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Sunday, September 30, 2018

FH Wins, WSoc loses - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Field Hockey Wins


Justine Sowry's squad got back to their winning ways with a 2-0 victory over 15th ranked Virginia.  It was youth in action for the scores, with Sophomore Bethany Russ, a name we've called a lot this year for field hockey, and freshman Katie Schneider finding the back of the cage.

The scoring was split evenly between the halves, but only just barely.  The Cards got their first corner of the game in the last two minutes of the first half.  Carter Ayers got the ball to Russ, who found the back left corner of the cage for the score.

The 2nd half was almost the reverse, with the Cards getting a corner in the 4th minutes.  Katie Walsh took the shot on this one, but it hit the left post, and Schneider took advantage of the rebound to slot the shot home.

Credit to UVA, they had more shots in the game, and more shots on goal, contributing to a nice stat line for Ayeisha McFerran, with 5 saves.

Field Hockey will wrap up 4 games on the road with an unusual mid-week tilt at Ball State on Wednesday.  The start time for that one is 3pm.

Women's Soccer Takes an L


The Cards set out on a gargantuan task yesterday, to try to take down one of the top teams in the
country in 3rd ranked UNC.  A valiant effort, but it wasn't to be.

Case spoke, on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour yesterday about the need for Emina Ekic to step up her level play, and we joked about her listening in while they were warming up on the pitch.  Perhaps she was.  Ekic took a through ball from Brooklyn Rivers and fired it home in the 12th minute of play.

Alas, that would be the last time the Cards would find the back of the net.  UNC took over from that point, with 4 goals in the rest of the first half.  While we're not sure what Karen Ferguson-Dayes told her squad during halftime, it largely worked.  The Cards defense played much stiffer in the 2nd half, hold UNC to just 3 shots.  They did convert on a PK in the 48th minute, leading to the 5-1 final score, but otherwise the Cards held strong.

Louisville will return home to host 6th ranked UVA on Thursday with a 7pm start.  This continues the stretch of very stiff competition for the Cards late in the season.

Cross-Country


We don't talk too much about cross-country, but I did want to bring a quick result to your attention.

Dorcas Wasike won the women's 5k run at E.P. Tom Sawyer park.  She has yet to finish below the top of the podium all season.  Freshman Emmanuel Cheboson also reached the top of the podium in a multi-team race for the first time in his career.

It may not be as flashy and fun as other sports to watch, but our cross-country team is proving to have some of the best runners in the nation.  Keep an eye on them!

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour


The full starting line-up was back in the studio yesterday for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour.  There was some really great discussion, and I learned a little bit more about Soccer from Case, so that's always a score. The better half of Cardinal Couple -- Sonya -- sitting in, observing...watching the madness live. 

Soccer, Volleyball, Field Hockey, all were on the menu for discussion.  Check it out!


Coming Up


A couple of teams are in action today.  Volleyball continues their weekend swing through the southeast with a 1 p.m. match at Clemson.  Look for the Cards to take this one without a great deal of difficulty.  Clemson, bless their hearts, just aren't all that great of a volleyball team.  They are above .500 on the season, after a non-conference slate of mostly mid-majors and below, but so far, have only won a single set in conference, managing to take one off of Syracuse, but having been swept so far by Notre Dame and Boston College.  This one is available on ACC Network Extra, and regular reader Arthur is in Clemson and has said he may attend, so I hope we can get a report from the opponent's perspective.

Softball continues fall exhibition play today with a double-header in Bloomington at 1 p.m. and "3'ish".

Lacrosse is in action at the LLS with a couple of exhibition games today as well. An early start there at 10 a.m. Jared Anderson representing the Cardinal Couple crew today with his camera and text reports to us. That Jared is everywhere! 

Go Cards!

-- 
JMcA

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Volleyball Handles GT -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Volleyball Moves to 3-0 in Conference with Win


Despite Georgia Tech's previously undefeated home record, the Louisville Cardinals headed do to Atlanta yesterday and handed the Yellow Jackets their first home loss and third conference loss of the season. GT dropped to 0-3 in conference with the loss while the Cards remained undefeated. Louisville now sits at 10-4 on the year with a good chance to move to 11-4 (4-0) tomorrow when they take on Clemson in South Carolina. 

Louisville's win last night was of the sweep variety, as the Cards took the three sets 25-16, 25-21, and 25-17. Georgia Tech was never close in the first two sets but were sitting at 23-21 in set number 2 before the Cards put the game away with back to back blocks of Mikaila Dowd. It was the same issue that we have seen in the second set numerous times this season where the Cards just lost focus a bit and lost that hitting edge. Fortunately, the additional errors in this one were not enough for Georgia Tech to steal a set and extend this match. The crowd in the arena seemed very into the match, especially during that second set where it seemed like they might have a way to claw their way back. Had Louisville dropped the second set, the rest of the match may have gone quite differently.

After the set break, Louisville caught fire. After a quick barrage of points traded led to the two teams being tied at three, the Cards went on to win 15 of the next 20 points to go up 18-8 and effectively ice the game. Louisville hit .543 in the set with 21 kills, only 5 fewer than their previous two sets combined. 21 kills is insane, as it means that only 4 points came from opponent errors or blocks. The Cards did everything right in the third set and it showed. One could argue that the show of quality from UofL was actually a negative for Georgia Tech, but even if playing a poor defense, the hitters have to find their spots. Louisville was doing that in the third set. 

Louisville was paced in the third set by Megan Sloan, who snagged 8 of her team leading 12 kills in the third. Emily Scott finished second on the team with 11 kills on the night and did so on only 16 attacking attempts. Scott had no errors and added in 6 block assists to stand out to me as the hitter of the night. Melanie McHenry was consistent, finishing with 8 kills at 2-3 per set, but still struggled with errors. McHenry is one of the best all-around players on the team and has a ton of talent at the outside hitting position, but she has been slumping hard of late. For Louisville to finish with the type of season they did last year, and also improve on that finish, they'll need McHenry to break out of whatever fog is holding her down.

All in all, the victory is a good one for Coach Dani Busboom-Kelly's squad, despite the minor downturn in the second set. The Cards looked dominant in two of three sets and they'll need performances like that throughout entire matches down the stretch against some of the better ACC teams. They'll especially need to be able to recreate that kind of performance if they'd like to have any success in the NCAA tournament. Another chance to test the rotation will come tomorrow against a struggling Clemson team. The Tigers are 9-7 on the season and fell to 0-3 in conference with a home loss to Notre Dame last night. Clemson will be playing only their fifth home match of the season tomorrow against Louisville, and they had their fourth largest crowd in history last night, but in their three matches against Boston College, Syracuse, and Notre Dame, the Tigers picked up only one set. Louisville should be able to play their game tomorrow and leave town with a tidy victory. That match is set for 1PM on Sunday and will be available on ACC Network Extra.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour


Jared gave a good preview of the packed weekend in his article yesterday, so why not join us for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour to start it all off. The "A-Team" will be in the studio in full force this week and we've got plenty to talk about. While the week may have been a bit slower than an average fall sports week, we'll discuss victories aplenty and preview the big games the rest of the weekend. Tune in to WCHQ at 11AM for all of the joy and excitement of Louisville women's sports. Check out the links on the side of the site for more info!

Until next time, Go Cards!
-CH-

Friday, September 28, 2018

A Look at the Weekend -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Looking Ahead to the Weekend

If we're looking ahead to the weekend that can mean only one thing- it's Friday!  For most of us, the workweek is almost over and the exciting events over the weekend are swiftly approaching.  As always, this weekend is stacked full of events for Louisville athletics.

Friday, Sept. 28

Volleyball @ Georgia Tech, 7:00 p.m.

Louisville has won three straight matches including two wins on the road against ACC foes last weekend.  At 9-4 and 2-0 in the ACC the Cards hold the 26th spot in the Coaches Poll.  The Yellowjackets hold an 11-4 record but have lost their only two ACC matches so far.  A key note in this match-up is that Georgia Tech is 10-0 at home this season.

#6 Men's Soccer @ #12 NC State, 7:00 p.m.

Much like most sports the ACC dominates men's soccer.  The 6-1-1 Cards hold a perfect nine points in conference play so far and are coming off a 2-1 victory at Georgetown while playing a man down due to a red card for the final 17ish minutes.

Louisville Live, 7:00 p.m.

Chris Mack has been hard at work with the men's basketball program.  Currently, Louisville has the #2 recruiting class for the 2019-2020 year, right behind USC and a spot ahead of Kentucky (sorry, Guv).  This Louisville Live event is a first for Louisville men's basketball- a free event held on Fourth Street Live!.  There will be giveaways and activities for fans as well as three-point and dunk contests featuring the current players.

Saturday, Sept. 29

Men's Tennis All-American National Championships, All Day

No, this is not THE national championships, but just an early season event with the name in it.  The Cards will be headed to the Oil Capital of the World down in Tulsa, Okla., for this two-day event.

Cross Country Greater Louisville Classic, 8:00 a.m.

Marked as one of the greatest cross country meets in the country, the men's and women's cross country teams stay in town for this event.  This all day event features races for collegiate, high school, and middle school groups at EP Tom Sawyer State Park.  Note: parts of the park will be closed due to the event.

Women's Soccer @ #3 North Carolina, 12:30 p.m.

Off to a hot start to the season at 9-1-0 and 3-0-0 women's soccer faces ultimately their toughest challenge to date.  Case broke down this team and season exceptionally well yesterday and he can offer better insight than I can.  For a team with hopes of making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since moving into Lynn Stadium this match-up will be a good feel for what to expect in the postseason.

#8 Field Hockey @ #15 Virginia, 1:00 p.m.

Hopefully you have multiple screens to watch all these games on because this is another must-see.  At 7-3 and 1-2 the Cards need another conference victory.  Typically, five or six of the ACC teams make the 'Big Dance' and this team is too good to be the odd one out.  UofL will need to not pull a Wake Forest game and hopefully some offensive players will wake up.

Football vs Florida State, 3:30 p.m.

A preseason big game has turned into a game of no interest for the rest of the country.  Will Jawon Pass or Malik Cunningham see a majority of the action?  Will the stadium even reach two-thirds capacity?  Will we see the beginning of the end of the Bobby 2.0 era?

Sunday, Sept. 29

Men's Tennis All-American National Championships, All Day

The men's tennis team finishes up the second of two days for the championships and will hope to have a good idea of the season to come.

Lacrosse Scrimmages- Two Games, 10:00 a.m.

These games have not been publicized, but lacrosse will be hosting a double-header for fall scrimmages beginning in the morning at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium.

Softball @ Indiana- Two Games, 1:00 p.m.

Also in their fall schedule is softball.  The Cards head up north to Bloomington to face the Hoosiers in a double-header.  Coach Holly Aprile is hitting the ground running this fall in preparation for the spring schedule.  We should have a better feel for the team when they wrap up their fall schedule in a couple weeks.

Volleyball @ Clemson, 1:00 p.m.

Wrapping up a four-game road trip, the Cards will face Arthur's team.  From what we know Arthur and his family is doing well following the recent natural disaster and campus is still standing.  The Tigers are 9-6 and winless in the ACC.  Like Georgia Tech, Clemson is also undefeated at home, but has only played there three times this year.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

As always, the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour brings you the latest in Louisville women's sports (plus a little other stuff) every Saturday from 11 a.m.- noon.  This Saturday will be no different besides having the full 'A-team' back in studio (Yes, Paulie will be back and ready to go).  We will have plenty to talk about before racing home to catch early afternoon games or heading to Cardinal Stadium to enjoy a quick tailgate.  Make sure to tune into 100.9 fm locally or catch it on WCHQ Facebook live from anywhere.

We always appreciate your support and encourage you to interact with us in the comments section here or on Facebook while we are live.

Happy Friday and Go Cards!

- Jared -

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Just Past Halfway -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Watch out! It's an article by Case, and it's not a Saturday. That's the surprising part. The unsurprising part is that this article is going to be about soccer. With no games last night to recap, I figured I would take today to look at the women's soccer team at the midpoint of the season. There are only 7 of 17 regular season games remaining, so I'm a bit late, but a bit late is better than not at all. Let's get right into it.

The Recap


Louisville sits at 9-1 on the season and at 3-0 in conference. Already, they have matched both win totals from last season. This is impressive. The Cards lost their defensive captain in Inger Katrine-Bjerke and their offensive leader in Alison Price. So many players have stepped into their places seamlessly that it would be like listing the entire starting lineup to do so. That is what has made this Louisville team good so far this year: teamwork. You cannot point at the additional development of any individual player as the cause for this season's success. Everyone from last season (and the freshman) has stepped up in a major way. 

This shows in the stats sheets as well as the overall style of play. Louisville does their best when they string together possession and make the extra pass to open up scoring opportunities. So far this season, Louisville has scored 26 goals. 22 of those goals have been assisted. The Cards are moving the ball well, finding their spots on crosses, and not playing hero ball. For reference, the Cards scored only 27 goals all of last year. The 2017 statistics page is unavailable, so I can't find the exact assist numbers, but to only be behind the goal total by one with seven games remaining is impressive in and of itself. Of course, the 13 goals scored against Wright State and Eastern Kentucky help that number tremendously, but the ability to put up that kind of scoring volume speaks to itself. 
With 7 games to go, Louisville sits at 9 points in conference. They finished last season with 11, 2 points out of a tie for 8th place with Boston College. I say this because there are only 8 teams that make the ACC tournament. Louisville finished 10th in the ACC last year, missing the ACC tournament because of it, and ultimately missing the NCAA tournament due to lack of noteworthy performances down the stretch. The Cards will have plenty of opportunities to show their mettle and prove they are worthy of a tournament bid. TopDrawerSoccer has taken notice, ranking the Cards 25th this week after listing them as "also considered" last week. They also named Brooklynn Rivers the player of the week for last week, as Jared pointed out yesterday. Finding yourself in the rankings is positive, staying there is key.


The Players


I mentioned how everyone has stepped up so far this season, but just saying so doesn't quite do it justice. Over the course of this year, 15 different players have seen their name called for the start. Of the 15, 9 players have started all 10 games. 12 players have seen action in every game, and 7 players have logged more than 800 minutes. Leading in minutes are Sarah Hernandez, a freshman (!!!!) centerback, with 912 and Niamh Nelson, the ever dependable left back, with 911. As best I can tell, those two have been on the field for every minute of every game, and I'm not sure where the discrepancy comes from in their total. Callie McKinney joins the two defenders in the 900 club, and they are the only three players with more minutes than goalkeeper, Gabrielle Kouzelos. The other three over 800 are the other two defenders, Gabrielle Vincent and Arianna Ferraro, and the other central midfielder, Nadege L'Esperance. These players have been putting their soul into this team so far and have not dropped off from a fitness standpoint. What appears to be a lack of depth in the defense may be something to watch, but the dependability of the four back-liners has been astounding.

Offense has been a bit more of a revolving door. No player I would classify as "offensive" has logged more than an hour per game average, including former freshman phenom, Emina Ekic. Ekic has still had a solid season, finding herself in fourth on the team with 6 points, but her shot percentage is way down, and she's not producing at the rate we may have expected. Fortunately, Coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes has recognized that Ekic may not be infallible and has been willing to substitute her, showing a propensity to put what is best for the team on the field at any given moment. I think, in the past, Coach KFD has been more focused on having the most talented players on the field at all times, even when those players are not having their best nights.

Brooklynn Rivers has been as dominant as we could expect, but she has been surprisingly matched by a freshman, Maisie Whitsett. The two are tied atop the team with 18 points, but Rivers has been arguably the MVP, with 4 game winning goals (out of 7) to Whitsett's 3 (out of 8). While Louisville has won 9 games, only 8 of them have been credited with game winning goals, and Rivers and Whitsett account for 7 of those. The two aren't usually on the field at the same time, but I'd be interested to see what a formation change that allows the two of them to play together at the top might bring. Then again, they say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." It doesn't appear to be "broke" so far.

Pacing the team-based offense I mentioned earlier has been Allison Whitfield, who leads the team with 5 assists. Whitfield has been playing in a much wider role than in the past and has been flourishing. She has enough speed and physicality to get around edge defenders, and Coach KFD trusts her to play on both sides of the field. She's creative with the ball and has exceptional placement with her crosses. Whitfield has been key in breaking down defenses, whether she's creating the final scoring chance or not, and that will need to continue for this team to see additional success late in the season.

The Future


Louisville has 7 conference games remaining before the conference tournament. One win will surpass their total for both overall and conference play last season and beat their points total from last season. Adding a couple of additional results to that next win should secure a spot into the conference tournament for the Cards. Unfortunately, the schedule is no pushover from here on out. Of seven games remaining, four come against teams ranked ahead of Louisville in this week's TDS poll. Louisville is lucky to avoid Boston College and Florida State this season, or the number of ranked teams would only increase. 
The big one-two punch comes in the next two games for Louisville. Saturday, the Cards will be in Chapel Hill to take on the fifth ranked Tar Heels. After that, they'll get less than a week to recover before taking on the third ranked Cavaliers of Virginia in Lynn Stadium. If the Cards can get out of those two games with at least one result, I'll be both shocked and ecstatic. My sights are set on the game following Virginia, against a lowly Miami squad at home on October 7th. The team will be coming off of a fairly short turnaround following the Virginia game, and confidence may be low. As I said, I'd be thrilled with a result from one of the next two matches, but I don't expect one. Miami will be an opportunity for Louisville to turn things around and get their confidence back. They absolutely cannot afford to come out with low confidence, play down to their opponent, and leave points on the table in a home match against a lower opponent. 

After Miami, Louisville heads to North Carolina again for three straight road games against Wake Forest, Duke, and NC State (the latter two of which are currently ranked). This will be a brutal road trip, but the Cards should come out of it with points. Wake is a middling team, and the Cards should be able to hold up against the Blue Devils and Wolfpack. Finally, the Cards return home for senior night against Virginia Tech on October 25th. VT is another middling team in conference, and that will be the final opportunity to pick up points heading into the tournament. Hopefully, Louisville will be jockeying for seeding and not inclusion for the ACC tournament, but we never know how the rest of this season will turn out. 
I'm looking forward to the rest of this season. I think that this Cardinal team is legit, and they have the talent and fortitude to make noise in the ACC regular season, ACC tournament, and potentially even the NCAA tournament. Let me know what you think about the Cards thus far and their potential for the rest of the year in the comments below.

Until next time, Go Cards!
-CH-

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Rivers Earns Soccer Honors -- A Look into Field Hockey -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Rivers Earns Top Drawer Soccer Award


Brooklynn Rivers was named Top Drawer Soccer Player of the Week.  The junior scored game-winning goals against Notre Dame and Syracuse last week, giving her four game-winners this year.

Rivers put up the first goal in the middle of the second half against Notre Dame en route to a 2-0 victory Thursday night.  She then scored the only goal of a 1-0 victory against Syracuse with nine seconds remaining on Sunday.  With seven goals and four assists on the year, Rivers is tied with freshman Maisie Whitsett for 18 points, most on the team.

Case is our women's soccer expert and can give a much better in-depth analysis of the matches, a look at how the season is going, and the reason behind the success.  I'll leave Case to break it down for us in the near future.

Field Hockey Reaches Midpoint in Season

Although the season just started a month ago (the home opener was one month ago exactly), field hockey has already reached their midway point in the season.  With 18 regular season games, at least one guaranteed ACC Tournament game, and hopefully at least one NCAA Tournament game, this season is quickly flying by.

Currently ranked eighth in the country, Louisville is 7-3 on the year with a conference record of 1-2.  They're coming off a weekend that included a disappointing 4-2 loss at a then-unranked Wake Forest team and then a 4-0 blowout victory against Appalachian State.

The Cards could easily be sitting at 8-2 or 9-1 on the season.  Louisville collapsed in the second half of the home opener against Ohio State.  They then fell a t Wake Forest, in their worst victory of the season following a poor defensive outing.

Louisville is averaging nearly two goals per game while allowing 1.40 goals per game.  Erica Cooper leads the team with six goals, four of them coming in the most recent game.  She is followed closely by Bethany Russ' four goals.  Six other Cardinals have either one or two goals.

On the defensive end, Ayeisha McFerran continues to show how great of a goalkeeper she can be.  The senior has 31 saves for a .689 save percentage while limiting opponents to 14 goals in 10 games.

McFerran is 20th in the country on win-loss percentage at .700.  She's 18th on goals against average on the year.  She;s 46th on save percentage, a stat that dropped following the Wake Forest match.

The final eight regular season games feature four ranked opponents: #15 Virginia, #4 Duke, #11 Syracuse, #22 Albany.  Only two of the remaining opponents are not top 40 in RPI.  Under Coach Sowry's leadership this team can easily win out if they put their minds to it.

Louisville hits the road for matches against Virginia and Ball State before returning home to host Michigan State on October 7.  Women's soccer, volleyball, and softball will all have games at home on Floyd Street at the same time.


On a side note, congrats to the women's soccer counterparts, the #6 Louisville men's soccer team, on their 2-1 victory at Georgetown last night.  The game-winner came in a time where the Cards were down 10-v-11.

Happy Wednesday and Go Cards - Jared -

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Not to Worry About Volleyball -- Who Will Be Ranked Where -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

No Reason to Worry About Louisville Volleyball

A 9-4 start to the 2018 season might not be how many of us expected the Louisville volleyball season to go, but there isn't reason to fear at this time.  There is plenty to look forward to on a year that could still end up better than last year.

All four losses came against ranked opponents- USC, Florida, Purdue, and Kentucky.  They have no victories against ranked opponents yet this year.  The Cards played the Boilermakers close in five sets and took one set at the Gators home court.  The losses to  the Trojans (neutral site) and Wildcats (home) were sweeps.  In matches where Louisville is favored they have come out on top.

Through 13 games in 2017 Louisville held an 8-5 record and was 2-1 in conference play.  The sole ACC loss was on the road to North Carolina.  Three of the five losses were to ranked opponents.  The Cards did get upset victories over #24 WKU and #21 Florida State in that run.

Jasmine Bennett is third in the country in hitting percentage at 0.467.  These stats do not include results from this past weekend where Bennett is now down to 0.416.  Molly Sauer is 34th in aces per set  Wilma Rivera is 47th in assists per set.  Once again, these are not up-to-date with this weekend's results and are subject to change.

Currently sitting one spot outside of the Top 25, Louisville has been competitive in almost every match.  In close games the Cards have found ways to pull through, proving that they have what it takes to survive.

Besides the graduation of one of the best players in the country in Tess Clark last year Louisville took a loss when Alexis Hamilton tore her ACL early into the season.  Thankfully, it appears she is still eligible to red-shirt, but put one of the Cards' best defenders on the bench for the remainder of the season.

Where Will Louisville Sports Be In The New Rankings?

The main question is who will be ranked higher: field hockey or men's soccer?  As of last week field hockey was seventh and men's soccer was sixth.

Field hockey went 1-1 over the weekend including a disappointing loss at Wake Forest.  They should drop some, but should remain in the Top 10.

Men's Soccer earned a Friday night victory over an ACC opponent and shouldn't move anywhere since everyone above them won too.

Volleyball is at the top of the list in the receiving votes category after a pair of conference wins on the road.  #26 in the country isn't too bad for a team in their second year of rebuilding and never fully broke the rankings last year.

Women's soccer was at the top of the receiving votes category last week, only a few points shy of breaking the Top 25.  With two conference victories on Thursday and Sunday and tied for best in the ACC right now it's tough to imagine them not finding themselves in the rankings when the new poll is released.

Football is nowhere close to the rankings, nor should they.  This team has just been a disappoint for Cards fans and is in jeopardy of not becoming bowl eligible this year.

There hasn't been a new women's golf poll to come out since Sept. 6, so hopefully we see a new one released soon.  This weird #26 thing continues with women's golf, who has had a couple big finishes in early season tournaments against major opponents.  When the next poll comes out expect to see the Cards in it.

With Paulie on vacation with Sonya we have switched a few things around this week to give him a chance to fully enjoy his time off.  He won't be writing any this week.  However, he's sure to be active in the comments and still has phone in case you need to reach him.  He'll be back in time for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour this Saturday.

For now, you will have myself, Case, and Worldwide running the show on here trying to keep you updated with all the happenings with women's sports at UofL.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!

- Jared -


Monday, September 24, 2018

SUNDAY SUPERLATIVES -- FH, WSOC, VB ALL WINNERS -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Sunday was a good day for the Louisville Field Hockey, women's Soccer and Volleyball squads...all winning their matches against foes. The action began late Sunday morning for Cardinal squads and ended up late Sunday afternoon in Louisville, Chapel Hill, NC and Boone, NC...despite the different locations...the results were the same...wins for UofL teams! 


FIELD HOCKEY GETS A SUPER COOPER EFFORT


Justine Sowry's stick swingers traveled to Boone, NC to take on the Appalachian State Mountaineers in Field Hockey on Sunday and got a great performance from freshman Erica Cooper offensively in a 4-0 win. 

Cooper, a freshman from Louisville's Assumption high school, delivered all four of the Cardinal scores and didn't waste anytime in getting started. Just 30 seconds into the contest, she took a feed from sophomore Bethany Russ in the middle of the circle and sent a shot toward the net that found success and the Cards first score. 

That 1-0  lead increased just 90 second later to 2-0 when Cooper positioned herself low in the circle and got a tap-in against App. State goalie Rachel Gaines. The Cards kept firing, they ended up with 14 shots in the contest...10 of those on goal...and Cooper became the first Card to turn in a hat trick since Nicole Woods last year against Kent State when she followed up a rebound of a shot she took 30 minutes into the first half and guided that rebound into the net to make it 3-0. 

The first half ended that way 3-0 and Sowry encouraged The Stick Girls to continue to work hard and stay mentally focused in the final 35 minutes.


Aussie "Nic" Youman was a Cardinal FH great. 
Cooper's final tally came with ten minutes left in the contest. Mercedes "Meche" Pastor attempted a shot that was blocked by a App. State defender and Cooper was there to follow up the loose ball and knock it in. With the score, Cooper became the first Cardinal to reach four goals since September 17th, 2010 when Nicole Youman produced a four-bagger against Georgetown. 

With the win, Louisville improves to 7-3 on the season. They'll return to action Saturday when they travel to Virginia for a match against Wahoo Nation...UVA.



SOCCER SCORES LATE TO DOWN SYRACUSE 1-0


Louisville women's Soccer took the field Sunday afternoon in overcast and blustery conditions to face 3-7 Syracuse in ACC play. Most figured the 8-1 Cards would take the contest over the Orange...but few could have predicted just how they did it. 

The Cardinals began the first half, and spent much of the game, in Syracuse territory trying shots against both Syracuse goalkeepers (they switched the net-tenders at halftime) but the crosses weren't quite connecting and after 45 minutes of play, the teams were still right where they started...locked in a 0-0 contest. 


We don't know exactly what Louisville head soccer coach Karen Ferguson Dayes said to the squad at halftime...Coach told us post game that she'd been "rough" on the girls lately during the intermission breaks...but whatever she said seemed to inspire a more consistent and organized attack on Syracuse. 

The emotion level seemed to be more pronounced in the Cardinal players in the final half. The shots kept coming...Louisville had a 9-4 advantage in shots in the first half and a 10-3 domination in the final 45...but the Syracuse goalkeepers combined for 10 saves in the contest. Still, nothing was crossing the line and as time ticked down, it certainly appeared that we would be heading to overtime soccer.

Then, the "Rivers" flowed. 

With 15 seconds remaining in regulation, Maisie Whitsett drove toward the goal for what appeared to be another attempt to score. She deftly got a pass to Brooklynn Rivers on her left, though...the pass fooled the Orange keeper and Rivers drove it home with nine seconds on the clock. A beautiful cross...and the Cards had a 1-0 lead. 

Pandemonium erupted on the field nine seconds later and the Cards were now owners of a 9-1 record and 3-0 in the ACC. 

Our photographer Jared Anderson captured the celebration post-game. Another late win for Louisville, against a determined Syracuse squad that didn't play like a team that was 3-7 and 0-2 in conference. 

Cardinal goalkeep Gabby Kouzelos had a relatively quiet event, only having three shots on goal to defend. The 19-7 Louisville shot advantage included 11 shots on goal, Emina Ekic and Callie McKinney trying four shots. 

We caught up with a joyful Rivers after the contest. You can hear both her and Coach K's post-game remarks below: 

POST-GAME BROOKLYNN RIVERS

KAREN FERGUSON DAYES POST GAME REMARKS


One of the best starts in history for Louisville women's soccer. A team that was pre-season picked to finish ninth in the ACC now sits atop the conference standings with North Carolina. That showdown between #1 and #2 looms.... 

Louisville returns to action September 29th., when the Cards travel to Chapel Hill, NC to face the North Carolina Tar Heels. 




(Thanks to Jared for the WSOC pictures you see in today's column and the post-game remarks.)


VOLLEYBALL WINS IN FIVE OVER UNC

The Serve and Volley Cards completed the Sunday activities for Louisville women's sports and survived a five-set, back and forth tilt with the TarHeels in Chapel Hill...25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 25-27, 15-13. 

A match that featured 19 Melanie McHenry kills and 18 from Megan Sloan. It came down to a 13-13 tie in the fifth set. For UofL, though, Amanda Green stepped up with two straight kills to clinch game, set and match for the Cards...who go to 9-4 on the season and 2-0 in the ACC. 

A relatively easy first set for Dani Busboom Kelly's squad, jumping out to a 7-2 lead and leading 18-12 before taking the five-point victory. Emily Scott had three straight points in the set (two blocks and a kill) and Jasmine Bennett delivered the final kill to put the first one in the win column

Set two featured a high hitting average for UNC (.353) and the Tar Heels held a 21-16 lead before Louisville battled back to get within two at 23-21. North Carolina took two of the final three points, thoug, to get the three-point win. 

UofL rallied back after the break despite a slow beginning to the third set...trailing 7-1. The Cards evened the match at 15-15 on a McHenry kill and found themselves knotted with UNC 20-20 before running off the final five points. McHenry's service ace closed out the 25-20 Louisville win in set three. 


A back and forth set followed, the Cards leading early 5-1 but NC rallying to tie it at 8-8. Plenty of ties in the set (14) and it came down to a 25-25 tie before two straight North Carolina kills closed it out and a fifth set awaited. 

Louisville returns to the hardwood later in the week with another road trip...beginning Friday, Sept 28th. in Atlanta against Georgia Tech and then to Clemson to face the Tigers on Sunday, Sept 30th. 

A great Sunday for Cardinal women's athletics. Despite a rather dismal start to the weekend...when Cardinal Football fell on their face at Virginia 27-3...the sun came up Sunday morning and the Cards gather three wins. 

Have a great week, everyone! Enjoy what Jared and Case provide here the rest of the week and I'll "see you on the radio" and Facebook Live on Saturday with The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. 


paulie
xxxxx










Sunday, September 23, 2018

Women's Sports Galore Today -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Women's Golf


Weather is wreaking havoc with events all around the region

In Nashville, the women's golf schedule for the Mason Rudolph Championship has been altered due to rain.  Play was halted early Friday, and schedules altered for yesterday and today to try to accommodate.  They're trying to get 54 holes in for the event, but that may not happen.

Louisville currently sits in 11th place, with play scheduled to resume this morning at about the time of this writing.

Junior Lauren Hartlage is currently in 27th, while junior Mairead Martin is making a splash with her 32nd place standing.  Junior Delaney Shah is in 41st, Freshman Lauren Thibodeau sits 52nd, and Senior (how is she a Senior already?!) Olivia Cason currently in the clubhouse 62nd.

Good luck to the Women's Golf team...first of all just getting 54 in, and then to finish as well as they can given less than ideal conditions.

Volleyball


Volleyball is back in action today, now in conference play, with a match against UNC at 1 p.m.  This one is available on ACC Network Extra.

The Cards have seemed to shrug off their poor play from last week and are back playing to the level that we know they can.  Let's hope they keep it up today against the Tarheels.

As I mentioned on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour yesterday, I did get to catch some of the Notre Dame vs UNC match from Friday night.  UNC came out of the locker room looking just absolutely terrible, but by the end of the match they managed to get it put back together and really provide a challenge to Notre Dame.

This was also my first real look at Notre Dame, and their coaching succession this year doesn't seem to have slowed down the rebuilding process that program had in process.  Previous head coach Jim McLaughlin resigned in the off season due to medical problems with his back.  McLaughlin has been a fine coach for numerous programs over the years and all of the volleyball community wishes him well.  The Notre Dame program was taken over by previous Associate Head Coach Mike Johnson, who doesn't seem to have missed a beat.  This is a team that absolutely imploded 4 years ago, and while they're not back to powerhouse status, they continue to improve and work their way back into high quality play.

The Cards will continue the road-trip next weekend with matches against Georgia Tech in Atlanta, and Clemson in Clemson.  These should be opportunities for a couple of more wins for UofL.  The Cards just need to come out and play the way we know they can play and the should be fine this weekend.


Women's Soccer


Action today at Lynn Stadium, when the Cards and the Syracuse Orange take to the pitch at 1 p.m. 

It'll be wet going on the field with morning rains in Louisville creating watery conditions. 

The Cards are at 8-1 and 2-0 in the ACC. The "Cuse comes in with a 3-7 overall record and 0-2 in the ACC. The Cards have been getting great production out of Maisie Whitsett andd Brooklyn Rivers lately. Couple that with the out-of-this-world passing skills from Emina Ekic and you have a formula for success, when you also add in the staunch and solid defensive line...with Gabby squared and the other defenders. 

You can get this one on the ACC Network Extra if you can't get out to Lynn in person. WE recommend you go, though. Sunday fooball and wait and there's really nothing to discuss about Cardinal Football, except that they are 2-2 and need a whole lot of work...

Field Hockey


After a disappointing loss to an unranked Wake Forest team Friday, the Cards will likely be on the
warpath at Appalachian State today.

This one starts at 11am, and no video availability has yet been found for it.  Will Bethany Russ continue her scoring streak?  I'd say there's a good chance of it.  If the Cards can also get Mercedes Pastor loosened back up, look for a solid win over App State.

The Field Hockey schedule gets a little out of it's normal pattern this week, with only a single matchup next weekend with UVA in Charlottesville on Saturday.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour


I'm still looking for an error-free performance as engineer for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour, and yesterday wasn't it.  Regardless, I think it was a good show, as it always is when Daryl Foust joins us in the magnificen, massivet media mansion on Mellwood at WCHQ.  We had a great time chatting about Women's Soccer, a bit of Football, Volleyball, and even caught up with Fall activities for Softball and Lacrosse.  We heard audio from Brooklyn Rivers and Karen Ferguson-Dayes of Women's Soccer, Holly Aprile of Softball, and Scott Teeter of Lacrosse (and somewhat sleep deprived new dad).

You can check out the fun at:

-- 
JMcA

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Volleyball Wins ACC Opener; Field Hockey Stumbles on Road -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Volleyball Takes Down NC State in Raleigh


Last season, the only match I managed to make it to for volleyball was when NC State came to town. It was a huge ACC matchup in Cardinal Arena late in the season. Last night's match against the Wolfpack was not quite as high profile as 2017's version, but it was still an important match, acting as both teams' ACC opener. It was made even more important for Louisville because of their less than stellar performance last weekend and their uninspiring performances on the road thus far this season. 

The Cards put both of those demons behind them for the time being as they beat NC State 3-1 in a fairly close match. Louisville won 25-19, 28-26, 20-25, and 25-18. Barring the slip-up in the third, Louisville very nearly took down the Pack in straight sets, which would have been an even bigger confidence boost. Unfortunately, you don't have to look very far to locate the source of the third set struggle, as the Cards hit only .087 in the third. Overall, it was a much better match than last week, as Louisville finished with a .227 over four sets. It's not a world beating hitting percentage, but it was serviceable, and will win you matches if your opponent hits only .160.

A big improvement over last weekend came for Melanie McHenry, who was very much not herself against the Cats and Mocs. Kentucky had her locked down while she was just missing spots badly against Chattanooga. McHenry finished with 8 errors, still, but also killed 17 points and contributed to 4 total blocks. McHenry has shown that she can be the offensive leader of the team and Coach Dani Busboom Kelly has shown that she wants McHenry to do so. Now we just need to see a bit more consistency from the sophomore for her to become a feared hitter across the land. 

McHenry was joined in double digit kills by Amanda Green (13), Jasmine Bennett (12), and Megan Sloan (10). Wilma Rivera was very much in system, assisting on 53 of 60 kills and being forced into only 8 digs. Molly Sauer was stalwart on defense, picking up 26 digs and adding 4 assists. Nobody on the team was particularly useful on the serve, as the Cards finished with 11 service errors and only 3 aces. Serving has been a strength of this team early in the season, so we'll consider last night an exception rather than the rule. 

After a big win to begin the conference season, Louisville will stay in the Tarheel State for their next match, taking on North Carolina tomorrow at 1PM. The Cards started off the ACC last season with a huge winning streak. Let's see if they can duplicate such success this season. They're off to the right kind of start.

Corners Doom Field Hockey at Wake Forest


The Cards dropped their second ACC game of the season yesterday in Winston Salem as a 7-2 penalty corner disadvantage led to a 4-2 loss at the hands Wake Forest. It was Wake's (1-1) first ACC win of the season and the Demon Deacons were unranked going into the game. Louisville is sure to fall from their number 7 position after the loss but there is a long season remaining. The Cards will look to get back on track tomorrow against Appalachian State before returning to ACC play against Virginia next Saturday.

To open the scoring, it was Bethany Russ capitalizing on a penalty corner rebound. It was the first of two Louisville scores and the first of two times they would take the lead. The second came in the second half when Whena Munn broke the 1-1 tie off of a goal during the run of play. Louisville played well in the open field, and defended the run of play solidly. Unfortunately, Wake earned corner after corner, finishing with 7 corners that led to 15 shots (9 on goal). Ayeisha McFerran picked up 5 saves but all four goals for the Deacs came as a result of a penalty corner conversion. Louisville finished the game with only 4 shots, both on goal shots finding the back of the cage.

Penalty corner conversion, both offensive and defensive, is often an indicator of game results. Louisville completed 50% of their chances. Wake completed only 57%. However, the difference also comes in volume. 1/2 is usually going to fall to 4/7. Without having watched the game, I can't speak to exactly what was happening for the Cards to be hit so hard and give up so many corners, but I know that if you're giving up so many attempts on goal, you're usually going to have a bad time, even with the best goalie in the world. 

There isn't much else to say on this one. Coach Sowry will surely have the team poring over film on the off-day as they seek to determine what went wrong. The Cards have had some good wins, but again, their inability to create consistent offense (still no more than 2 goals in a single game) has come back to bite them. I don't know what the answer is, but I'm sure that everyone related to the team is trying their best to figure it out as well.


Wrap-Up Thoughts on WSoc vs Notre Dame


After nearly turning my iPhone into a brick while attempting to update yesterday, I was waiting patiently for my computer to update so I could finish fixing everything. While not being able to do anything, I decided to check in on Cardinal Couple and saw someone request my thoughts on Thursday's game in the comments. I had a nice big comment written up when my computer decided that it didn't need to ask me if I wanted to restart to finish the updates; it just went for it. Anyway, let's get into what I saw Thursday night against the Irish.

Straight out of the gate, Louisville did not look fully prepared to play. The Cards were sluggish and almost refused to run to the ball. Numerous times, players were jogging while within striking distance of a Notre Dame pass. There was simply no urgency from Louisville. In addition to the lackadaisical ball hunting, the Cardinals were also getting out-physicaled left and right by the Irish. I could probably count on one hand the number of fifty-fifty balls Louisville came away with in the first half. If not for some spectacular defensive play by the back line and a save by Gabby Kouzelos, Louisville could have been in major trouble in the first half. For most of that time, I considered it only a matter of time before the Irish broke through. They looked like the better team for much of the night.

During the second half, Notre Dame's pressure intensified. They put five shots on goal in the second half, forcing Kouzelos into four second half saves. The potential first goal of the game was saved off of the line by a Louisville defender after bouncing dangerously past Kouzelos. Still, Louisville lacked hustle and creativity. Every ball won by the defense was slammed forward with no intent. The area talent scouts seated behind me had the same thoughts saying, "They've got no ideas." It was true. I was busy mentally lamenting Louisville's passing rate (it was extremely low) when the sequence that led to the first goal began. Louisville was able to make crisp passes into space, avoid defenders, and get forward dangerously before Brooklynn Rivers headed home what was ultimately the winner. It was a similar sequence later in the game when Maisie Whitsett regained the team points lead with her goal. 

Louisville is a better team when they pass well. They have some straight line speed, but they were not physical enough against Notre Dame to commit to the long ball style of play. I would much prefer to see them continue to create thoughtful attacking chances rather than just hitting the ball upfield and hoping for the best. Additionally, the time for slowly growing into a game has passed. Poor starts like the one Thursday night will haunt against better finishing teams or on a night that the defense is not up to their very best as they were Thursday. I'm not sure what was going on, but let's hope it was isolated. 

I won't be able to make it to Sunday's game against the Orange, but this season's results show that Syracuse is not the threat that Notre Dame was. That said, Louisville cannot come out slow and play down to their opponent. I'll depend on Paulie and Jared to relay the "perkiness" of the team and how they look compared to Thursday night. Louisville finished last season with only 11 points in the conference standings, and they've already got 6 through their first two games. A win against Syracuse would be huge for this team's standing in the conference and the nation and for their confidence, as well. Let's see what they figured out in film review and training between the two games.



Cardinal Couple Radio Hour


Jared and I are both MIA from the studio this morning, but that doesn't mean you won't be treated to
a (nearly) full house with a great show. Daryl Foust sits in with Paulie and Jeff, and she's got more than enough talent to replace the two of us. The Crew will talk the three major fall sports that were in action of the last couple of days and do what they do best in bringing the Joy and Excitement of Louisville Women's Sports. Tune into WCHQ FM at 11 AM for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour via 100.9FM, wchqfm.com, the WCHQ app, and on Facebook Live. 

Until next time, Go Cards!
-CH-