Friday, November 25, 2016
Volleyball wraps up season tonight...Football Saturday vs. Cats -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
BOSTON COLLEGE VISITS AS VB WRAPS UP SEASON
The end of the 2016 UofL Volleyball season comes tonight when Boston College visits the Cards in the KFC YUM! Center at 7 p.m. Louisville (11-18, 6-13) will not being going to post-season play and the Anne Kordes era ends as well as the Cards take on the Eagles (8-21, 3-16) in a match that has little more significance than both teams trying to end their season on a win and positive note and, in Louisville's case...sending off a beloved coach with a win.
Kordes is 274-136 (66.8%) going into her final game. Her Louisville record is 132-61 (72.3%)...the Wide Net Cards won titles and she was coach of the year in three different leagues (Big East, AAC, ACC).
This probably wasn't the type of season that Anne would have picked to end her 20 year career in college volleyball. Even though the Cards only lost three to graduation from last year, a couple of key transfers and a relatively young and inexperienced squad struggled with in-state foe Kentucky and the majority of the ACC opponents this season.
Kordes leaves behind some very good emerging talent that her successor (still unnamed) can build on...plus a noted recruiting class potentially arriving on campus. Defense and consistency are a couple of things that the new floor boss will need to work on...but with Melanie McHenry, Morgan Miller, Jasmine Bennett, Molly Sauer, Tess Clark, Maggie DeJong, Kali Eaken and others returning...the Cards do have a solid nucleus with game experience back in the fold...pending transfers, of course. Only Lyndsay Palmer and Janelle Jenkins graduate.
Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich is conducting a nationwide search for Kordes' successor...but more than just a few feel that the new skipper should be a guy who is already on the staff...associate coach Alex Wilharm.
Kordes gives him high marks:
"Alex has proven he can make an impact in the gym and with recruiting and building relationships within our team and the university. He is a phenomenal representative of the Louisville Volleyball team and the University. He is also one of the sharpest and youngest coaching minds out there. He is going to rise fast."
Sounds like a good fit to us. Jurich has rolled the dice many a time on candidates that, for whatever reason, weren't getting high profile attention. Consider the names Dan McDonnell, Ken Lolla, Charlie Strong and Jeff Walz...just to name a few.
Neither age nor lack of head coaching experience should be a factor in the hiring, in my opinion...but a few have told me they think it eventually will be in this case. If that happens, Wilharm...who has been the subject already of inquiry from other programs...is probably gone. It would be a shame to lose him. The thing is...Jurich rarely replaces at the top from within the ranks. (See McDonnell, Lolla, Strong and Walz)
A season ends, a new era begins and the future is full of questions for Louisville Volleyball fans. The program is vastly attractive as a "end destination" job to many...with high attendance, superb facilities, competitive conference and a large fan-base. We await the next chapter after tonight.
BATTLE OF THE BLUEGRASS SATURDAY
ESPN has determined that Louisville and Kentucky shall play at noon in the 29th meeting to see who wins the Governors Cup. The series is tied at 14-14.
I've said it before and I'll mention it again that I'm not a fan of noon kickoffs. First, it means we either cancel or pre-record THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR that we do weekly...experiments with Jeff in the studio and me on game site for game day just didn't turn out as well as we wanted...and it also means we have to prepare for a show without any knowledge of late-breaking events that can sometimes occur Friday or early Saturday.
It is what it is...though...and we carry on.
The game. Can the Cards contain the potent Kentucky rushing game that features Stephen Johnson, Boom Williams and Benny Snell, Jr.? Will Louisville get a dysfunctional offensive line back together that was absolutely "el-stinko" against Houston last Thursday? Can the Cats run "The Wildcat" effectively against a fearsome Cardinal defense? Does Lamar Jackson have a field day in rushing and finding receivers against a Cats secondary that has improved immensely since the season began? Do the Cards take their sixth straight?
I'll visit with THE MORNING JAM crew on WCHQ 100.9 FM this morning at 8:00 to preview the game and the women's sports schedule for the weekend with Kevin and Bryce. Case, Worldwide and I will gather later today to record the radio show and ponder these same questions. Then, it's off to Churchill Downs to record the final segment of HANDICAPPING HEROES for the year. If I have any energy left, a trip downtown to see the final Louisville kills and sets of the season.
You can listen to The Morning Jam, which starts at 7 AM at the link below:
KEVIN AND BRYCE BRING PAULIE IN FOR THE MORNING JAM
Black Friday? Nope, don't think so. More like a Cards and Churchill Friday. Not a bad combination at all...