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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Almost a Friday Sweep -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Soccer Falls to Purdue, 3-2


There is a lot to talk about, so I'll get the game I attended, and the negativity for the day, out of the way early. I was fully prepared to start today's article talking about how bad the women's soccer team looked last night. However, after their first goal, I realized that the scoreline was affecting how I had viewed the game. Yes, Louisville's normally stout defense was extremely porous.

Picture courtesy of JC1
In fact, Louisville is lucky to have only been scored on three times, as Purdue had other chances missed wildly in pure scoring opportunities. On offense, for the majority of the game, it appeared that Louisville was just inept. They dribbled too long and sent long passes to nowhere, but those have been issues for this team all season, and they've worked through them to find the back of the net and win in 5 out of their 7 games so far. Louisville was mostly just unlucky on offense. Their first goal came with less than four minutes remaining in the game, thus preventing them from being shut out for only the second time this season.



First, the really bad. Louisville's defense gave every other team on the schedule a blueprint of how to beat what was previously a very strong defense. Louisville allowed Purdue's redshirt senior captain, Maddy Williams, to roam on the back line. Williams made them pay, putting up a hat trick in the first 48 minutes of the game. All three of her goals came in about the same manner. A ball was sent forward. Williams, standing alone on the back line, would turn and sprint.

With no one to slow her down, she could effectively get a one on one with the keeper, even with central defenders closing on her. I'm still not sure how the first goal got under a charging and sliding Gabrielle Kouzelos, but it did, and Williams jumped over Kouzelos to give chase to the ball and score on the empty net. The second goal looked the exact same from a lead-up perspective, but Williams was a bit farther to her right of the goal, and was able to go back post on Kouzelos, putting the ball into the side netting. Purdue led 2-0 and we went to halftime. Louisville had to be retrieved from the locker room as they were inside well after the halftime clock hit zero. As they rehuddled after coming out of the locker room, the four starting defenders came sprinting out of the locker room, clearly having had their own meeting.

Picture courtesy of JC 1
For what it's worth, they played a little better in the second half, but not much. Purdue only had two shots in the second half, but the first was Williams' third goal. This one was tough to watch. The ball was crossed to Purdue's left side of the field into the box. Gabby Vincent took an unfortunate angle on the ball and misjudged it. It sailed over her head and landed at Williams' feet. Except it didn't. For a senior captain and starting forward, Williams looked extremely uncomfortable with her left foot. She brought the cross down with the outside of her right foot, had to steady herself, and then shoot from just outside the 6 yard box. Kouzelos, perhaps a bit gunshy or not quite in the right head space after the first half, had plenty of time to charge the cross and break up the play, with Williams taking so long. Instead, she was parked on her line, beginning to advance only just before the shot came. Purdue led 3-0. The Boilermakers offense let up in intensity a bit after that goal.

Leading 3-0 in the second half against a team that hasn't really threatened much during the game allows you some leeway. However, if Purdue could exploit Louisville's center defenders like they did last night, much better teams in the ACC can, too. Louisville has to put a body on people floating in the back line. If they're left unmarked, the ball will go over your head, and they'll sprint to it for a one-on-one chance. Having forwards like that checked can slow them down just enough to allow your keeper to make a play or another defender to get back. Hopefully, this is something that is adjusted even before next week's game against Gardner-Webb.

Had the offense not scored once or twice, I may have not realized that I was being unfairly hard on them in my mind before the game ended. There were a few times that I felt they weren't making the most of their opportunities. I think some players, and I won't name names, may find themselves on the bench a bit more after last night's performance. I realized late, though, that Louisville had been extremely unlucky on offense. They had a stretch of four corner kicks in a row in the first half, two of which went off the goalie's hands. Louisville was just unable to finish. The ball always found itself kicked or headed directly into a Purdue player or it scooted all the way through the box, untouched by either player.

With ten minutes left in the game, a crossing ball slipped through the Purdue defense and was just out of reach for a sliding Cardinal to put it in the back of the wide open net. That was the moment I realized that it just wasn't Louisville's night. Louisville scored it's first goal on the exact same play, this time with Mollie Rouse finishing the cross from Alison Price for her first goal of the season and Louisville career. Later, Brooklynn Rivers scored her second goal of the season off of a cross. There were only 24 seconds remaining. Louisville was unable to find it's third goal in the last 3:54. If things had gone just a bit differently throughout the game, I may be writing about a win. If Louisville scores first off of one of its opportunities, or goes into the half 2-1 instead of 2-0, maybe they can string together a win.

Last night just wasn't Louisville's night. Coach KFD mentioned in her postgame interview that Louisville was just "out of sorts" from the opening whistle and gave credit to Purdue for taking advantage of Louisville's miscues. Hopefully this game will stand out as an aberration and not become the norm. I'll wrap things up with a roster thought. I respect Gabrielle Kouzelos in goal. She has made a few great saves for Louisville this year and helped tremendously in their wins


However, I have seen her make some rough mistakes. She's made them multiple times over multiple games. Last night, she had what appeared to be a heated discussion with senior captain and center defender Inger Katrine-Bjerke. She gets in her own head sometimes, which as a keeper, is extremely bad. I'd really like to see Tori Gabor given an opportunity to show what she has in goal Gabor was the heir apparent to the position this year with the loss of Taylor Bucklin, but Kouzelos won the spot. I think it's important to remember that every position should be up for competition every week. Louisville is back in action against Gardner-Webb in Lynn Stadium next Thursday at 5:30 PM.

Field Hockey Beats American


On the surface, a 2-1 neutral site win over a team named "American" doesn't seem all that great, but the major players in field hockey aren't always what you might expect. The University of Delaware, probably most known for producing Joe Flacco, are the reigning champions. Louisville vs American was a top-20 matchup, and it came in a stadium much closer to the opponent than Louisville. A 2-1 win will do for yesterday, and it would do again against Maryland tomorrow.

All of the goals in this one came in the first half. Louisville opened the scoring on a breakaway with Nicole Woods scoring her fourth of the season. Marisa Martin Pelegrina scored her third of the year off of a penalty rebound to stretch the Louisville lead. American was able to pull one back off of a penalty corner put past Hollyn Barr to make it 2-1. The two teams played the next 55 minutes scoreless. Both teams went 1-1 on corner conversions in the first half and 0-2 in the second. American was only able to get one other shot on goal in the entire game, giving Barr her only save. Louisville kept American's goalkeeper a bit busier, but was unable to find the back of the goal again. Ayeisha McFerran, presumably still nursing her injury, was held off in this one, and Barr played all 70 minutes. With the way Barr has performed this year, it will be interesting to see what Coach Sowry decides to do when McFerran is 100%.

Will the Cards split starts or will an All-American find she's lost her job just by pure happenstance of
being injured? If it's the latter, I assume Barr would be on a short leash come conference play. A poor game could find her losing the starting spot quite quickly. We shall see. Louisville takes on this weekend's host, Maryland, tomorrow morning at 11:30AM. The game will be available on Big Ten Network Plus, which means you can get it, but it's pay blocked. Maryland is ranked 11th in the country.

Volleyball Wins 2 in a Matter of Hours


There wasn't much rest for Coach DBK's team last night after a 3 game sweep of the previously unbeaten UC Irvine, as the Cards jumped right back into action against Weber State. They went on to win that one in 4 games, though they were given a bit more of a run for their money in the second matchup of the evening. Playing two last night will be good for the Cards, who will get a bit of time to freshen up before having to take on the host, UNLV, today at 5PM Louisville time. At worst, Louisville leaves the weekend with an even 4-4 record, but most would hope, and maybe even expect, that they come home two games above .500 for the first time this season.

We'll have plenty more to say about volleyball today on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour and Jeff will go more in depth tomorrow, but some of the big stats from last night: Melanie McHenry finished the two matches with 26 kills and Tess Clark with 23. Yes, please. The team finished with 18 blocks, but were outblocked by Weber State 12-10. Wilma Rivera assisted on 24 of 35 kills in the first match and 52(!!!) of 63 kills in the second. Wow. Molly Sauer did her thing, and led the team in digs with 26 between the two matches. Through all of that, the statistic that stands out the most to me comes from the first game of the first match. UC Irvine hit -0.071% (woof) and Louisville hit .500. Somehow, the final game score was 25-20. That UC Irvine was able to score that many with that hitting discrepancy blows my mind. Anyway, here's hoping the wide-netters can continue those winning ways today.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour


We're back with a full studio today on WCHQ FM. We'll be live on air at 11AM and you can listen in on 100.9 if you're in the signal area or online at crescenthillradio.com or on the WCHQ app. With fall sports in full swing, we'll have plenty to talk about. The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour will take you all the way up until football kicks off at noon against UNC today so tune in and hang out with us!

Paulie, Jeff, Jared and yours truly. Paulie calls it the "A" team. I'm wondering which one of us is "Mr. T"?


Until next time, Go Cards!
-CH-

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for the shout out guys today on radio. Just an update. We are going to ride it out down here in Naples. David Watson left on Thursday morning for Muncie, IN where his wife was raised and where he used to live. He was going to back-road it and avoid I-75 with his wife, youngest daughter. Said he would let me know how it went. I haven't heard from him yet.

    We have our generator. plenty of water, food and other beverages. I'll try and keep you guys updated.

    -- The Real Joe Hill --

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  2. When we lived in Clearwater we always bet on staying put and drinking our way through it...hope you are lucky on this one. Absent that look for high ground.

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  3. Hang in there Joe
    Surprised you didn't go to Gatlinburg but stay safe. I did talk to David Watson on his cell. They spent the night in Birmingham Thursday and arrived in Muncie where they staying with his sister in law

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  4. Prayers with you and family Joe. Beware the storm surge and please go to a shelter!

    The Deb Factor

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    Replies
    1. We boarded up, laid sand bags loaded up our SUV and left for Gatlinburg early this morning. Spent the night in Valdosta, GA and we're at a rest stop, on my tablet and should be in Gatlinburg later this afternoon. Traffic is, of course, crazy, and I debated leaving but this is the worst I have ever seen, hurricane wise, and I hope we don't get totally demolished. Thanks for thinking of us.

      -- The Real Joe Hill --

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    2. You were wise to do that. Naples is right in line for the b@$ta&$ and we can't afford to lose any more readers...

      Say hi to the Fox and Parrot crew for me and I really hope that it's not a total loss for you and Deloris.

      Paulie

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    3. Smart Move...stay safe and dry.

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