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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

School and sports are here -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


As parents around our county rejoice today as JCPS and Carholic school start back today, we also get closer to the start of official contests down on the UofL campus. 


As Paulie mentioned yesterday, the USA U23 women's basketball team completed their overseas education and blew out Japan to end their three game round-robin in the Land of the Rising Sun. Paulie quoted Jeff Walz yesterday and how proud he was of this group. Asia Durr did what she does best and put on a show for the folks in Tokyo. I know Cards fans will join me in being excited about what she can do this year. 

Field Hockey starts things off this weekend with a scrimmage against Miami (OH) at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Trager Field. If you go, remember the folks at McDonald's don't want you parking in their lot...but there is a parking garage right down the street on campus. They follow that one up with a scrimmage against the alumni on Saturday at 2 p.m. In the interview we played on THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR this past Saturday you heard head coach Justine Sowry talk about how this was the toughest schedule that they would face since she has been head coach at Louisville. With an increased quality of non-conference foes and the always tough ACC, the "stick girls" will have their challenges. 

Women's soccer gets the honor of having the first actual regular season contest in women's sports when they tangle with Boston University Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Lynn Stadium. Coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes (or Coach K, as Paulie likes to call her) has a talented group and they did take exhibition action last Saturday against DePaul 2-0 and held the visitors to just two shots. The Cards will miss Shelby Cohen out for the season with a knee injured and a not quite 100% Niamh Nelson...but our soccer expert Case Hoskins will have more on that later this week. Be sure to catch his takes on "the women of the pitch." The "kickin Cards" will also host Miami (OH) on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Volleyball, too, gets things started this weekend with the annual Red/Black scrimmage and newly renovated Cardinal Arena. It's new head coach Dani Busboom Kelly's debut for Louisville and the first showing of the new home of Cardinal Volleyball. Worldwide Jeff McAdams has all the knowledge in the world on Volleyball but I thought I'd share who I think will get the start for the "Boom" girls eventually.     

Molly Sauer - a no brainer
Tess Clark - another no brainer. She's an outside hitter now and should be a good one
Melanie McHenry - staying with the obvious trend. Another outside hitter with power.
Kali Eakin - setter. With Morgan Miller transferred, she the one with experience and the only one that has experience with the current team. 
Gabby Wiley - defender. A senior and leader, she has the experience will will have plenty of competition for the role. 
Jasmine Bennett. She has steadily improved since she arrived here and has some power behind her hits. 

I hope to see you at Volleyball matches this year. Please join the Cardinal Couple crew and come out and cheer on "The Wide Net girls" in Boom Arena! 


Jared Anderson

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

USA U23 Women's basketball completes the sweep -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Durr's 16 leads USA over Japan 


While most of you were asleep this morning, the USA U23 team "hosted" Japan in their final game of the round-robin event in Tokyo. (While my colleagues have tried to explain to me how USA could host in Japan...I remain unconvinced). A resounding win for USA...103-71 over Japan.

Asia Durr led the Americans in scoring. She tallied 11 first-half points to help USA lead at the break 52-33. She finished with 16 in the contest...the second time in the three game round-robin event she has led the squad in scoring. A look at the stat line shows she was 5-6 on two-point attempts and sank two of her four 3 point attempts in 20:24 minutes of court action. The Japanese squad reportedly did a little media woofing before this one and were a bit chippy...but USA quickly turned that noise off and did work. 

A nice shooting effort from USA...they went 50% from 3 point range (9 for 18) and 53.6% from two-point range (30-56). They wouldn't have been awarded a letter in our regular-season FRED scenario for free throws...going 16-23 from the stripe for 69.6%. The stat line also shows one other interesting stat on the sheet....they list Jeff Walz under the players and he was credited for 3 defensive rebounds. Good hustle, Coach!

Defensively, USA did the job....holding Japan to 25% beyond the arc and 33.6% on two point efforts. 19 turnovers and 49 rebounds for USA -- only 8 turnovers for Japan but just 
35 rebounds. 

Lost in translation? Also in double figures for USA were Kelsey Mitchell (listed as Michelle on the sheet) with 13 points, Jamie Nared (listed as Nard) with 11 points and Kalani Brown (listed as Karani) with 11. 

So...a nice effort for Walz's team over the three-game event. Would you like to see this event enlarged next year? Maybe bring in eight teams instead of four. The Russians would probably jump in...as well as a few of the European nations and China if asked. Should WNBA players under the age of 23 be included? Just a few hypothesis I ran across from others while doing my research for today's write. Personally, I'd love to see the event enlarged but would vote against using WNBA or even college graduates in Euroball play.


I do lament the fact that none of these contest were shown on-line or on cable. I would have settled for even a Japanese broadcast (maybe with subtitles) but it was not to be. You would figure with today's technology....something could have transpired. Thanks to USAB for providing Twitter feeds and the photos here today...they helped me to construct parts of this article...but being a basketball junkie, I probably would have gotten up early than I normally do to watch.

I also wouldn't mind seeing this event come to the United States next year...or down the road. I suppose, if it did, they might choose the USAB training facility in Colorado Springs to host it...but I'll venture that if you brought it to the KFC YUM! Center, Rupp Arena, Knoxville, South Carolina or any of the other hotbeds for women's college basketball...they would be a sizable attendance. I'd go if it was within a reasonable driving time...how about you? 

A special congratulations to Asia Durr for her efforts. Our buddy Howie Lindsey actually got a live interview via phone yesterday in Tokyo with her on his morning show Louisville First. You can hear that HERE It would be my guess that...if they do All-Tournament teams and Most Outstanding Player awards for this round-robin...she would be a prime candidate for each category. I'll continue to monitor social media and see if this develops. 

Asia has stamped her mark as the natural floor leader for Louisville women's basketball this season. Remember the questions, concerns and doubts we had about her as a freshman? Let's not forget, she was injured then...but she's turned into the player we all expected we would get out of high school and as one of the top five in the nation on the women's college basketball scene. 

We now turn our focus on Louisville women's basketball to the season ahead. I had an interesting chat with a huge Louisville WBB fan the other evening and was presented with her possible starting and game ending lineup. I think it's probably way too early for such speculations...but her list is definitely doable. She has Asia and Arica Carter at the guards, Myisha Hines-Allen at the "3" and Sam Fuehring and Bionca Dunham in the paint. 

Time will tell...

Coach Walz sent out a couple of tweets after the contest:


Always fun coaching Been an awesome 2 weeks with  


What a great experience these past two weeks have been! Thank you to these 12 wonderful young women and

QUOTES:
USA head coach Jeff Walz (Louisville)
On the game:I thought that was the best we have played in our three games. The kids came out and did exactly what we asked them to do. We knew that Japan was very disciplined on defense, and we tried to attack early, which we did. We shared the ball extremely well and made open shots. It was the best we have shot the ball as well, but a big part of that was because of how well we shared it.
What has this experience been like overall?It’s been awesome, having the opportunity to work with the best of the best in our college game. I told the team after the game, as impressive as they were on the floor playing, was half as impressive as they were off the court. They are great young women. They are great ambassadors for our game, and I’m excited to watch not just my team play this coming season, but these young ladies’ teams, because college basketball is in good hands with this group.
Asia Durr (Louisville/Douglasville, Georgia)
On the game:We started off fast. We pushed the ball, and we played as a team, which was key. We knew that they were aggressive, and they played hard and they played fast. We figured if we could jump on them soon, then we could take them down quick.


So, a brief lapse in basketball action for us. We'll still be watching to see how Asia Taylor and the Mystics are faring in the WNBA and we'll be resuming the "Catching Up" series with former UofL women's basketball players in a couple of weeks...but, for now, we'll plunge headlong into fall women's sports....as Case lined out in his article Monday. We'd added a full listing of the women's Soccer, Field Hockey and Volleyball schedules on "The Right Side of The Site"...so you can keep up with the where, when, what and who. 

paulie
xxxxx


Monday, August 14, 2017

The Week Ahead -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Regular Season on the Horizon


We have almost made it. The days of fabricated stories and filler commentary will soon come fewer and farther between. Regular season sports at the University of Louisville begin in four short days. We've had other events to cover here and there over the summer, but the return of regular sporting events at UofL is welcomed wholeheartedly. Whether you are a fan of soccer, field hockey, volleyball, cross country, football, or you're just pining for basketball to return, the beginning of fall sports season means it's all here. With other sports underway, time will fly to basketball season. We'll relish in all of these seasons as much as we can, knowing that next summer is right around the corner. So let's see what this week brings us.

First up comes a treat for our basketball lovers at the site. Team USA has already beaten Australia and Canada in the U-23 Three Nations Tournament in Japan and Louisville's Asia Durr has had a solid hand in both victories. Coach Jeff Walz will lead his team against the host nation of Japan at 3:30 AM eastern time tomorrow morning. I've still found nothing on streaming opportunities, but the USA Basketball twitter has done a great job with live tweeting. If you're jonesing for a basketball fix so badly, I encourage you to stay up and constantly refresh your computer, tablet, or smartphone for the information.

Back on campus, we can look ahead to the beginning of women's regular season competition this week. We teased about it on the show, but field hockey will beat women's soccer to the regular season opener by a mere six hours on Friday. The stick gals will host Miami (OH) at Trager Stadium just 47.5 hours before the soccer team does so at Lynn Stadium. Field hockey took on Miami (OH) in their second game last season, coming away with a 2-0 road victory. Coach Justine Sowry will surely be pleased with a similar result from this matchup to get their season underway. The Cards' quick turnaround to the alumnae game on Saturday may give the alumnae an edge against tired legs, but I wouldn't count on it too much.

Later in the evening, Coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes' Kickin' Cards will spring into action against Boston University in their regular season opener. Louisville split a pair of exhibition games last week and will have a few days of practice ahead of this year's true debut. The Cards looked pretty good Saturday against a DePaul team that finished second in the Big East last year and should finish near the top of the league this year. There are a few areas to sharpen up, for sure, but a coach should always be able to find a place to improve. A 2-0 victory in an exhibition is nice, but it will take a lot better performances across the board to turn in a really solid season this year. The team has promise, and how they can perform against lesser competition like BU will be a good indicator of how much they've matured.

Finally, volleyball gets their season started this week with their traditional Red vs Black scrimmage. Given their new permanent home in Cardinal Arena, I can't imagine there being much confusion about where this one will take place. I already know Jeff and many other Cardinal Couple readers are looking forward to seeing the new volleyball team under Coach Dani Busboom-Kelly's leadership. There are new players to learn about and old players in new positions to watch. It should be a fun day as always for the team to get their legs beneath them before next week's matches against coach's familiar Big 10 foes in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Congratulations to Justin Thomas


Picture from USA Today
Justin Thomas is neither a female athlete nor a Louisville Cardinal. However, Thomas is a product of the metro area, hailing from Goshen, Kentucky (like our good friend David Levitch) and graduating from Saint Xavier in 2011 (he's only about 8 months older than me). Thomas, an Alabama graduate, won his first major tournament yesterday coming from behind at the start of the day to win the PGA Championship. It is his fourth PGA win this year and his fifth overall. Thomas is just the next in a line of successful golfers to come from Kentucky, joining fan favorite, Kenny Perry, and Ryder Cup alumnus (and my cousin), J.B. Holmes. I wish congratulations to Justin and look forward to seeing him continue representing the state of Kentucky on the big stage of golf. 

Until next time, Go Cards!
-CH-

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Lynn Wins and More -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

We have a lot to celebrate today as Louisville sports fans today, and I'll get to that, but I feel like I need to take a moment and address larger events from this weekend.  I suspect, but will not presume, that I speak for all of the writers here at Cardinal Couple, so I will speak for myself and let others chime in as they see fit.

The University of Virginia is a fellow member of the ACC in Charlottesville, VA.  Friday night the UVA campus was the scene of a disgusting display of bigotry and hatred.  The events of Friday night, however, turned out to only be a warm-up act for Saturday, including the death of a young woman speaking up for justice and compassion for one another.  A death at the hands, and bumper, of a hateful bigot.

Denial of the value of a fellow human, whether that be expressed through the idea of skin color and ethnicity, or through gender, or whatever other classification one can come up with, is vile, and it is incumbent on all of us to speak up, even when our categorization is not the one being attacked.

I joined Cardinal Couple in large part because I feel like women get short shrift in many areas of life, sports included, and I wanted to take some part in trying to balance those scales.  Misogyny and bigotry are different limbs of the same root tree, the tree of supposed superiority and denial of value of "other".  The thoughts and attitudes on display by white nationalists in Charlottesville must be countered and opposed by people of conscience.

Thank you.

EDITOR'S NOTE: 

We must change situations like this. A Confederate monument, a Robert. E. Lee statue are symbols of the past...a past that was regrettable and reprehensible in many areas. The white nationalists promoting violence at what was supposed to be a "peaceful protest" are to blame here and I sincerely hope that Charlottesville, the commonwealth of Virginia and our President immediately go to work to make sure that nothing of this sad and regrettable nature ever happen again. The Ku Klux Klan sucks. Any other hate-mongering or supremacy group does too...

- Paulie


Lynn Wins


In positive news, the University of Louisville Men's and Women's Soccer teams were both in action
at Lynn Stadium last night.  My esteemed Cardinal Couple colleague Case Hoskins was in attendance and forwarded a few notes from the game.

This was an offensive show for the Cardinals, with the 2-0 final tally, and an impressive 20-3 advantage in shots.  OSU's coach on Wednesday described the Cards as a physical team, and that is born out by the 8-3 foul total.

Kennadi Carbin got an early breakway in the first minute that pulled the keeper out to defend, but Carbin lost control and was unable to finish the score.  Later in the first period, Brooklyn Rivers, mentioned at media day as a likely contributor and scorer, found the back of the net with a Kaela Dickerman assist.  Rivers found the corner from about 15 yards out on an angle shot in the 23rd minute.

The second half saw more of the same, with Carbin atoning for her earlier miss.  She fired one home to the bottom right corner of the goal from out at the top of the box.

The Cards finish their pre-season with a win and a loss.  The loss coming at the hands of a quite good OSU team, and the win over a quality DePaul team.  They open play Friday evening at 7:30 vs Boston U at Lynn Stadium.


The men followed for the nightcap in an exhibition match against Lipscomb University out of Nashville.  The only score in the game came from UofL's Cherif Dieye in the 12th minute.  That would prove to be enough in an otherwise defensive battle for the men.

The men continue their pre-season engagements in Westfield, IN (outside Indianapolis) on Thursday at 7:30 vs a very good, and pre-season 7th ranked Indiana Hoosiers.



Slugger Sell-out


Elsewhere in the city, and while we're talking about soccer, the Louisville FC USL team was in action at Slugger Field against rival FC Cincinnati.  This one was a sell-out with almost 14,000 walking through the gates at Slugger field.  That crowd did include Women's Basketball Assistant Coach Sam Purcell and his family, according to his tweets.

In front of the record and raucous crowd, Lou City went to town.  Spreading the scoring love around the team, the hometown heroes marked down scores by Niall McCabe, Luke Spencer, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Richard Ballard, and Sean Reynolds.  Yes, that's 5 scores for the Louisvillians, while shutting out the rivals from up-river.

Basketball Blowout


Early this morning, Asia Durr scored 8 on 4 of 9 shooting with 2 rebounds in a balanced attack by Team USA over the Canucks to our north in a 107-61 victory.  With 18 turnovers for the Americans, and 35 for the Canadians, the American defense really had an impact on the game.

Team USA will wrap up their competition, and hopefully the championship, in a game against Japan at 5:30am EDT August 15th.  (Aren't timezones such a wonderful thing?)



Radio Rambling


Case, Paulie and I were back on the radio against yesterday.  I'm still gobsmacked that they continue to let us do it, but thankfully we had lots of audio for people to listen to from the Fall Sports Media Day.  We also talked about the US Team in Japan with Coach Walz and Asia Durr romping on the rest of the world.  And we had another quiz, where I managed to barely hang onto (thanks to a few lucky guesses) my undefeated streak.  You should be able to check out the recording of the broadcast when it becomes available here.

-- JMcA

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Lynn Stadium Sees Action -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Women's Soccer Opens Home Play


Though it is only exhibition play, Louisville soccer's Lynn Stadium will see its first action of the Fall 2017 season for both men's and women's soccer tonight. The women will get things started at 5:00 PM against DePaul, with the men following directly after with an exhibition game of their own against Lipscomb. Paulie lamented the struggles of covering exhibition games on the road, with many of those problems likely not coming to play at home tonight. True, there was no scoreboard, clock, or announcer for the spring exhibition games, but I believe that with the publicity around both of tonight's games and the double header format, we are likely to see a full production for this game. If not, at least we'll be there to keep track of things with our own eyes.

The women's soccer and field hockey teams will start Louisville's 4th season in the ACC officially next week. For now, the spotlight is on the women's soccer team as the first home game of the year, even in an exhibition fashion. Louisville will take on DePaul in an exhibition game for the second time in two years. Last season, the Cards took on the Blue Demons on the road. While I don't have access to real stats, as it was an away exhibition, if memory serves, that game was a loss. Louisville will look to repay DePaul at home. The Cards last faced DePaul in an official capacity in 2012 when both teams were in the Big East. Louisville took home a win that day and a lot has changed for both schools in the five years since. Coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes will look to use tonight's scrimmage as a springboard for the upcoming season. Louisville has slumped in recent years but have the team for a strong season this year. Getting a victory against an old foe is a great way to hit the ground running. Admission today is free for both games, so come out to Floyd Street and enjoy the nice summer evening. Sports are back in Louisville.

Asia Durr in Japan


(Information per usab.com and Twitter) After scoring 11 against Australia in U-23 team's August 9th scrimmage, Asia Durr outdid herself in the team's first real game early this morning. Team USA downed Australia again, this time with a final score of 78-60. Durr led Team USA with 14 points in the victory. I apologize for the small update, but the recap of the game has not yet been posted at time of writing since the game just ended. Be sure to return to Cardinal Couple in the coming days for additional information as this tournament goes on.

An Update on the Statistical Recap


Unfortunately, due to increased stress at work and trying to balance my life outside of work in general, I was unable to complete the statistical recap prior to fall action getting underway. However, this is something that I am still interested in so I will still be pursuing it, just with a slight change in format. I will be performing some statistical analysis of our covered sports throughout their respective seasons and will do statistical recaps for each sport at the end of play. I will compare this season's success to my goals and to last season. That way it is a bit more engaging and fresh in everyone's minds. At the end of the last season next spring/summer, I'll see what I can put together for overall comparisons of every sports. I'm sorry to anyone that was looking forward to this (I'm a bit disappointed in myself), but I hope the final product is worth the wait!

The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour


It's another Saturday Cardinal Couple which means it's time for another reminder about the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. Every week we bring you an hour of conversation about things covered here at Cardinal Couple. We have a unique group of hosts and often bring exclusive interviews you can't find anywhere else. If you're ever unable to tune in, you can find archived broadcasts via the Crescent Hill Radio website at this link where you can also listen to the show live. You can also listen on 100.9 FM in the Crescent Hill extended area or anywhere by downloading the WCHQ app. This week we'll discuss the upcoming fall sports seasons which are right on top of us, as well as the fall sports media day yesterday. We'll have audio from yesterday and tons of fun in studio. Tune in at 11:00AM for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour!

Until next time, Go Cards!
-CH-

Friday, August 11, 2017

Late Edition - Fall Sports Media Day -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Paulie and I have just finished up approximately an hour and a half of interviews and remarks from various members of UofL fall sports programs.  An event now three years strong that always makes for a pleasant day and a chance to catch up with Volleyball, Field Hockey, Women's Soccer, and an addition this year, Cross Country.

The remarks got started with the four coaches making opening remarks.  Dale Cowper lead the pack with remarks about the chance to host the NCAA Championships at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park.  He mentioned that they have re-arranged the course at the park this year, and expects the event to be better than ever.  In perhaps a little bit of one-upmanship, Justine Sowry went next and spoke about how strong the ACC is as a Field Hockey conference (a refrain repeated numerous times, with reason, here on Cardinal Couple), and mentioned that they get to host both the ACC Championships, as well as the NCAA championships.  Karen Ferguson-Dayes came next, talking up the experience of the senior class, as showing some excitement in the attackers, who were mostly freshmen last year, coming back with another year of experience under their belts.  Dani Busboom Kelly spoke about the move of all of the Volleyball facilities to Cardinal Arena, and how it is now a dedicated facility.  She also spoke of how much of a difference the renovation of Cardinal Arena has made and how great it is to be on-campus where they hope to get more student support, and to have a "Volleyball Compound" where they don't have to share court time and access to other facilities with other programs.

In questions from the media, we heard of the challenges that both Sowry and Ferguson-Dayes have with some number of their players not yet returning from International play over the summer.  Busboom Kelly was asked about being picked "sixth or seventh" in the conference (actually eighth) and what that meant to the team, responding that they expected to finish better than anyone expects in conference, showing some confidence that it would be better than sixth as the question alluded to.  Asked about her favorite part of the newly renovated Cardinal Arena, she said that it was the balcony seating in the end-zones, as that should be expected to up the energy level of the crowd.  She did mention that it limits their ability, due to the closeness of all of the seating to the Volleyball court, of chasing down shanked balls, so it ups the importance of digging and passing cleanly, and overall ball control.

Asked about stand-outs that maybe aren't so well known so far in practice, Busboom Kelly mentioned Wilma Rivera, a transfer setter from Penn State who will be competing for playing time with last year's main setter, Kali Eaken.  Also, freshman DS/Libero Alexis Hamilton got a shout-out for her outstanding play so far.  Karen Ferguson-Dayes mentioned some names we already know, in Inger Katrine-Bjerke, and Gabbie Vincent, both Cardinal Couple favorites from interviews in past years, she named a couple of other names, that I didn't catch (listen to the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour tomorrow to hopefully hear more of them), as well as Brooklynn Rivers.  Sowry mentioned Meg Schneider and Mercedes Pastor, both freshmen, as having contributed well so far in practice.  She also mentioned Hollyn Barr, the backup goalkeeper, as having been playing extremely well, and that she would likely be starting in the cage for the first few games due to unavailability of Ayeisha McFerran.  She also spoke of the depth of the roster, and mentioned the likelihood of going 17 deep, which is unsurprising given her penchant for rapid-fire substitutions.

After the session with the coaches broke up, the media moved into the next room to speak with representatives of the various teams.  We first got the opportunity to speak with Tess Clark and Molly Sauer, of the volleyball team.  They re-iterated coach Busboom Kelly's thoughts of Wilma Rivera and Alexis Hamilton being the stand-out newcomers to the team.  Tess confirmed that she will be playing as a left side hitter, and does have some passing and digging duties.  She mentioned that Sauer helped her out a lot by taking a lot of the passes from her.

Moving on, we spoke with Inger Katrine-Bjerke and Gabbie Vincent from the Soccer team.  Paulie asked about KB's trip to China, then her further globetrotting back home to visit with family in Norway before returning to Louisville.  They talked about the importance for the backs in the game of Soccer, how they were most responsible for communication on the pitch, and how they had the best vantage point to see the whole field of play and thus were in the best position to communicate what needed to be done.

Finally, visiting with Marigrace Ragsdale, Abby Grimes, and Taylor Stone on the Field Hockey team, we heard about their excitement for hosting both the ACC and NCAA Tournaments at Trager.  We also learned that Marigrace and Abby, both being from St. Louis, have played field hockey together since they were twelve.  We learned how the recruiting process worked to get both of them to Louisville (Abby committed first, Marigrace later asked if it was ok if she also came to play with her at Louisville, an exuberant affirmative being the answer to that.)

Paulie will have much of the audio from these interviews tomorrow on The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour, so be sure to tune in at 11am on Crescent Hill Radio, 100.9 on the FM dial in the central area of Louisville, to hear the recorded audio.  On the plus side, you won't have to listen to us knuckleheads nearly as much as most weeks.

-- JMcA

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Women's Soccer scrimmages Ohio State...THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


LOOK ON THE SCOREBOARD AND SEE...NEVERMIND.


Activity actually got underway for fall sports at UofL last night...the women's soccer team traveled to Columbus, OH to face the Buckeyes in an exhibition match. We're trying to piece information together about how it went in Ohio...not a lot out there. Exhibition games are just that...many times the stat crews and assistant SID's aren't keeping any official numbers or statistics. The scoreboard isn't on at times. Sometimes they are without public address announcers as well. The games don't go in the records. 

Ohio State had their scrimmage against Louisville on the Internet last night but I couldn't figure out how to download the platform from a viewing device named Stanza that they use. It seemed more interested in trying to get me to set up a calendar on-line and gather personal information than showing soccer...so I gave up on it after awhile and kept searching Twitter for updates. I'm pretty sure it would have cost me something to watch it...but I never got that far in the process. Allegedly, a lot of BIG10 schools use Stanza. I'm glad Louisville is in the ACC. 

There were only a couple of mentions on the Ohio State women's soccer Twitter account. They announced the game would be starting soon. They show the Ohio State players doing the O-H-I-O for the fans after the game. No scores, no highlights...no "so-and-so looked good or "so-and so didn't do this" quotes. 

There was also a quote from the OSU coach Lori Walker Hock after the game. 

"It was great to get out and play. We were able to see where our returners were and we had a lot of young players out on the field. It was a productive scrimmage and it was a benefit for us to get experience against a physical team." 

That as vanilla as it gets in post-event comments. What do we gather from that? That Louisville is physical...which is probably a good thing for the Cards...and coach knows where her returners are. I've seen similar quotes from coaches who've been drubbed by 30 points and from coaches who were up by 5 going into the second half.  

They posted a few pictures. Those are posted here.

I also checked the Louisville women's soccer Twitter feed to see if any mention was made on the scrimmage. 

Blank.

Articles about Saturday's double header, reasons why players chose Louisville and a motivational Monday hashtag but no recap, no score. In fairness, UofL may not have had a sports information person on hand for the contest. Those folks are really busy on campus right now. 

Searching by coach name, I checked the Karen Ferguson-Dayes twitter feed. Nothing there since late September 2016. I get it. It's an exhibition, Paulie. The team has been practicing less than a week (ridiculous...when you consider football and basketball get months and months of preparation for the season). How much can you read into the first scrimmage of the year? 

As you have probably deduced by now...I didn't make the trip to Columbus to watch the action. I have gone to WSOC away games in the past...but this one just wasn't in the wheel-well for me yesterday. And, once again, it was just a scrimmage after only a couple of days of practice. I expected maybe just a brief mention of a score, maybe who scored...but I tend to set my expectations way too high at times, I suppose. To paraphrase Allen Iverson...

"Scrimmage. Scrimmage? We talkin' 'bout scrimmage?"  



(From last year's Fall Sports Media Day) 
We'll find out more about women's soccer and other sports at the Women's Fall Sports media day Friday at Lynn Stadium. WSOC, Field Hockey and Volleyball coaches and players will be on hand for interviews. This is a fun event. After they feed the media, they're gathered into a room and the coaches talk about the programs and then the media given access to another room and allowed to talk to specifically picked players from each sport. We've gotten some great interviews out of this event since they started holding it a couple years ago. We've found out what shampoo Worldwide uses (one of the best questions ever by a player -- Molly Sauer -- directed to a media member... The answer was Pert Plus...). We found out where Maya McClendon prefers to eat (her parents house).  Based on last year...the Field Hockey girls are usually pretty serious, the WSOC girls open and humorous (thank Inger Katrine Bjerke for that...) and who knows what we'll get out of Volleyball this year? New coach and all...

We'll have those interviews on THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR Saturday morning at 11 a.m. They'll consist of our "Catching Up" sequence...normally we'd bring you a former UofL WBB player but we'll catch up with the fall sports instead. 

So...let's recap. We know that one UofL women's fall sports team (WSOC) has faced someone else. Louisville is an aggressive team. We also know that Jeff Walz has safely arrived in Tokyo with Asia Durr and the rest of the USA U23 squad and they went to practice shortly after the plane landed. We know that Field Hockey had their first practice yesterday and so did Volleyball. We even know the UofL women's golf schedule for the season. 

Things are happening. The doldrums of summer have passed. Fall sports have begun. We'll be here to tell you about what we see (or don't see). 

paulie
xxxxx

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

On rollercoasters...Jared and Louisville women's soccer...Farmer JBB... WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



Happy Wednesday Cards fans! 


With each passing day we draw closer to the sports season being upon us. It may only be a scrimmage for women's soccer today, but it's something! It feels like forever since any UofL games have taken place. 

WSOC travels to Ohio State for this scrimmage. The women's and men's teams will participate in a double-header scrimmage at Lynn Stadium Saturday....as Paulie informed us yesterday. Free admission. DePaul (women) and Lipscomb (men) visit.   

Being down in Charlotte, N.C. currently for a visit, I watched former Cardinals Zack Burdi (baseball) and Paola DelPiccolo (soccer) play recently in contests and that was definitely fun but it is no UofL game. My trip has also included some great food as well as a trip to Carowinds Amusement Park...which is where I got my idea for today's article -- comparing women's soccer positions to types of roller coasters.

When you visit an amusement park you find all sorts of roller coasters. Some are fast, some bumpy, some take you upside down so many times that losing your lunch is a distinct possibility. How does all this compare and relate to positions on a soccer pitch? 

Midfielders.

Wooden roller coasters have been around for quite some time. It seems every park has one. They aren't usually the reason one goes to an amusement park, but not something you overlook. Midfielders might not have the most exciting job or role on a team, but it can be a difficult and rough one. They may not be the reason that you come to watch a soccer match but you can't overlook their importance and role in the game.



Forwards

Parks get a new roller coaster every once in a while. This is something that is usually flashy and stands out. New rides like this are typically the highlight of a visit to a park -- much like seeing a flashy forward score a goal to give your team the win. They're the center of attention for most soccer fans and when one gets on a breakaway...the crowd gets noisy...like people do on a roller coaster. 


Goalkeepers


Suspended coasters are different than anything else in the roller coaster world. Instead of sitting in a seat, you find yourself swinging your legs with freedom and hoping you don't fall out! There aren't a lot of suspended coasters, but they keep you strapped in safely and tightly. A goalkeeper will help "protect" your team as well from the opposing attack. 
They "strap in" around the goal area and keep the goal safe from the attackers. 



Defenders

Every park seems to have a coaster or two that have been there for a few years. It may not be a classic, flashy or most popular ride but they're ones that you must do while in the park. They're the backbone of the park because, without them, the park only has one or two coasters remaining. Once the big coaster has been ridden, these are the coasters that keep guests in the park with something exciting to ride. Defenders are the backbone to any soccer team. Defense wins championships, right? 

So, as you pass the hours before game starts and kickoffs -- ponder the question: 

Where is the best place to sit on a roller coaster? The front or back? And, where is the best place to sit at a sporting event? Front row or "in the back" up high? 

Jared Anderson


***************************************************

REMEMBERING FARMER JBB

Louisville women's basketball lost a huge fan Sunday when Farmer "JBB" (Jim Winstead) passed away. As he is laid to rest today, I'll share a few stories.

...Jim did love his WBB Cards but he also loved to fish. When we spoke at a Cardinal WBB contest last season...we were going to get together this summer and hit some of his favorite farm ponds around the Sonora/Hodgenville area. I admitted to him that my fishing skills weren't quite up to par recently and I wasn't sure what kind of shape my rods and reels were in. I also asked if I could bring Sonja. His response was classic..."As long as she can bait her own hook."

Sadly, we never made that date.

...What's up with the hat? Jim loved to wear an old farmer's hat to games...both home and away and it's
rumored he gave one of his trademark hats to one of the graduating seniors at the end of the season. He had a hat with him when he came down to say "Hi" to me, A.J and Nick at the UT Martin game last year. As always, he was full of stories and had hugs for everyone. After he left, a journalist from another city...who was sitting next to me asked about the hat.


"It's so the group he's here with can track him at all times. Sometimes he likes to charge the court and get an explanation from the refs on a call." I kidded.

Except the journalist wasn't sure I was kidding.

"Seriously?" he asked. "For sure...he once told Dee Kanter to go have a seat and he'd call the second half." I solemnly intoned. Later, I told the guy I was just funning him. I got one of those looks a disapproving schoolmarm might give a mis-behaving pupil. Jim and the hat.

The legend lives on.

Jim was a regular reader here and occasionally left comments. He and I exchanged regular e-mails until a couple of months ago. I wasn't sure why the exchange stopped...I figured it was because basketball season was in hiatus. Sadly, I knew nothing of the illness nor his passing until another reader sent me the link below.

LINK:  Jim's obituary

Rest well, my buddy. You will be missed.


paulie
xxxxx

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Harper joins USA U23 squad...WSOC around the corner -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



LINNAE HARPER ADDED TO USA U23 SQUAD


Just in the few times I was able to watch Ohio State guard Linnae Harper perform in the USA U23 trials...I thought she had the stuff to be one of the 12 to make the roster. That happened for her yesterday...as South Carolina center A'ja Wilson is now sidelined with a groin strain and Harper gets added to the roster for the practice sessions and upcoming trip to Japan.

We all remember Linnae...right?  She began her career at UK and was instrumental in helping the Cats beat the Cards in her freshman and sophomore years. Things didn't quite work out for her in Lexington...so the Chicago, IL native decided to move north and join the Ohio State Buckeyes after the 2014-15 season...one of the schools that was in her top five consideration list in high school. She took to Buckeye ball quite well in 2016-17 and was named the Big 10 Sixth Player of the Year in the 2016-17 season as a junior after sitting out 2015-16 under NCAA transfer rules. 

She joins Buckeye teammate Kelsey Mitchell on the squad and also brings an extensive USA and international basketball resume to the roster. She was on the 2011, 2012 and 2013 FIBA World Championship teams playing for the U16, U17 and U19 USA teams. She was on the 2015 USA Pan American team and also played on the 2016 FIBA USA 3X3 squad.

Maybe a bit interesting that the committee replaces height (in Wilson) with guard play (Harper)...but certainly the experience factor Harper has in International play should be beneficial for the team. Erin Boley, at 6'2" impressed me during the medal round games and she can also step out and hit the three. Naturally, I would have loved to see Myisha Hines-Allen get the call...but I'll trust the deciders' judgement here.

With the addition of Harper, three teams now have two players on the roster....UCLA (Monique Billings and Jordin Canada) and Tennessee (Jamie Nared and Mercedes Russell) and Ohio State. Louisville's Asia Durr is also on the squad that includes ACC and Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale, Ariel Atkins, Kalani Brown, Sabrina Ionescu and Brittany McPhee. 

USA U23 continues their practice sessions under Jeff Walz in preparation for their August 12th. opener in Tokyo. 

FINALLY, THE COMPETITION IS HERE


We get to see some actual competition in women's fall sports this week...with Louisville women's soccer starting the action off tomorrow with an exhibition game at Ohio State and then returning home to face DePaul on Saturday in another exhibition contest. The DePaul game is part of a double-header at Lynn Stadium...the girls will go first with a 5 p.m. start and the #9 ranked men's team takes on Lipscomb around 7:30 p.m. 

We'll get our first look at some very talented freshmen that have joined Coach Karen Ferguson Dayes roster...including a couple with International backgrounds in Nadage L'Esperance (Canada) and Mollie Rouse (England). There's also some local flair on the roster...with Emina Ekic DuPont Manual) and transfer Kennadi Carbin (2015 Kentucky Player of the Year).

The Kickin' Cards return a wealth of experience on the attack with standouts from last year. Nine of the Cards top 10 scorers return and Ferguson-Dayes will have plenty of options in Shelby Cohen, Daryl Bell, Brooklyn Rivers, Gabby Vincent, Sarah Feola, Alison Price, Kaela Dickerman, Allison Whitfield, Niahm Nelson and Callie McKinney.

Senior Inger Katrine Bjerke returns to lead a defense that allowed just 1.11 goals last season. She'll get help from Arianna Ferraro and Bailey Florek in front of the goal. With the graduation of goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin...we've heard the competition between Gabrielle Kouzelos, Tori Gabor and Lana Batson has been intense for the net-keeping spot.  

Admission is free for the exhibition games at Lynn and season tickets get you into both men's and women's soccer....so why not grab a few for the family and enjoy the action on the pitch? 



paulie
xxxxx





Monday, August 7, 2017

A Brief Football Preview -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

If you followed the site last fall when I started writing, you'll know that I quite enjoy football. I'm an avid fan of sports in general, but football is one that I really cling too because of the intricacies. Football is like a game of chess, except if all of the pieces could go more or fewer spaces than intended completely at random. Much thought is put into tactics and game planning only for them to potentially fall apart with every snap. Anyway, this probably won't be the last time you see me write about football, because it is so present in my brain. I will still bring you your prescribed doses of women's soccer when applicable, but I ask that you begrudge me my football thoughts. With fall camp in full swing and kickoff in Indianapolis a little under a month away, now seems like as good a time as any to share some thoughts about the upcoming season.

More Questions than Answers


There were many things which might be blamed for last season's late season letdown. Many of those potential causes were sources of significant change over the offseason. However, the changes may not have brought quite as much peace of mind as we hoped. Did Lamar Jackson's arm improve as much as signs indicated? If not, did teams really figure him out and will he be as effective this season? Will Mike Summers' return have a big enough impact to protect an asset like Lamar Jackson from severe harassment? Will Peter Sirmon's defense be ranked 112th at Louisville? Can the players adjust to the new schemes brought by new coaches? Has Louisville peaked or will they see a huge leap in Petrino year four?

These are all questions that can't really be answered until the season ends (hopefully) in January. Louisville hosted an open practice last week to start camp (the only one they'll host this season) and most reports indicated that the answers to these questions are unclear. It is almost impossible for Lamar Jackson to have not gotten better over the offseason, but how much better did he get and how much of an effect will it have? If the offensive line isn't any better, will it matter at all? Some said that Jackson's arm didn't seem all that much more tuned than before. He still missed throws he shouldn't have, but a lot of that can be chalked up to shaking off the rust of a new fall camp. Some of the questions about Louisville's Heisman winner will be answered very early, with others having to wait. I believe that a student of the game such as Jackson will have made large strides over the summer. Whether or not this was apparent last week during a practice is irrelevant. What Jackson shows on the field against Purdue is what will matter for the success of this Cardinal team. 

As for the positional groups under new tutelage, the answers are more unclear. There are sure to be games where the new hires to not appear to have made anything better. Offensive linemen will still miss assignments, because even the best ones in the NFL miss assignments. The defense will still give up touchdowns because it would be an obscene feat for them to not do so. However, if there is one thing that I have learned about Bobby Petrino as a football coach, is that he is not particularly foolish. He did not make these hires to get worse or to stay the same. Sirmon and Summers were brought to Louisville to make this team better, and as of right now, I have no reason to believe they will not do so. 

College football "experts" have spent the last part of these summer months saying all kinds of stuff. Most of what they say is to draw page views to their site, but they are still interesting to see and potentially talk about. One list left Lamar Jackson out of the top five players. Another left him out of the top five quarterbacks. Jackson has taken multiple approaches when asked about it, but the bottom line remains the same. The things that people write about players' talents do not have an impact on the outcome of the game. So long as the players themselves perform the best that they can, those talents will speak for themselves. 

Louisville plays a tough schedule this year. They are likely to do so every year, with guaranteed games against Florida State and Clemson. They've become a team that can be considered a serious contender for a College Football Playoff spot if they handle their own business. That will be quite the challenge this season. Hosting Clemson will likely be the best chance Louisville has at getting their first win against the Tigers. However, road games against North Carolina, Florida State, North Carolina State, and Kentucky are not likely to be walks in the park. Louisville will need to come into every game more focused than ever. I foresee this Louisville team finishing the regular season with two losses, but at the moment, I'm not quite sure where they come from. That is the kind of season that likely ends in a New Year's Six Bowl, which would be nice to return to. That said, I think there is the potential for this team to be something extremely special. There is also the potential for them to fall on their face. Like I said, there are more questions than answers.

Sound off in the comments with how you think the Cards will do this year. What do you see being their strengths and weaknesses? Where do the wins and losses come from? Let me know what you think.

Until next time, Go Cards!
-CH-