Thursday, October 12, 2017
The Asia Taylor Interview...Minnie and the Stick Girls face a Saturday test -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
We caught up with Cardinal Great Asia Taylor this week. She's in Sydney, Australia, preparing for a season in the WNBL with the Sydney Flames. Although we couldn't establish a phone connection, Asia was kind enough to answer a few questions we asked her. Enjoy this exchange with "A-Tayy" !!
PAULIE: First off, let's take a step back. You made the playoffs with the Mystics and eventually fell to the Lynx. That had to be a little bittersweet since you previously played for them. Describe the season and what you learned from it?
ASIA: It was awesome being in the league and playing with the best players in the world. There's no substitute for that experience! The season was a learning lesson, though, and made me extremely hungry to advance in the league.
PAULIE: You're now in Sydney getting ready for the WNBL season. You have a solid team coming back and you're one of the key players on the roster. How does it feel to be back in Australia?
ASIA: Sydney is amazing and I'm so excited to be back here!! It feels good to be back in this type of role. I get to show a lot more facets of my game here and continue to improve individually. I accomplished a lot last year but I'm not satisfied with that. I have even higher goals that I'm pursuing this year.
PAULIE: How long does it take to get over the jet lag/time change?
ASIA: Well...it feels like it takes from about the day I get here until the day before I get ready to leave (LOL. I'm just kidding!!) I figure about 12 days...two weeks.
PAULIE: You're playing again with 6'7" center Jennifer Hamson (BYU/Indiana Fever) with the Flames. That has to be a lot of fun, right?
ASIA: Yes! Jen is a good teammate and it's always good to have her as an extra life line back there blocking shots and rebounding!
PAULIE: You lost Tahlia Tupaea again this season. How will the Flames adjust to that?
ASIA: That's a huge blow to us. "T" is extremely talented and helped us a lot last year. We just have to hold things down while she's on the road to recovery and hopefully we can get her back by December.
PAULIE: Can you find a decent ham and pineapple pizza over there?
ASIA: Ha, ha, ha! And, Yes, I can! There are plenty of places to grab a slice here. My favorite is actually Domino's..they are in Sydney...and it's only $5 for a whole pizza. True heaven!
PAULIE: Describe some of the differences between WNBL and WNBA ball?
ASIA: I actually love the treatment we get in the WNBL! The games are broadcast all over Australia, which is amazing, our fans are die hard and we're taken care of with travel, apartments and our cars!
PAULIE: What's your favorite "off-court" activity?
ASIA: Going to the beaches with my teammates.
PAULIE: Your thoughts on the 2017-18 Louisville women's basketball squad and their chances?
ASIA: I only know a few of them but from what I've read and heard...the team is super talented and I wish them the best of luck! I know CARDINAL COUPLE will keep me up on them!
PAULIE: Your thoughts on the UofL MBB scandal?
ASIA: What has happened is truly unfortunate, but I'm not one to judge on legal matters. I can only speak from my personal experiences with them and I have nothing but respect for Coach P. and Tom Jurich for the way they treated me during my time there. I hope what has happened doesn't stop the amazing support from the Cards fans and that everyone comes together to help rebuild our reputation back to being the outstanding University that Louisville is. Support the student-athletes with your attendance. They love and depend on you, the fans.
We thank Asia for her great responses and for doing this!
#12 LOUISVILLE TRAVELS TO #5 UNC SATURDAY
The #12 UofL Field Hockey team has done a lot of right things this season. At 10-4 and 3-1 in the ACC on the season, they are currently on a six-game win streak. Last weekend, they stormed through New England and took convincing wins over Boston College (4-1) and New Hampshire (5-2). Memories of the three game losing streak earlier this year are fading quite nicely into the past. As head coach Justine Sowry likes to say...paraphrasing former UofL football coach John L. Smith, they've torn off the rear view mirror and concentrated on what's ahead. That losing streak came against some pretty formidable competition, in the Cards defense, at #2 Duke, #9 Northwestern and #16 Maryland.
The Cards are a perfect 6-0 at home, in Trager Stadium. They have all-American goalkeep Ayeshia McFerran back again between the pipes. Making sure she stays out of trouble are defenders senior Abby Grimes, junior Taylor Stone, sophomore Carter Ayers and freshman Anne Marie Habelow. Delaware, St. Louis, Massachusetts, and Virginia represented there, if you're keeping geological track. They've been very stingy on goals allowed...just a 1.5 goals per game average for the 14 Cardinal opponents this year.
And, then, there is the offense. Averaging 2.5 goals a game...nine different Cardinals are responsible for scoring 34 goals this year. The leader is Minout "Minnie" Mink, who has almost 1/4th of the squads net finders with eight goals.
Minnie's a scorer. She told Coach Sowry that when she arrived on campus back in the summer of 2016. Coach Sowry uses the same phrase when she's asked about the Haaksbergen, The Netherlands sophomore forward. And that's what she's done at Louisville for the last two years. She led the Cards in scoring last season with 15 goals. She had a goal in each game of the Cards weekend trip and she's scored in the last four Cardinal contests.
Yet, she doesn't start. Coach Sowry was vague when asked about that. We've seen it before in other sports with other players. A chance for visualization from the sidelines, to pick up the flow of the action and get the overall picture before entering the battle...maybe. It seemed to work for UofL WBB a few years back when Gwen Rucker would start the game so that Keisha Hines could get a look at what lay ahead for her in the pivot.
Minnie holds the school record for freshman goals. She was named to the 2016 All-West First Team (yes, they have Louisville in the Western region. Because of all those tumbleweeds blowing down Floyd Street and the cactus popping up everywhere, I suppose.) She was also named to the All-ACC team. In life back in The Netherlands, she played for the Dutch U-18 National team and she lists winning the European championship with them and scoring the decisive goal in the championship game as a couple of her favorite personal sports moments.
(I'm pretty sure her interviews with Cardinal Couple came in third...)
She'll lead the Stick Girls into action this Saturday against the TarHeels down in Chapel Hill, NC. Louisville runs into a 11-2 TarHeel squad that saw their junior back Ashley Hoffman named National Defensive Player of the Week after a shutout 3-0 win over #3 Virginia last week. Hoffman also leads the TarHeels in goals scored...so Louisville would be well-advised to keep a watchful eye on her.
FUN FACT QUIZ ON LOUISVILLE FIELD HOCKEY (Answers below)
1) How many different nations are represented on the Field Hockey Squad?
A) 8 B) 6 C) 12 D) 9
2) How many schools play Field Hockey in the ACC?
A) 5 B) 7 C) 9 D) 11
3) Which of these players for Louisville FH is actually from Louisville
A) Annie Mulford B) Bethany Russ C) Carter Ayers D) Katie Walsh
4) How many years in a row has Louisville FH made the NCAA Tournament?
A) 10 B) 8 C) 6 D) 3
5) In which of these Conferences did Louisville Field Hockey NOT participate in?
A) MAC B) Big East C) KWIC D) AAC
1) A. 8 nations represented. US, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia. N Ireland
2) B. 7 schools. UofL, Duke, UNC, Va., B.C., Wake Forest, Syracuse
3) D. Katie Walsh played for Louisville Ballard.
4) D. The Cards have made three straight NCAA appearances
5) D. The AAC does not offer a Field Hockey league.
So, how did you do?
-- 5 correct. You're ready to grab a clipboard and join Coach Sowry on the pitch!
-- 4 correct. Not bad. Join me in the press box next home game
--3 correct. Average. We'll let you sit in the top bleachers
--2 correct. You need to pick your game up. Report for practice 8 a.m. Friday
--1 correct. Really? OK, you're assigned to chasing errant shots during practice.
--0 correct. We're lining you up in front of one of the water cannons at halftime.