like each other, and that is a strong bond that can help hold a team together in a transition such as this.

This has been a rough season for the young women on this volleyball team, and this announcement just piled a heap of uncertainty on top of it.  My message to these young women is, "I am a fan of UofL Volleyball and you are part of that.  I will continue to be a fan, and be there to cheer and support you and this program."

And They Played a Match Last Night


On the heels of this uncertainty being heaped on them, this team had to play a match against Georgia
Tech last night.  No streaming on this one, so I'm working of Nancy Worley's recap and the box score.  The YellowJackets come away with this one in 4, (29-27, 26-24, 20-25, 25-19).  Sounds like it was a real barn-burner.  The Cards, despite taking the game to 29, only hit .087 in the first set

Post game, Coach Kordes praised Maggie DeJong for coming off the bench and getting 8 kills for an impressive .421 average.  Tess Clark and Jasmine Bennett continued to do good things in the middle with 8 and 9 kills (.350 and .316), while Melanie McHenry lead the team with 11 kills and was the only one in double-digits.  McHenry gets a double-double with 12 digs, and Morgan Miller once again gets an unusual double-double with 24 assists and 10 digs.  Miller was credited with 8 kills, and got the most attempts on the team at 41, which suggests that more of the offense is shifting her way, a sign of confidence in the sophomore.  She still needs to work on effectiveness when it comes her way, though, with a hitting average of only .049.  Miller's stat line is actually pretty amazing, with 8 kills, 24 assists, 10 digs and got in on 5 blocks.

 I've said for a number of years that Janelle Jenkins was the play-her-anywhere-and-she'll-do-well player of the team.  She may have been eclipsed by Miller who has added setting into the mix as well.  Both are amazing athletes and tremendously versatile, and I expect Miller to be a great asset for this team for the next couple of years.  I can't forget Molly Sauer.  I'm running out of ways to point out that she continues to be the defensive backbone of this team without getting much fanfare, with 24 digs last night.

The Cards head over to Clemson for a 1 o'clock match tomorrow.  This one is on the ACC Network Extra, so check it out before you head to the WBB game.

WBB Schedule


Speaking of WBB Scheduling, let's run down the next few days really quickly.

Today begins the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic and will see UofL play 3 games over the coming three
days.  Starting today at 4:30, Bowling Green State comes to town, tomorrow, also at 4:30, Lafayette will be at the KFC Yum! Center, and finally Monday evening at 7:30 Chattanooga will be in town.  All of these games will be on the ACC Network Extra.

The Hall of Fame Classic wraps up next Monday with a game against South Caroline in Springfield MA at 7:30pm, this one gets ESPN2 coverage.

If you missed the live broadcast, here's the replay below:

https://soundcloud.com/chradio/cardinal-couple-20161119

-- JMcA

6 comments:

  1. Anne will be missed but is there a shot that her associate coach Alex might get the job?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Worldwide can give a better surmising on this than I but from what I've seen...the players love him and he definitely knows the game.

      Paulie

      Delete
    2. I hope so, but I'm not holding my breath. Alex is, without a doubt, an up and coming coach, and I personally think he would be a fine one to occupy the spot, with the bonus of probably getting to keep Alyssa around as well.

      Will Jurich want to go that way? Your guess is as good as mine.

      Delete
  2. Has he had enough experience to handles the demands and pressures of being a head coach in a power conference?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would be surprised if Alex is picked. Louisville Volleyball, for the most part, is a pretty plum job and will probably get a head coach from a smaller college. But, If Jurich picks him, well, let's just say, I quit second guessing Tom Jurich a long time ago.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Much like my father, I really don't try to predict Jurich very much. Yes, Louisville is becoming a destination job in just about every sport, but Jurich also has a long track record of stepping out on a limb with promising, unconventional selections of coaches.

    He picked a Baseball coach in Dan McDonnell who was ambitious...so ambitious that he scared off other potential job offers. Other ADs didn't want a coach that was so ambitious that it was likely to cost the program money to keep up with those ambitions. Jurich loved it, and we have one of the better baseball programs in the country today.

    He took a similar chance on Men's Soccer Coach Ken Lolla. Similarly ambitious in a sport that many ADs would want to support only so much as to "round out" their department.

    He took a chance on a fairly young assistant coach with an extreme stutter...took a chance that someone so seemingly ill-fitted to be a the face of an organization could come in, and with support from the University (and not just the Athletic Department) could become a head coach not only known for being a mad scientist with a playbook, but also generally loved and sought out for his ability to work a room of supporters and potential fans.

    You can come up with similar reasoning as to why Petino, and Petrino round 2 were risky and unconventional hires.

    Alex has a great coaching mind, and he's already beloved by the players and fans. Yes, I think he is qualified to take over the program. It may be something of a risky, and perhaps unconventional, hire, but it wouldn't be the riskiest and most unconventional hire that Tom Jurich has done...not by a long shot.

    ReplyDelete

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