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Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Midweek News and Notes

We have seen plenty of news lately ranging from new rankings to weekly honors to contract extensions.  Between that, the recent conclusion of the WNBA season, the start of the NBA season, the start of the World Series, and regular seasons for several fall sports winding down there's always the chance some news may have gotten buried.

New Rankings

Louisville Field Hockey stayed the same at #5.  The top five teams all won and stayed the same.  North Carolina is still the top ACC team at #1 in the country, Duke is ranked 4th, and Virginia sits right behind the Cards at #6.  Iowa fell to 8th after their loss to the Cards.

Louisville Women's Soccer climbed to 12th in the Coaches Poll and 9th in Top Drawer Soccer.  The ACC dominates the Coaches Poll.  Virginia is 1st, North Carolina is 3rd, Florida State is 5th, and Duke stayed at 9th after their draw with Louisville last week.  Clemson at 15th and Virginia Tech at 25th round out the rest of the ACC representation in the rankings.

Louisville Volleyball sits just outside the Top 25.  Their first conference loss and the loss of Melanie McHenry did not help the Cards.  They're in the receiving votes category and would be considered 27th.  They're joined by Florida State and Notre Dame in that category while Pitt remains the only team in the conference in the Top 25 at 3rd.

Louisville Women's Swimming and Diving is 21st in the latest rankings as of last week.  Their season is still early and rankings don't matter much until nationals roll around.  Still, they're one of six ACC teams ranked with another receiving votes.

Hollyn Barr Weekly Honors

Field Hockey's Hollyn Barr was named ACC Field Hockey Co-Defensive Player of the Week.  Barr
recorded a shutout against ranked Stanford last week.  On Sunday, Barr recorded a career-high nine saves as the Cards took down Iowa in overtime.  Barr has clearly won the starter job over Sam Minrath after the two split minutes in the early season.

Barr has paid her dues over the years, patiently waiting in a backup role behind goalkeeper Ayeshia McFerran for a couple of seasons before getting her chance this year to guard the net. It's good to see that patience and perseverance pay off for the Lancaster, PA redshirt junior !

Arthur Albiero Contract

Louisville Swimming and Diving head coach Arthur Albiero recently received a new contract.  The Athletic Association Board of Directors approved the terms last week.

Albiero receives a $50,000 raise in his base salary.  He also receives incentive bonuses when his program finishes Top 5/10/25 at the NCAA Championships and based on their finish at the ACC Championships.  His base salary should now sit at roughly $250,000 per year.

Louisville is the first program in ACC history to have both the men's and women's teams finish in the Top 5 in the ACC Championships in the same year.  He's also had national championship winners in Joao de Lucca, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia, and Mallory Comerford.

Vince Tyra is hoping the contract shows Albiero that UofL wants the future Hall of Fame head coach for the rest of his career.  As if the money is not enough, Albiero's son, Nick, is a junior on the team and his daughter, Gabi, has committed to join the Cards in the fall of 2020.

Minus the injury news it's not too shabby for most of the UofL women's sports right now.  Oh yeah, we're also THIRTEEN days away from the UofL WBB season opener against WKU.

Happy Wednesday and Go Cards!


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Post season scenarios -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


It is a bit hard to fathom, but the regular seasons for both ACC Women's Soccer and Field Hockey are winding down. Both Louisville squads have three regular season games remaining before the conference tournaments get underway. 

Let's look at each squad and access their chances at going "into the second season" --  the playoffs: 


As of early Tuesday morning, Karen Ferguson Dayes' soccer squad in fourth in the ACC with 14 points. With a record of 11-1-2 overall and 4-1-2 in conference, the #14 ranked Cards have UNC (19 points, 6-0-1 in ACC), Florida State (18 points, 6-1 in ACC) and Virginia (15 points, 4-0-3 in ACC) in front of them. 

Just behind the Cards are Duke (11 points), Notre Dame (10 points), Clemson (9 points), Va. Tech and Pitt (8 points each) and NC State (7 points).  The top eight teams advance to the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals on Nov. 3rd., which will be played on campus sites. 

So, it's important for the Cards to hang on to that fourth place and get the chance to host a quarter-final match. Can they? Let's look at who is left on the schedule for UofL women's soccer. 

Louisville travels to #1 in the nation Virginia Thursday night to begin their final three game stretch. Obviously, no easy task to go into Charlottesville and knock off #1. After that, the Cards travel to Miami for a Sunday match against the 4-7-2 Canes, who have (4) points in the ACC standings. The regular season ends when NC State comes to visit Lynn Stadium on Sunday afternoon (Halloween) on Oct 31st. 

I'd like to think that, if the Cards can get six points out of the final three games, they'd be able to maintain a top four finish in the ACC.

Duke, their closest competitor for a hosting bid with 11 points, has Notre Dame and Syracuse at home, then ends the season at Florida State. It's tough to see the Blue Devils getting seven points out of this stretch to pass the Cards. Notre Dame, with 10 points...goes to Duke and NC State before hosting Wake Forest to end their regular season. It is entirely possible the Irish could gather nine points to vault past the Cards and Blue Devils to gain a hosting bid. 

Nevertheless, unless the Cards fall into a total collapse and drop all three matches, I think they're in the ACC Tournament. The question is, once again, will they host first round action? I'll say "Yes" (as a #4 seed) and do battle with the Irish at Lynn in the quarters. 

I also believe UofL will receive one of the 64 bids to the NCAA Tournament. Let's hope my prognostications are correct. We'll track the progress as the season winds down. 


Field Hockey goes into their final three games with visits to William and Mary and Duke before ending the regular season at Trager against Syracuse. 

Louisville is fourth out of the seven ACC schools who play Field Hockey with a 13-2 overall record and 2-2 in conference. The #5 in the nation Cards are assumed of making the ACC Tournament (all seven squads do), the question is where they'll be ranked. All games will be held at Boston College from Nov 7th through 10th. 

No ties in Field Hockey. No point system either. 

As far as ACC Tournament structure lines up, the #1 seed gets a bye. They face the winner of the #4 vs #5 seeds in the semifinals. #1 is UNC and they look pretty unbeatable right now, so I'd like to see Louisville climb to the #3 seed and get the #6 seed in their first round action....instead of having to face UNC if they beat a #5 seed.

I'll say it right now. The #4 or #5 seed is poison right now and you're dead after one game. UNC is that good. 

Can the Cards get to a #3 seed? 

Quite frankly, UofL can't afford any more conference losses and with a trip to Duke on Saturday. Oct 26th...that's a formidable task. Although the Blue Devils are just 1-3 in conference, Pam Bustin teams are always hard to defeat in Durham and at 11-4, they are a very dangerous opponent. One would think the Cards can take their final home game, against the Cards vs. Blue Devils match up in Durham is huge. 

UofL also has to hope someone can send Virginia or Boston College tumbling to defeat. B.C. is 3-1 in conference but has UNC and Duke yet to face in ACC play. They could easily lose both. Virginia is 3-2 in the ACC has has just one conference game remaining -- against cellar dweller Wake Forest. 

I see UofL finishing fourth in the ACC regular season standings and facing Duke in the ACC Tournament. I'm really hoping for a third place conference standing at the end of ACC play in my heart, though. 

I think the Cards Field Hockey squad's body of work so far has them in the NCAA Tournament, which still accepts that strange number of only 18 teams. 10 teams get in because they have won their conference championships and eight receive at-large bids. 

Last year, the Cards were excluded from the tournament despite a #12 RPI. That's just stupid. 

C'mon NCAA. Open this thing up to 24 teams.

Give eight teams an automatic advance to the round of 16 and let the remaining 16 invitees battle it out to see who faces them. Use the RPI to assign the spots. With 18, you are penalizing the stronger conferences (like the ACC) who have powerhouse teams that may finish fourth or fifth in their conference, are superior to the winner of a lesser conference but get left out in the cold because of this quirky number of 18. 

An interesting time of year, as Louisville fall squads jockey for positioning and RPI, plus national rankings.

You know the old adage from Raiders coach/executive Al Davis from years ago. 

"Just win, baby!" It's a guidepost for both squads to live by as they roll into post-regular season hopes, dreams and expectations. 

Have a tremendous Tuesday!


Monday, October 21, 2019

Triumph at Trager, Success in Simpsonville and Beating at Blacksburg -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


it wasn't one for the faint-hearted Sunday on Floyd Street. 

Louisville Field Hockey managed a miracle goal off a penalty corner with no time remaining in regulation to tie the contest and force an overtime against the Hawkeyes. 

And, then, the winner with four seconds left in overtime. 

Trailing 2-1, a desperation play of sorts...the Cards on a final, last chance attempt to score. They got the corner awarded when an Iowa player deliberately knocked a pass intended for Margot Lawn out of bounds. 

By the rules of Field Hockey, a penalty corner is awarded when a defensive player intentionally hits a ball over the back line, so Louisville was awarded the corner and went into the corner formation. Bethany Russ's shot was stopped after the set but the deflection went to Carter Ayars, hanging out at the corner of the right goalpost. She tapped the orb back in over Iowa goalkeeper Leslie Speight's out-stretched stick for the tying goal. 


The Hawkeyes almost ended it early in the overtime session when a shot bounced off the post and failed to get into the goal.  Seconds later, a diving stop, out of the circle area, by UofL goalkeeper Hollyn Barr stopped another Iowa drive. 

The Cards mounted another last-chance attempt to score with 15 seconds left in the O.T.

An Ayars pass connected with Alli Bitting who advanced the ball for a shot-on-goal. Her attempt was deflected by an Iowa defender, but Madison Walsh was in position to take the deflection and fire it into the net for the winning goal. Four seconds remained on the clock, but it was over because of the sudden death format of Field Hockey overtimes and the Cards had improved to 13-2 on the season. 

Right place, right time. The right tap in the right place. 

A good day for The Flock on Floyd.


Our Jared Anderson was there post-game to catch comments from Coach Sowry, Carter Ayars and Madison Walsh.

He even managed to get in a few questions for the players. 



The interview with Carter Ayars was split into two parts because she was needed for a team photo. 





Led by Lauren Hartlage's record-tying, program low, seven-under-par 65 the Cards won the Cardinal Cup-- the final campaign in their Fall schedule.

Louisville shot 868 for the three days out at the University of Louisville Golf Club, including a final day of 280, which propelled them from second place to first over Kentucky by eight strokes. 

Hartlage finished the event tied for sixth place with a 216. 

Mairead Martin had a great weekend for UofL, ending up in second place with a 210 over the 54 holes. Hana Ryskova tied for third at 213.

From head coach Whitney Wade Young: 

"It was an unbelievable day. The team really came together. Everyone contributed this week and especially today. They just kept fighting and making birdies. To be able to have my first team victory as a head coach here at the Cardinal Cup...I could not ask for anything more". 

Cardinal women's golf resumes in February when they travel to Melbourne, FL to host the Moon Golf Invitational . 


Not the best day for the #23 ranked Cardinal Volleyball squad in a four-set loss to Virginia Tech at Blacksburg on Sunday.

The Cards did prevail in the opening set 25-19, hitting .400. A 7-2 run late was the key in the UofL set win. Claire Chaussee had four kills, 

Things took a turn for the worse after that. 

The hitting dropped to .163 in set two and the Hokies used a 7-1 run early to take a lead they would not relinquish. Tied at 22-22, VT got a service ace, a kill and benefited from a Cardinal ball-handling error to come out on top 25-22.

More of the same in set three...VT's 6-0 run early led to a 25-21 win. Louisville hit just .119 for the third set and witnessed a 4-1 VT run late to swing the match in favor of the home squad. 

The Cards put up a brief effort in the fourth set, managing an 8-8 tie early. VT responded with  6-2 run, though to take a 14-10 lead and went on to win 25-17. Louisville hit .181 for the match and was hampered by six service errors.

The Cards were without Melanie McHenry, who suffered a season-ending knee injury at Notre Dame earlier in the week. Aiko Jones had 19 kills for UofL but the visitors fall to 14-4 on the season and suffer their first ACC loss. 

Check today's comments section for a probable and more detailed observation from our Volleyball guru at Cardinal Couple -- Jeff McAdams.  

Have a magical Monday! 


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Delayed Cardinal Couple SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Sunday Slumberings

First things first.  I'm on the road and forgot that I had today's write.


I'm up and at 'em again, though, so let's see what's happening in the land of Cardinal athletics.

Field Hockey

Field Hockey hosted Longwood at Trager yesterday.  The Cards come away with the 4-2 win in this one with a consistent offensive effort throughout the game.  Goals for the Cards came with a pair in the 1st quarter, and scores in the 3rd, and 4th quarters.

Freshman Minna Tremonti got the scoring started in the 10th minute on a rebound off the Longwood GK pads.  With about a minutes left in the 1st quarter, a pair of freshmen connected, with Mattie Tabor finding Margot Lawn for the goal.

In the 3rd quarter, the sole non-freshman score was accomplished when senior Whena Munn redirected a swing from junior Alli Bitting into the goal.  And finally, in the last frame, freshman Camryn Pichea found the goal in a scrum in the space right in front of the cage.

Longwood would get a pair back, but it wouldn't be enough even up the game.  Hollyn Barr played between the pipes or the Cards and only faced 3 shots in the game.  Only two were on frame, and, alas, both made it past the junior.

The team will be back in action today at 1pm, against a shockingly good Iowa team.  The Hawkeyes have only dropped 3 all season, and they were all to current or former ACC teams, UNC, Duke, and Maryland, so there is no shame in any of those loses.  They've got wins over Wake Forest, Indiana, Michigan State, Penn State, and Ohio State, among others, so there are some decent wins among that mix.

Coach Sowry comments on the win below:



Volleyball had Friday off, so they should be fairly well rested coming into what is typically a single-
day-of-rest Sunday match.  Their last match was, of course, against Notre Dame in South Bend on Wed.

The big news from that one, besides a thrilling 5 set win, was the loss of Melanie McHenry for the season, and the rest of her collegiate career.

McHenry was the foundation of this team's play, and it will take a little bit of time to adjust to not having her in the line-up.  Fortunately, Dani Busboom Kelly has depth galore in the hitting positions, and plenty of competent defense to fill that hole, but it will take a little bit of time to integrate the new interactions.

Fortunately, today's match is against Virginia Tech.  I've got nothing but love for the Hokies, but, well, they're just not very good in Volleyball.  They're winless in conference, and have taken out of conference loses against some thoroughly mediocre teams like VCU, Liberty, Arkansas State, and Charlotte.

This match should give the Cards time to get settled into adjusted roles and substitution patterns, and give the opportunity for some players that we haven't seen as much of this year, to step up into the limelight.

First and foremost, look for Claire Chaussee to be just about a direct replacement for McHenry.  Chaussee has had some control issues, but it looks like she's starting to tame the wildness.  The coaching staff has had her pull back on her serves, so we're not seeing the big booming serves that are oh so impressive, but also oh so dangerous.  Chaussee is a competent passer, so she alone can largely fill the hole in full rotation that McHenry leaves.  There may be some confidence lacking, and maybe a few more miscues than we're used to with McHenry, but I think Chaussee will generally do admirably.  And if she finds herself struggling at any particular time, there's the option to shift to Amber Stivrins in the role as well.  Stivrins, too, can play full rotation, again, maybe not quite with the polish and finish of McHenry, but between the two of them, Stivrins and Chaussee, I think we'll do ok with McHenry on the sidelines.

Volleyball also gets underway at 1pm, and like Field Hockey, will be available on ACC Network Extra.


The golf squad continues the Cardinal Cup at the UofL Golf Club in Simpsonville.  Freshman Hana
Ryskova is tied for the lead in the overall tournament after two days, with the team in a tie for 2nd place.  Sophomore Mairead Martin sits just a stroke back, tied for 3rd.


Between football start times and travel (Hello, from NYC!), there was no Cardinal Couple Radio Hour yesterday.  I believe we will be back with you next week.  Alas, this is the challenge of doing a live show in the timeslot that we are, sometimes there are just unavoidable conflicts.


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Women's Soccer Draws Duke -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Take Second Draw in a Row

Looking at Duke's season coming into last night, one could almost guess that the game would eventually head into double overtime. Including last night's match, the Blue Devils have now drawn four of their last five matches. They've got six draws on the season and seven overtime matches. The 9th ranked Blue Devils also came in riding an 11 game unbeaten streak having not lost since an early season non-conference match against North Carolina. (The origins of that match are complicated. I asked one of the Duke representatives about it last night and couldn't follow much.) Louisville and Duke have that in common, in that their only losses on the season came against UNC. 

Louisville's toughest charge on the night would be scoring goals. We discussed it a bit in the post game interviews, but Duke is excellent at keeping the opposing team out of the net. On the season, opposing teams have scored only 7 goals against the Blue Devils. In their 5 draws before last night, four had been scoreless. They've 8 shutouts, and their goalkeeper, Brooke Heinsohn, is 20th in the country in save percentage. All of that is to say that when Duke took the lead on an 11th minute penalty, Louisville could have been in a bit of danger.

Early in the game, Louisville held much of possession. They were passing the ball well and earning chances going towards the Duke goal. As you'll hear Coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes describe, Duke's goal actually came after Louisville's best early chance. After a Maisie Whitsett miss, Duke was able to quickly work downfield and on a sliding block attempt, Ravin Alexander was unable to keep her hand down by her side. She was charged with a handball and the referee pointed to the spot. Duke's Ella Stevens stepped up to the ball, took her time, and slotted it home to Gabby Kouzelos's left side. On the kick, Kouzelos actually had the pace and the range of the ball covered, but she guessed wrong on her dive and the ball found the empty side of the net. From that point in the half, the mood turned a bit and neither team was able to gather much control. Louisville would go on to finish the half outshooting Duke 7-2, but the possession stat was equal at 50% and Duke led 1-0 into the half.

Louisville came out of the second half with a fire similar to that in the first. The Cards continued dominating possession and would go on to finish the half with an 8-0 shot advantage. The only shot that found home, though, came just 8 minutes into the second half. On a counter attack, Emina Ekic found herself with a lot of space in the middle of the attacking half. She found her spot and sent a through ball behind the defense for an on-running Brooklynn Rivers. Rivers, as is her specialty, outran the defender to set up a one-on-one in the box. Rivers took a touch or two to settle herself and fired home a shot medium height to the far post. The score was tied 1-1. 

For the rest of the game, Louisville would continue to pressure the Duke defense, going on to dominate the possession stat to the tune of 57%. Whitsett and Jessica De Filippo earned chance after chance in the half, but were unable to beat Heinsohn for the lead. Ekic and Allison Whitfield made sure to push the defense from the middle and the outside, with Alexander and Arianna Ferraro getting in on the action as well. Unfortunately for the Cards, they were unable to break through, and we headed to overtime.

As I mentioned before, Duke was quite accustomed to overtime matches. In fact, the Duke representative I mentioned earlier wasn't frustrated that the match went to overtime. He was more upset that the potential draw would not be scoreless, as the team is just one scoreless draw from tying the NCAA record. In the pair of overtime periods, Louisville would go on to outshoot the Blue Devils 4-1 and continued to win the possession battle. Their best chance may have come without a shot, though, as Whitfield sent a dangerous low cross to Rivers at the top of the box. Rivers was just about in the same situation as her goal earlier, but the Duke defender was just able to nick the ball away and prevent the shot. The two teams would go on to finish with a tie and neither will move in the ACC standings.

Louisville will now hit the road and take on a fantastic Virginia team. The Cavaliers have not yet lost this season and sit just two points behind Louisville with a 3-0-3 record in conference. Louisville will need to play the way that they did for much of the Duke game, albeit with more goals, if they want to continue winning. At 14 points on the conference season, the Cards are just four points behind last season's total with three games remaining. Ultimately, though, the point total isn't as important as the location in the standings. Louisville currently sits third, and will hope to finish in the top four to host in the ACC tournament. The Cards will take on Virginia on Thursday night at 7PM. 

McHenry Out for the Year

As was feared when she went down on Wednesday night, Melanie McHenry's Louisville career is over. The University officially announced yesterday that McHenry's knee injury suffered against Notre Dame will put her out for the remainder of the year. Louisville has already passed the halfway point of the season, making her ineligible for a medical redshirt, and as McHenry is a senior, she is done with UofL volleyball. It's an unfortunate end to a wonderful career from the outside hitter, and we'll be sure to follow the Sparkplug wherever she goes in the future.

Radio Silence

With half the A-Team at Cardinal Stadium and another member traveling the country, I would have been left all alone in the studio for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. We all decided that would be in no one's best interest and canceled today's show. We'll be back on air next week, but, in the meantime, be sure to tune in to WCHQ FM anyway for all of the best in local music.

Until next time, Go Cards!

Friday, October 18, 2019

A Look at the Weekend -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Weekend Scheduling

As always with fall sports there's plenty going on both on and away from campus this weekend.  Fortunately for us, there's plenty happening on campus or in town.


Women's Tennis heads to Murfreesboro, TN, for an all-weekend affair.  They'll drive through the Music City and go a hair further to host site Middle Tennessee State for the ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships.

Women's Golf stays in town- sort of.  They play at home at the UofL Golf Club, located in Simpsonville, as they host the Cardinal Cup.

Women's Soccer kicks off (literally and figuratively) a double header between them and their men counterpart at 5:00.  The #14 Cards (Coaches Poll) take on #9 Duke.  Historically, this match-up has favored the Blue Devils, who hold a 2-0-4 series advantage.  USWNT star Rose Lavelle will be in attendance for the double header.  Lavelle will hold a Q&A session at halftime of the women's match and sign autographs in the break between the two matches.

As mentioned right above, the men's soccer team is also at home.  They will host Boston College
roughly 30 minutes after the conclusion of the women's match.  It's a great 2-for-1 for a nice night out at Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynnn Stadium.

Let's pray for NO OVERTIME tomorrow night and please no double overtime.  For those of us sticking around for both matches and have an early Saturday morning we want to get out of Lynn Stadium as soon as possible.


Women's Tennis remains in Tennessee at the ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships.

Women's Golf continues play in the Cardinal Cup at the UofL Golf Club.

Cross Country heads up into Indiana at Terre Haute for a Pre-Nationals event.  The primary goal of the event is to help players qualify for Nationals.

Field Hockey is at home for the first of two games on the weekend.  They host Longwood at noon.  If you're headed to the game, good luck with traffic and parking.  The bright side is admission if free!  The Lancers are 6-6 on the year.

Football hosts Clemson at noon.  Paulie and Sonya will be in their normal spot in the Crunch Zone while I'll be all over the field snagging pictures.  Keep an eye on a special guest with the Cardinal Marching Band at halftime.  No, it's not me.  I'm not rejoining the band at UofL.


Women's Golf wraps up play in the Cardinal Cup.

Field Hockey is home for the second straight day, hosting Iowa at 1:00.  This is their second-to-last
home game of the year.  The #6 Hawkeyes sit one ranking behind the #5 Cards and are 10-3 on the year.

Volleyball gets back into action after a Friday night off.  They'll travel to Blacksburg for a match against Virginia Tech.  The Hokies sit dead last in the ACC at 0-6 in conference play and 7-12 overall.

No word yet on Melanie McHenry's status after a left knee injury forced her off the court at South Bend.

No Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Saturday

Sorry, folks.  No Cardinal Couple Radio Hour this week.  With Paulie and I at football, Worldwide out of town and Daryl...well, who knows about two UofL women's sporting event going on at noon Saturday, our numbers were cut rather slim, with only Case as the potential lone participant. Floyd the touchdown squirrel was uncomfortable hosting the show with Case, stemming back to a woods incident several years ago...which is currently still under investigation.

I had suggested an hour-long show of replaying the interviews I did this summer with members of the UofL WBB squad. Management gave me a "thumbs down". 

Next week is a 3:30 football kickoff, so you can expect us back in studio then!

Call it our pre-Halloween break or the pre-playoffs pause in broadcasting on WCHQ 100.9 FM.

Or call it George. I don't care. Just don't call roll because all the knuckleheads are absent. The station will still be on the air so, go ahead and listen to the best in local music while you tailgate, attend Field Hockey or try to swim the Ohio. 

Happy Friday and Go Cards!


Thursday, October 17, 2019

VB Survives in Five, WBB #1 in ACC, Field Hockey Players Honored -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


I suppose this is what you should expect when the Irish and Cardinals get together in Volleyball. A five-set match. One team looking out-of-sync and lost early and then roaring back to take control. Toss in an injury, a key contribution off the bench and Katie George and you have a brief synopsis of what happened in South Bend last night. Both games in 2017 and in 2018 went five sets. It has become the new "expected" when these two get together. A hard-fought, come-from behind and entertaining Cardinal "W"...22-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-22 and 15-10. 

Both teams came into the match with equal 13-3 and 6-0 in the ACC records. The Cards edging their way into the top 25 and Notre Dame getting votes but not quite there yet. It was Notre Dame, though, who looked like the top 25 squad in the first two sets. Just when it looked like things couldn't get any worse for UofL in the second set when Melanie McHenry...who is "Ms. Everything" for the Cardinals...came down wrong on her left knee at the conclusion of a play and crumpled to the floor in a great deal of pain. Her scream audible on TV. A silent arena. Laying prone and curled up on the court for quite some time while being examined. She was carried off by the UofL staff. What next, you ask? 

What happened after that was nothing short of remarkable. Smiling, encouraging her teammates as she was removed from the floor, McHenry was believing in her team to finish the task.  UofL got a new light in their eyes, a reason-to-rally and, although the set was lost -- you could tell that the Cards were going to halftime with renewed fire and focus.

 "Play well for Mel" is as good as any description for what happened after the break. 

We won't go into a lot of detail on those first two sets. The Cards trailed early in the first, did rally back to get within one at 22-21 but the Irish "hit squad" of freshman Caroline Meuth and sophomore Charley Niego rallied the Irish to the win. 25-22 Leprechaun lovers. 

Second set brought more of the same for the lackluster Cards. Playing from behind most of the way, once again, Louisville rallied to get with that "same one" again at 22-21. Once again, the Irish controlled the end of the set, allowing just one Cardinal point and it was 25-22 again...."Touchdown Jesus" had his arms up outside on campus for a reason.

The adjustments UofL made at the half were superb. Shannon Shields took over at setter. Louisville went with a back line of Aiko Jones, Claire Chaussee and Amaya Tillman.  And, the Cards responded like Secretariat rolling down the stretch with the finish line in sight. 

Bursting out to a 12-4 lead in set three, they forced the UND time out. Ineffective. Louisville pushed that advantage to 21-8 and were looking like the Louisville Volleyball we've come to know and love. Amber Stivrins, Anna Stevenson and Aiko Jones...the "A-Team" was on the job and the Irish were reeling. Notre Dame, to their credit, made a late run to cut the Cardinal advantage to 23-17 but it ended two plays later an a 25-17 win was in the UofL ledger. 

In set four, we saw more Cardinal authority. A 12-4 start. Amber and Aiko were still hot and UofL led 22-16 before the Irish held on at set point twice before the Cards were able to close it on a Jones spike. 25-22 the final and bonus ball awaited. 

A 4-0 early run gave the Cards a 8-4 lead in the fifth. They pushed that to 11-7 and forced a Irish time out, which seemed to temporarily help the beleaguered, baffled and bushed UND squad. They cut the margin to two at 12-10. Then, a couple of UND errors and a Amaya kill ended it.  15-10. Cards take game, set and match. 

Louisville showed a ton of fight, spirit and "never-say-die" attitude last night. McHenry had returned to the sidelines to sit behind the bench, with her knee heavily wrapped, to cheer on her "sisters-in-slams". No official statement yet on her status, just a "knee injury" is all we know. Sure looked like an ACL, though, after watching the replays. 

On a lighter note...Katie George, Cardinal great from a few years back and former beauty queen, did the analysis work on the ACC Network broadcast last night. A stellar performance from her as well, combining solid technical knowledge and explanations of the action. George hardly masking her love for the Cards and tossing her quirky and funny descriptions and sayings out like the way she used to set up players on the court. 

She had that poor boy doing the broadcast with her baffled and dazed. We think she should be on the "A" team for ACC Network Volleyball broadcast coverage. 

Good to have ya back, K.G. !! Keep 'em coming. 

WBB #1 in ACC Preseason Polls

Louisville women's basketball squad has been selected to finish first in the ACC in preseason polls from the conference's coaches and the ACC Blue Ribbon Panel. 

The Cards gathered 13 of the 15 first place votes from the coaches (NC St. receiving two) and 34 of the 49 first place votes from the Blue Ribbon Panel. The Wolfpack garnered eight first place votes in "the B.R.P" version and Florida State plus Notre Dame also received first place votes. 

Once again, Cardinal Couple was not contacted to participate in the Blue Ribbon Panel, most likely because we prefer Yuenging, Budweiser and other select, crafted beverages. 

Louisville also landed two players on the Preseason All-ACC team with junior Dana Evans and sophomore Elizabeth Balogun. Miami's Elizabeth Balogun was selected preseason player-of-the-year. Freshman guard Nyah Green was named to the Newcomers Watch List for the 2019-20 season. 

No surprises in any of this, except for the exclusion of Jazmine Jones on the ACC team. That's a mistake that'll come back to haunt more than a few pundits and teams this season.

Let's face it, Walz's squad is loaded for bear, equipped with plenty of ammunition and could probably enter two teams in ACC play this year and finish first and second in the conference. 

19 days until UofL starts the season against WKU in the KFC YUM! Center. 


Louisville Field Hockey seniors Carter Ayars and Bethany Russ have been named to the Victory Sports Tours/National Field Hockey Coaches Association's Senior Game.

38 seniors will participate in the contest, which is planned for November 22 following the conclusion of the NCAA DI semifinal game at Wake Forest. 

Ayars has been brilliant as a defender and penalty corner specialist for Louisville this season and her whole career at Louisville. She gathered ACC Player of the Week, NFHCA All-West Region team selection and USA Field Hockey Under 21 team honors during her time as a CARDINAL. 

Russ, an attack specialist, leads UofL with nine goals this season. She's also been a NFHCA All-West Region selection and All-ACC pick during her time under head coach Justine Sowry. She also leads the ACC with shot attempts (70). 

# 5 ranked UofL (11-2) wraps up their current home stand with Longwood on Saturday at noon (unfortunate time selection on that one) and #6 Iowa Sunday at 1 p.m. 

Have a terrific Thursday ! 


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Cards Trounce Trees -- VBall Travels to Notre Dame -- WBB News -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Top Trees, Beat Stanford 3-0

Thanks to a scoring by committee affair, #5 Louisville field hockey topped #16 Stanford 3-0.  The win was the sixth shutout of the season for the Cards.

Bethany Russ gave the Cards an early lead- her ninth goal of the season- six minutes into the game.  A penalty corner was stopped but the Cards maintained possession.  Russ was positioned near the right side of the box and knocked the ball past the Stanford goalkeeper.

Mercedes "Meche" Pastor scored her seventh goal of the season in the second quarter.  Accompanied by fancy stick-work, Pastor flipped her stick around to send her shot into the top of the cage.

Erica Cooper was the final score of the game on a goal in the final quarter.  A Louisville penalty corner was deflected and Cooper was in position to take an open shot.

Hollyn Barr played the full 60 minutes in goal and recorded two saves.  Her day was pretty quiet thanks to a stellar defense that shut down Corinne Zanolli, the nation's leading scorer.  Zanolli came into the game with 21 goals in 14 games and was limited to one shot on goal.

The Cards basically stuck Carter Ayars (who deserves ACC Defensive Player of the Week) on Zanolli and she responded like a magnet to metal.

UofL improves to 11-2 on the year.  They wrap up their six-game home stand with a Saturday noon game against Longwood and Sunday 1:00 game against Iowa.

Without the ailing Paulie on hand to get the scenario from Coach Sowry and a player or two, here's a brief clip UofL did of Justine discussing the victory.


Volleyball Travels to Notre Dame

It's a quick turnaround for #23 Louisville volleyball.  After having their normal Friday-Sunday slate last weekend they play a midweek Wednesday night match in South Bend against a Notre Dame squad that's receiving votes.

Louisville and Notre Dame have identical records- 13-3 on the year and 6-0 in conference play.  The only other team perfect in the ACC is a Pitt team that's 17-1 overall.

The Irish fell early on in the Purcell Pavilion to Wright State and then later at a neutral site to Cincinnati and north up at Michigan.  In their six conference matches, Notre Dame has not dropped more than one set per match and is 18-4 in sets.

Notre Dame holds a 22-15 edge in the history of the two teams.  Last year, each team won in five sets on their home turf.

UofL Volleyball alum Katie George will be joining Eric Frede on the ACC Network for the 7:00 match.

WBB Adds a 2020 Commit

Ahlana Smith is the newest WBB Cardinal.

She's a 5'9" guard out of Charlotte, NC who started her career at UCLA, transferred to Gulf Coast Community College for the upcoming season and will join the Cardinals in 2020.

Word is that she's a lightning-fast guard who can nail the mid-range jumper and create havoc on defense. Another weapon in the Walz arsenal of players who want to be here. Another transfer that Walz and the staff went after because of the potential based on what they'd seen from the past.

Welcome to the "Ville", Ahlana !!

Happy Wednesday and Go Cards!


Tuesday, October 15, 2019



At the exceedingly odd time of noon today, # 5 Louisville Field Hockey puts their 10-2 record to the test against the # 16 Stanford Cardinal over at Trager Stadium. Stanford is 9-5 on the season. 

First off, no, I don't know why they scheduled this game for this time. I don't think it can be to accommodate any network or on-line viewing of it, since the only source showing it is the ACC Network Extra. You want people in those seats at Trager? You ain't gonna get them there with middle-of-the-week noon start times, kiddos. 

Second off, no, I won't be in attendance. The change-in-climate-temperature "crud" still has me pretty dysfunctional (as if I wasn't already) and I'm sure a press box full of media and such doesn't want to hear me hack like a lung cancer ward patient or blow my nose with the regularity of a flock of geese getting ready to land in a field. Plus that, I've already spread it to Sonya and don't want to infect anyone else. 

Truth be told, I even didn't feel like writing this today, but none of my writers stepped up to take the day/article for me. It's all right. Payback is hell, boys.  

On to the game. 

Louisville will be facing the #1 scorer in the nation in Corinne Zanolli, who has found the net 21 times this season. She's coming off back-to-back hat tricks. Stanford has won three in a row coming into today's game, knocking off Ohio State, Ball State and Syracuse. 

Louisville fell to #9 Virginia Friday at Trager in a game that was moved to an earlier start to avoid rain (to no avail) and fell apart in the wet, rainy fourth quarter to the Cavs....losing 2-1 after shutting them out for three quarters. 


-- Louisville and the Trees have played six times and UofL was won four of  them.

-- Justine Sowry was an assistant coach at Stanford in 2003

-- Louisville leads the nation in penalty corners with 75. 

-- Bethany Russ leads Louisville in scoring with eight goals. 

-- Louisville has out-scored opponents 31-13 this season. 

Have a tremendous Tuesday! 


Monday, October 14, 2019

Volleyball Continues Winning Ways at Wake -- Soccer ties the Irish -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Despite my best efforts to bribe Eric the bus driver, Tillie the Tour Guide and other influential persona on the bus, they declined my offerings to remain in Winston-Salem to watch Volleyball on Sunday.

I had to follow it through Twitter and on-line stat methods as we cruised back to the "Ville" after Saturday night's football game in the same city. More on my magical adventure later...some other dignitaries were in town to do work.  

It was a successful jaunt for Louisville Volleyball as they moved to 13-3 overall and 6-0 in the ACC with a three-game sweep of the Wake Forest squad 25-17, 25-19, 25-17.

No major worries or bad play by the Cards in the sweep. Your usual suspects performed well. Melanie McHenry, Aiko a couple of newer names to the list of Cardinal "over the top" performers in Claire Chaussee and Nena Mbonu...prevailed.

Louisville Volleyball watching Louisville Football at Wake
Cards got up early 10-5 in the first set and stretched that to a 20-14 lead. Another name from the arsenal...Anna Stevenson...had four kills for Louisville. 

In set two -- after some closeness in score early -- The Cards pulled away eventually and held on to to win by six. 

It was all Louisville early in the final set. They took a 9-3 lead, withstood a brief comeback by Wake  and forced Wake to call their final timeout at 19-14. Aiko put the final kill on the board and the eight-point win completed the dance. 

Notre Dame next in South Bend on Wednesday for the bunch that got ice cream after their win. A nice treat for a nice feat, right? 


After 110 minutes of kicking on the pitch, the Irish and Cards were right back were they started with a scoreless match. 

Next, a brief bit about ties. This is where I probably differ from some readers and my fellow Cardinal Couple cronies. Not the ties you wear around your neck, which I don't particularly care for either, but the ties in soccer.

Look, someone deserves to win after 110 minutes of well-played, often amazingly fantastic stops, slides, corners, free kicks and mid-field mayhem and maneuvering. Let them just employ what they already do in the post-season and have a few players line up, try their luck on the goalie and whoever does the best wins the game. And do it after one extra ten-minutes session, not two.  Agree? Disagree? 

Would you want a tie for Jeff Walz's squad?  No. Let someone win.  

In South Bend, the Irish had a slight edge in shots in the first half at 4-2 and a huge corner kick advantage at 6-1. It did them no good. Emina Ekic did her best to break open the offensive drought with two "that should have gone in" kicks on goal in the second half but one sailed high (barely) and one was goalkeeper deflected. Notre Dame ended up with a 11-7 shot advantage and 10-2 corner kick edge for the match. That's crazy. 10-2 on corners? Were the referees wearing green? 

In any event, each team earns a point in the weird soccer scoring system and they move on. #16 Louisville women's soccer is now 11-1-1 on the season and 4-1-1 in the ACC and will host #11 Duke Friday night. Come on out, it's the second-to-last home game of the year.

And, of's tie-optional. 


Huge props to all who endured Paulie pranks and puns on the bus trip to see the Cards outscore Wake Forest Saturday night. You're the best and I hope this collection of crazies can do it again real soon.

Things we learned: 

1) Most people do not view peanut butter as a condiment. They are wrong. 
2) Wake Forest fans are crazy nice. They gave us a ton of food to tailgate with, in addition to the massive quantities we already had.
3) Louisville Football is entertaining as hell

Good to be back, but, due to my own stupidity and lack of correct reckoning for the drop in temperature, I have a doozy and a dinger of a cold/sinus infection/weather change crud/whatever you want to call it and I'm amazed I got through today's article. Maybe it was foreshadowing when a few of our party got sick from bad food Friday night at a restaurant and had to stay in their hotel rooms instead of going to the game.

Excellence in Tailgating. It's what Al Parrish stands for and it was delivered this weekend.

I'm praying one of my esteemed colleagues will gallantly step up and do Tuesday's write up for me. When you check in Tuesday and you still see this article staring at you, you'll know they didn't and I am too tore up to type. 

I'm going back to bed after I cough and blow my nose for a few minutes. 

Have a marvelous Monday !