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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Two Cardinal Sports Remain Undefeated -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Women's Soccer Opens 2018-19 Battle of the Bluegrass Series with Win

Louisville and Kentucky waited two and a half hours to start their game after inclement weather put things on hold. They then waited an additional 91 minutes before seeing the game's first goal. Less than two minutes into the first overtime period, Brooklynn Rivers received a pass from Allison Whitfield near the top of the box, turned, and slotted a shot past the diving UK keeper for the Golden Goal. I will leave my thoughts on the Collegiate Sudden Victory rules aside for today, not least because Louisville benefited from them last night. 

It was a game that Louisville deserved to win, dominating both possession and the efforts on goal. Despite an even first half and Kentucky being denied by the crossbar in the second half, it was mostly the Cards providing the offense, outshooting the Wildcats 14-5 and 9-1 shots on goal. Louisville's advantage was the product of what we've seen from the Cards so far this season, a strong defense and relentless attack. Fortunately, counterattacks and set pieces were not to doom Louisville last night, as the two teams were even on fouls with only 7, no cards were issued, and Louisville limited Kentucky to only 2 corner kick opportunities.

A look at how the Cards performed against Paulie's keys to the game shows that the Cards executed these keys perfectly and they led to the win. Ideally, they would have led to even more goals, but I'll take a win to remain undefeated any way that I can.

1) Shutting the Door: As I've already mentioned, Louisville's defense was on lock, holding Kentucky to just the one shot on goal and limiting chances in general on their way to a clean sheet. Goalkeeper stats are typically lost when you only look at saves, as Gabby Kouzelos walked away with only one from last night, but when you save the only shot on goal, you have a better chance of winning. Goalkeepers usually gain numerous touches which don't go in the box score but can have just as big an impact on the game. It was a strong effort from the defense last night and one that I hope they can duplicate. The offense will be unable to find the net in future games for sure.

2) Flying Freshmen: Did Coach Karen Ferguson Dayes read yesterday's column? Not only did the freshmen have a huge impact, but all three major players mentioned (Sarah Hernandez, Delaney Snyder, and Maisie Whitsett) earned the start last night. Hernandez had her normal spot in the defense, and we have already discussed how that went. Snyder and Whitsett started for Taylor Kerwin and Allison Whitfield respectively. Whitsett had two of three shots on goal while Snyder was unusually quiet. Of course, passing and individual defending stats are not kept so without being able to watch last night's game, I'm unable to provide a full assessment of their performances.

3) Ekic Energy: Like the two freshmen, I'm not able to fully assess the game that Emina Ekic played, but she did add another two of three shots on goal. Ekic always provides strength through the midfield and I'm sure that with the overall team performance on display last night, she played her typical high performing game.

4) Super Subs: This was one that I added in the comments and it also played a huge part in the outcome of the game. Coach KFD did not go as deep as normal into the bench, but she outsubbed Ian Carry 5-2. Her subs were also extremely effective, with two normal starters coming from the bench in Whitfield and Kerwin and Mollie Rouse returning to the team. Whitfield provided a single shot and the lone assist in the game, and Rouse was much more offensive than expected, putting two of three shots on goal and being part of the buildup for the goal.

Louisville has already exceeded my expectations through this tough three game stretch, gaining 2
wins when I said I'd be pleased with at least a win and a tie. The game at Purdue on Thursday will still be a test, but Louisville has proven that they can win games that they were unable to last season. The Cards have given me a lot of optimism moving forward to the conference season, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the Cards can do as the season progresses.




Volleyball Knocks off UCF to Move to 4-0

Facing a tough weekend, the Louisville volleyball team continued their hot start, moving their unbeaten streak to four matches. Through the four matches, the Cards have yet to drop a set, yesterday sweeping UCF in the first match of the Florida Bubly Invitational. As in the previous matches, it was a matter of Louisville’s superior hitting that propelled them to victory with the Cards outhitting the Knights 0.362 to 0.133.

Like before, Louisville struggled to close out the opponent in the second set, allowing UCF to bring the match to 23-22 before winning the final two points. Unlike other matches, though, it was not a failure in hitting by the Cards that made the set closer, as Louisville still hit .387 in the set, rather an improvement from UCF. Fortunately, Louisville was able to focus up and put the set away. Hopefully, this trend of second set letdowns will come to an end before the Cards are punished for it.

Statistically, the match was similar to what we’ve come to expect so far from UofL. Melanie
McHenry led the team in kills, Wilma Rivera in assists, and Molly Sauer in digs. If you’re new around here, allow me to inform you that those three names will be the team leaders for the majority of the matches this season. To go along with her 12 kills, McHenry completed a double-double with 10 digs. She did finish with 5 errors but peppered in 3 block assists and a solo block to put together a strong overall match.

UCF was not a pushover team, like those that the Cards faced last weekend, but their first true test will come today against hosts Florida. The Gators are coming off of a loss against USC last night and will be looking to put up a more notable performance after a poor showing last night. Louisville has played pretty good volleyball to this point in the season, but this will be the first match where Louisville is up against a team with a talent level at or above their own. The Cards can win today but will need to put together a complete performance to do so. Louisville and Florida get underway at 5PM and live video is available via ESPN Streaming. After a strong overall season in her first year at the helm, Coach Dani Busboom-Kelly will be looking for a marquee win early in this one


With Case on the farm and Jared carousing with mice in Florida, Worldwide Jeff and Paulie welcome Mike Gilpatrick into the studio for The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour.

We'll have a lively hour of discussion about last night's soccer and volleyball, plus look at today's football game against Alabama.

Join us, won't you?  Listen live at WCHQ 100.9 FM, on the website, on the WCHQ app or see us on Facebook Live. Promoting the joy and excitement of UofL women's athletics.


In closing, the University of Louisville Football team travels to Orlando, FL to take on last year's
National Champions Alabama.

We'll watch as fans and hope the best for our Cardinals. A tough task, no doubt, to begin the post-Lamar Jackson era. We'll see how these Cards are dealt against a formidable opponent. New defensive coordinator, a Puma  in the backfield and lots of questions on defense...for UofL.

Feel free to share your thoughts about this or any other topics in the comments section!

Until next time, Go Cards!

1 comment:

  1. Your "little birdies" got their wings clipped yesterday in Football, Paulie. UK won.

    Matthew Mitchell for Governor


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