A Sunday that had both wins and losses for the three major UofL women's sports transpired yesterday. Earlier the better might be the key observation here, as Field Hockey started the action and took a 3-1 win in their visit to Kent State. Women's Soccer took the field in Charlottesville, VA. to play first-round ACC Tournament action and fell to the Cavaliers 2-1. Finally, Volleyball brought in Syracuse to Cardinal Arena and suffered a heart-breaking loss in five sets to the Orange and former UofL coach Leonid Yelin. Here's the recaps, we'll start with the win:
The Cards traveled to Kent State to match up with the Golden Flashes on their Senior Day and in the final regular season game for both squads. Dry but cool conditions present as the schools battled scoreless for 18 minutes before the Golden Flashes got on the board. Our old friend penalty corner came into play and Kent took a rebound off a missed attempt and scooted the ball past Ayeshia McFerran for the early lead.
The Cards were having problems getting any continuity against KSU's defense in
the first 35 minutes. The strong Cardinal defense was also having difficulty in preventing Kent State from keeping possession but Louisville earned a penalty corner with 90 seconds left in the first half. Alli Bitting's feed was set by Katie Walsh and Bethany Russ took the shot that rocketed into the net for the equalizer. The squads went into the locker room at the half knotted up in a 1-1 tie.
Louisville picked up the pace offensively in the final 35 minutes. Another corner chance nine minutes into action found the same three that got Louisville's first goal involved and Russ once again found success with the shot to give the UofL squad the lead 2-1.
The Cards were able to maintain possession most of the final half and that paid off one more time when Madison Walsh (no relation to Katie) sent a feed to freshman Erica Cooper and she sent the attempt past KSU goalie Mary Crumlish for the final score of the day with a little over four minutes remaining in the match.
Kent State goes into MAC Tournament play next with a 7-11 record. The #11 Cards head into ACC Tournament play next to put their 13-5 record on the line, as a #3 seed, against #6 seed and #19 in the nation Wake Forest. The ACC playoffs take place in Chapel Hill, NC on the UNC pitch and Louisville plays their match against Wake on Thursday at 4 p.m.
First round ACC Women's Soccer Tournament action began yesterday and the Cards traveled by bus(es) to Charlottesville as a #6 seed to take on #3 Virginia. The schools met earlier in conference play with the Cavs getting a 1-0 win.
Louisville (12-7) was the first to score yesterday and wasted little time getting on the board. Hello, once again, to our pal corner opportunity. The Cards got the ball into the box when Emina Ekic received the corner kick, sent a shot skyward into the box and Sarah Hernandez sent a header net-ward that found success.
That, unfortunately, would be the Cards lone highlight of the match. Virginia used a aggressive and attacking defense to limit Cardinal drives and possessions and their offense patiently worked against the Cards defense to set up several scoring chances. UVA managed to tie up the score at the 14 minute mark. Louisville goalie Gabby Kouzelos found herself faced with a 2 on 1 Virginia drive in the box and went one way when the scorer and ball went the other direction and led to a tying goal. No further scoring took place in the first 45 minutes. UVA held a 5-2 shots advantage and 5-1 corner opportunity in the first half.
The second half saw the # 11 Cavs continue the offensive control of the match. That came to fruition with 17 minutes left in the contest. A lead into the box found a flying Meghan McCool, who tapped the ball into the corner of the goal for the tie-breaker. It was McCool who had scored the only goal in the Cards loss to Virginia earlier in the schedule and she, once again, provided the decider.
The Cards tried a couple of shots as time expired but none found the net. Emina Ekic was awarded a free kick with seven minutes remaining but sent it wide. Louisville was out-shot 12-4 in the match and UVA had a 7-2 corner edge.
The Cavaliers advance to Cary, NC for the semifinals, where they'll face Fla. State. The other side of the bracket has Clemson going against #1 seed UNC.
UofL now waits for the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament selections on Nov. 5th. to see if their season continues. The Cards have a #32 RPI in the latest rankings, and were receiving votes in the United Soccer Coaches poll -- which are two good things and should be able to get Karen Ferguson Dayes team into the tournament and maybe even a chance to host a first round game in the Field of 64.
A great season, so far, for a very young Louisville women's soccer squad. We certainly hope the Cards get a chance to extend it with an NCAA bid and possible home match.
A nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat thriller yesterday between Louisville Volleyball and Syracuse that ultimately came down to a fifth-set 14-13 Clemson lead and the Cards with the serve. High-risk, high reward server Wilma Rivera bringing the rocket serve she possesses to the net, but not quite over the net and the 'Cuse survives the epic battle 15-13 to take game, set and match....21-25, 25-18, 17-25, 25-18, 15-13.
A fifth set that embodied the match. Cards getting an early lead, Syracuse coming back to tie it at 5-5, tying it at 11-11 and then taking a late lead that held. A season high in kills for Melanie McHenry with 22. A match that saw the expected Syracuse front line blocking having success but also featuring another nice effort from Jasmine Bennett, off the bench and recently back from an abdominal strain with 16 kills. Cardinals Megan Sloane and Piper Roe only participating in one of the five sets, a coaching strategy, perhaps by Dani Busboom Kelly.
Such a heroic effort by Louisville, who suffers only their second conference loss of the season and their first loss in Cardinal Arena since facing UK in September. 16 service errors for the Cards, a scenario that our Volleyball expert Jeff McAdams has touched upon throughout the season. Both he and fellow "A-Teamer" Jared Anderson were on hand for the action and will hopefully add their thoughts and observations on the match in our comment section. I watched from my laptop, busily shuffling back and forth from WSOC to Field Hockey to Volleyball. Sore index fingers this morning for this guy.
My observations are, first off, any one in attendance certainly got their money's worth and more Sunday afternoon in Cardinal Arena. No pep band yesterday, Al Greener taking his contingent to the men's exhibition basketball game against Bellarmine in the KFC YUM! Center. The Cards were either hot or cold in their hitting...averaging .471 in the first set win, .423 in the third set win, but just .152 in the second set loss, .067 in the fourth set loss and .179 in the deciding fifth game. It's interesting to note that Louisville actually has a higher hitting percentage in the the fifth set (Syracuse's number was .158).
We feature Jared's pictures from Volleyball today. Louisville (10-2 in ACC play) returns to the court Friday, Nov. 2nd to host Miami at 7 p.m.
We'll mention that the Chris Mack era got off to a good start with a 71-60 win over cross-town foe Bellarmine in exhibition action. This one featured ice-cold shooting at the start and the Cards managed just 6-25 three-point shooting for the afternoon, but grabbed a 26-18 half-time lead off a 10-2 closing run and held on against the highly ranked and regarded Division II Knights.
I'll take any wins Louisville gets this season, as the Cards have their toughest schedule in history ahead of them and have just 10 scholarship players who are experiencing the Chris Mack style of hoops for the first time.
A team that needs to work on three-point shooting but plenty of pre-season left to do that. Stephen Enoch shows possible potential inside (and out) for the Cards. The big guy nailed a couple of threes to the delight of the 14,000 or so on hand for the contest.
Louisville Football? Another discouraging loss, at home, to a Wake Forest squad who came in win-less, like Louisville, in ACC play, but managed to put 21 first quarter points on the beleaguered, baffled Cards. There is an obvious lack of motivation, effort and performance present on the sidelines and field for Louisville and so many questions about the Cards effort that I have no answers for or clues about. Clemson next, and that one, sports fans, could be real ugly down in South Carolina.
LOUISVILLE WBB TIPOFF LUNCHEON
I've haven't written since Thursday and have had no chance to review the banquet to kick off Louisville women's basketball season until today. I did put Walz's pre-luncheon press remarks over on The Right Hand Of The Site....if you'd like to hear them, and here's a link as well: JEFF WALZ PRE TIPOFF LUNCHEON REMARKS
In typical fashion and what's become a tradition, I ate dessert right after the salad and then enjoyed a passable meal of a cornish hen quarter, rice and black beans and a pineapple slice with rolls and veggies. Howie and I confirmed his plans to have me back on his daily morning show Louisville First on Tuesdays, beginning October 30th., where we'll talk UofL WBB in the final hour (around 9:20 or 9:40 a.m.) WKRD 790AM in Louisville or at
this link: https://www.iheart.com/live/cards-radio-790-krd-4836/
Sean Moth...with another top notch emcee performance and Vince Tyra had remarks as well from the podium. The Canon representative referred to "the Lady Cards"...which got a collective groan from our table, and Sean engaged seniors Asia Durr and Arica Carter inn a spontaneous Q&A with Sean before Coach Walz took the podium.
It may be the only time Walz "out-fashions" assistant Sam Purcell all season. Coach discussed each player on the roster and, in predictable Walz fashion. delivered a good-natured wise crack remark about each.
Great fun and close to two hours of Cardinal WBB fans socializing and getting the scoop about the team they love. Due to Sonya's having to be at work, we unfortunately had to leave immediately after the banquet and did not get a chance to mingle post-banquet with the players, coaches and fans or get any post-luncheon interviews, like I usually do.
Plenty of time for that in the upcoming season. "Worldwide" Jeff McAdams was present as well and revealed to us that his table was actually a chair short at the beginning. I think he was just checking to see if we had any extra desserts left.
Maybe they were trying to tell you something, Jeff...