Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Promising spring, incoming class give Ferguson-Dayes plenty to smile about -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
WSOC Opens Home Exhibition Schedule Aug. 8th.
On a sun-splashed Tuesday morning I headed to the Belknap Campus to discuss the Louisville women's soccer program with head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes. Instead of the usual, yearly in-office, pre-season chat...I was directed to the McDonald's practice field to conduct the interview. (Ever wondered what the name of the soccer field next to the Bass-Rudd tennis courts and across from Trager Stadium and McDonald's was called? You now know.)
Summer camp was in session for 65 eager young girls dressed in white t-shirts. The Future Cardinals camp is designed to work with the younger players to develop comfortably and control of the ball. I got lucky, the campers were on a re-hydration break when I showed up..so Coach K. and I were able to get about ten minutes in before the whistles started blowing again. And...two UPS planes joined us as well....which you'll notice during the interview we'll play on Saturday's THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR. (We pride ourselves on getting a plane, train or siren during our outdoor interviews).
Louisville women's soccer begins the exhibition season on Aug 4th at Ohio State. Most the players are already on campus and a few were present working the camp. I kept my questions pretty short and direct for coach.
You had a very good spring season from all reports:
We did! It was actually an excellent spring and something we have prided ourselves on. We kept a clean sheet for our goal keepers and didn't give up a single goal all spring (in four games). We felt really good about that defensively.
What are some of the expectations you take out of the spring as you get ready for the fall. What are some of the things you're looking for?
We have a lot of returning players who know our language. Know how we talk. Who have played significant roles for us...who will continue to keep us riding the success of the shutouts in the spring.
Tell us a bit about the returnees. You have five out of your seven top scorers back and a Bjerke back from China...
K.B. is fantastic. One of the best leaders I've ever coached. she's locked in with what our expectations are, making her teammates better. She's a team captain...this will be the third year she's been a team captain and I'm super excited to get her back on campus. She went to Norway from China.
A lot of freshmen who have become sophomores. That bodes well for you.
Absolutely! That class is fantastic. A lot of key kids that played significant roles for us. They are a year older, a year wiser, a year stronger, a year quicker and a year smarter.
You have some adds on this year. A transfer and some talented freshmen come in.
Kennady Carbin has been with us here. She came in as a transfer (Mississippi St) last spring and it was invaluable for us to have her for that spring schedule. An exceptional athlete. We look for her to provide an impact for us in scoring goals, creating goals.
The team had a unique opportunity to go to Costa Rica during spring break. Fill us in on that.
It was a wonderful experience for our team. I think we are a very special group. It gave us a chance to get ever closer. there was not a lot of centered media or telephones...so it gave us a chance to hang out together. We got a lot of positives that will help us be successful this fall.
( For the entire interview, be sure to catch the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Saturday)
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Successful. It is something the Louisville fans want to see out of "The Ladies of Lynn".
Coach was hesitant to discuss the freshmen at length...even though all but Emina Ekic are already on campus...but the Cards have some very good ones in her, Taylor Kerwin, Nadage L'Esperance and European standout Mollie Rouse all part of the class of eight newcomers.
Will they, along with "K.B."...a handful of leading scorers back from last year and a new mindset be enough to get the Cards over the 7-7-4 2016 season and the 8-8-2 record in 2015. Can the Kickin' Cards compile an above .500 slate in the highly-competitive ACC? The Cards haven't been to the NCAA Tournament since 2013...something fans bring up to me at times when we discuss the program.
On a bright, beautiful morning on the Louisville campus...all seemed possible. All sounds well for the UofL WSOC program. We'll find out how it starts when the ball hits the pitch in Lynn Stadium in a little over three weeks when the the Cards host DePaul in an exhibition. The Blue Demons bested the Cards last year. The returnees haven't forgotten that.
The ACC competition will not get any easier in 2017. The Cards will be challenged with the pre-conference slate as well...with UK, IU, Purdue, Boston University and Marquette as a few of the teams that will test the Cards.
Fall sports. They're getting closer and the coaches and players (along with the fans) can't wait.