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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Cardinal Couple - Just Keep Driving

On the Road Again

After upwards of 24 hours of traveling over a 3 day period, to spend less than 20 hours in Minneapolis, I'm back in the 'Ville.  I'm tired, disappointed in the outcome of events in Minnesota, but oh so very glad I made the trip.

EDITOR NOTE:  Jeff was nice enough to join us on the radio yesterday while watching his Tesla drive him back to Louisville, I haven't heard if he picked up beer cheese or Huber Beer yet...but you CAN hear the show HERE


The UofL Volleyball playing year has come to a close with a disappointing 1st round NCAA
tournament loss to a surprisingly good Northern Iowa team.

My thoughts about the season are still all a-jumble, but I want to try to get some down here.

First and foremost, if you take anything away from my chaotic thoughts, take this one away.  This team over-achieved compared to what was expect of a lot!  Picked in pre-season to finish 8th in the ACC, which would likely have left them on the outside of the NCAA tournament looking in (again), with a new coach...not only new to UofL, but new to being a head coach altogether, this team put together an amazing later season run through the conference only losing two matches, and taking the co-championship with Pitt and earning the NCAA automatic qualifying bid for the conference.  Drawing an NCAA tournament draw that pitted them in the sub-region of the 7th seed vs the much closer 4 seed in Lexington.

So what happened in Minnesota?  While I haven't had the chance to go back and rewatch the match (and I'm not sure I will) to analyze, my first instinct points to blocking.  Not our blocking so much, although we were certainly a better blocking team than we have been in recent past, but to the opponents blocking.  If you look at the later season losses and matches where we struggled, the one theme that I think I found is that the other team blocks well.  In the UNI match, we were even in total blocks on the stat sheet, but not all blocking efforts make the stat sheet.  Deflections and tips that don't result in a point don't show up in the stat sheet at all, and good blocking teams don't just rack up stats, they deflect and tip shots that give the defense a better chance to play the ball and get a good in-system offense set.  Getting tips and deflections also causes the hitting team to try to start adjusting their shots to hit around, tip over, or just power through the block, all of which are actions that can be fraught with peril.  Any time you can get the other team reacting to you, rather than the other way around, you have a leg up.

We had an amazing defensive trio this year in Molly Sauer, Gabbie Wiley, and Alexis Hamilton.  We got less playing time late in the season from Alexis due to a wrist injury, but these three did an amazing job covering the digging and passing duties using just two players at a time, particularly on serve receive, when most teams would use three.  Add in a sprinkling of all-around playing from the likes of Amanda Green, and Melanie McHenry, and our digging and passing were much improved over last years, and drastically so over two seasons ago.  In basketball, turnovers and rebounds can generate offense (particularly if you're playing Walz-style of basketball), the equivalent in Volleyball is digging and passing.  We lose Gabbie to graduation, and looking on the current roster, the name that jumps to mind to fill that spot would be Natalie Palastro.  We do have two signed Libero/Defensive Specialists, including a standout from Nebraska name Maggie Mullen who I expect will compete for this role.

In other graduations, we will lose Maggie DeJong (apparently we have a firm quota of one "Maggie" per season) in the middle.  I expect Piper Roe to step up to fill that role.  Again, we have a signed freshman from Appleton, WI named Emily Scott, but I expect this role to be Piper's unless something crazy happens.  Tess Clark will also be departing, and the current roster player that would most naturally slot into that spot is Megan Sloan, but we incoming freshman Aiko Jones out of Jamaica who looks absolutely dynamic, as well as a Wisconsinite, Claire Chaussee.  I can see both competing for the role as incoming freshmen.  Lastly we graduate Coline Coessens, who mostly helped out as a serving specialist, but did occasionally play full-rotation with all around skills.  Not being confined to one specific role, I expect her contributions will be replaced with a patchwork of players and adjustments in play over the overall team.

This was a great year for UofL Volleyball, it hasn't matched the most successful years of the squad over the years, but given the starting point, I don't believe there is any room for complaints here at all.  This was a huge step forward for the squad, and I expect more to come as this team gets molded more and more in Dani Busboom Kelly's image.

I look forward to spring play, and the start of play next fall.

"You and I" might be advancing, yes, but I love the future
of this team. 

Basketball In Action

Two basketball games today.  The men host Seton Hall at the KFC Yum! Center at 4 p.m, while the women are hoping to outrun the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State with a 3 p.m. tip.  While the men will be looking to get back to their winning ways, the women will be working to continue to remain undefeated and go to 8-0 to start the season (with wins over 3 Top 25 teams in there already, lest we forget).  If you can't make it downtown, the men will be shown on ESPN2, while the women's stream will only be available on the added-cost SDSU streaming service.  I'll give Nick and AJ the listen on 790 AM (probably streamed) instead, and perhaps pull up the #3 Notre Dame vs #1 UConn game starting at 4 p.m.

 Muffet McGraw vs Geno Auriemma is always an entertaining match-up of two very good teams, both of which we'll be playing later this season.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

Looking for wins to talk about from yesterday?  The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour was a walk-off
Grand Slam home run of a broadcast.  It was particularly awesome if you ignore the dufus who couldn't even manage to stay on a phone call.

It was a bit of a different lineup from our usual, but man was it fantastic.  Julie JC "no periods" Sullivan, Paige "Wiener Dog Lover" Sherrard, and Daryl "#4" Faust joined Paulie in studio, and we couldn't ask for better analysis and discussion of Volleyball, Basketball, and Soccer than from this crew.  I did manage to maintain a phone connection for long enough to talk about the Volleyball loss some as I was driving across the hinterlands of Wisconsin, and then got to listen to the rest of it via the wonders of Internet streaming.

The replay is already up at

 If you didn't get to hear it live, definitely go check it out.

-- JMcA


  1. Tough break for Volleyball. Iowa and midwestern teams always seem to be very good, as well as California teams, at volleyball. So, I am not surprised over the loss that much but I am saddened by it.

    I just listened to the rebroadcast of the Cardinal Couple radio show. Good job all of you. If you missed this broadcast you really need to go and listen to it at the link Jeff put in the article. You aren't going to get this kind of coverage on UofL women's sports anywhere else on the radio. Demling, Coffey, Ramsey and Rutherford, Howie and Maybin -- all of you could learn something here.

    Nice job Paulie, Jeff, Page, Daryl and Julie! And nice jobs in the past to Case and Jared. Keep it up!

    And a great write up today, Jeff!

    Curtis "South Dakota State? Of course it's a state!" Franklin

  2. Wow. A new dimension for Card Couple radio show. I like it. I like the "A" team a lot, Paulie and Jeff, but anytime you want to incorporate Daryl and Paige into the show, I am "all-in"

    Julie? Well, she is outspoken. I don't like the fact she slammed you again on the air, Paulie. I guess you need her style of perspective but I can take or leave her.

    Sitting on the beach this morning with my laptop, enjoying the breeze and sun and I can't wait for Louisville basketball and bowl announcement today. Where do you think Louisville will play. Please, please let it be Jacksonville!

    -- The Real Joe Hill --

    1. Thanks guys! It was a fun show to do. Guys, please don't be too hard on Julie. She's new to a lot of this and learning admirably. She's a keeper and maybe I DO need to be called out every once in a while by her. After all, it's a full-time job for Case, Jared and Jeff to handle and they could use her help.

      -- Paulie

  3. Hey Jeff - Great VB piece. It doesn't seem like there are too many hard core VB fans here, at least I haven't seen many comments from them. You're doing a great job of covering VB and providing enough detail to get many of the WBB readers here more interested in VB. Hopefully we'll get more of the VB fans to come over here and comment. Also hope to get more detail and support from the ULWBB staff for your efforts.


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