For the second week in a row, I'm bringing you a column talking about three wins for Louisville women's athletics teams. Two of the three are the same, and soccer did still win their Thursday game, but this week we've added swimming and diving to the list. Let's get into yesterday's goings-on.
Field Hockey Downs Wake Forest 3-0
For the second night in a row, a Louisville team on Floyd Street defeated Wake Forest to move to 9-1 on the season. Thursday, it was the women's soccer team in a comeback victory that Jared wrote about yesterday. Last night, it was the field hockey team handling the Demon Deacons with little opposition. The final score doesn't show a huge domination, though 3-0 is a strong victory, but the game stats indicate a lopsided game.
Louisville finished yesterday with only two more total shots than Wake, with that battle ending 8-6, but the Cards amassed 6 shots on goal while the Deacs could muster none at all. Even after earning four penalty corners, Wake was unable to pressure Hollyn Barr, who played the whole game and finished with no stats. Louisville scored in the first, third, and fourth quarters to keep up consistent pressure and converted on one of their three penalty corners. Barr's full game is her second in a row, perhaps indicating that Coach Sowry has made a decision about the position going forward. With Minrath on the bench, the team still has a solid option in the event that things go sideways, but Barr appears to have snagged the starting spot for the time being.
Yesterday's first goal came off of a penalty. With just two minutes left in the first quarter, Carter Ayers took the ball downfield and ended up earning a corner. She and Meghan Schneider would start the play and ultimately set up Mercedes Pastor to score her fourth goal of the season. The teams held onto the 1-0 score for about 19 minutes, going through the rest of the first, the entire second, and just the start of the third without any other goals. Madison Walsh changed that when she picked up her fifth goal of the year by tapping in a deep pass from Margot Lawn about a minute and a half into the second half. Three minutes into the final quarter, Walsh picked up a brace when she scored another tap in, this time from Bethany Russ.
All in all, Louisville had a stranglehold over Wake for the majority of the game and made sure to put away their chances. Scoring on 38% of your total shots and 50% of your shots on goal is a pretty efficient day. With Louisville's high volume offense, converting at that rate is going to continue to win a lot of games. Sprinkling in a defense that is capable of shutouts never hurts either. Louisville is back in action on Sunday when Penn State comes to town at Noon. That match will be available on ACC Network Extra.
Check out Paulie's interviews with Coach Sowry and Madison Walsh below. Videos of the interviews are available at gocards.com.
Volleyball Makes Short Work of Georgia Tech with Sweep
After pretty much dominating the first two sets, Louisville weathered a comedy of errors that took the third set to extra points before claiming victory over the Yellowjackets of Georgia Tech. After only a pair of errors total in the first two sets, Louisville committed 10 in the final set and hit negative in the third en route to a 27-25 set win. The Cards were saved only by even worse hitting by the Techies who committed 13 errors and also hit negative in that final set. Despite that final set, Louisville still managed to finish with .278 hitting for the night, showing just how strong those first two sets - .433 and .484, respectively - really were.
Louisville finished the match winning in every major category. The Cards won blocks 11-4, aces 4-2, had fewer service errors at 7-8, and fewer overall errors at 12-25. The teams finished tied at 39 kills, but the efficiency of Louisville's hitting was ultimately the difference. As was typical, Anna Stevenson was a brick wall, assisting on 5 Louisville blocks, and Emily Scott and Nena Mbonu got in on the block party as well by snagging a combined two solo and five block assists. Alexis Hamilton reliably led the team in digs, but also added a pair of unlikely receiving errors. Hot on her tail in digs were Melanie McHenry and Aiko Jones with 8.
Offensively, McHenry didn't have the best night, hitting only .125 on 24 attempts, earning 6 kills. Stevenson also finished with 6 kills on 20 attempts. Mbonu was second on the team last night with 8 kills on 18 attempts, a bit of a breakout night for her. Tori Dilfer continued to hold down her starting setter position, earning 30 of the Louisville's 34 assists on the night. The star of the night was undeniably Aiko Jones. Jones had the previously mentioned 8 digs, added 3 block assists and a solo block, and hit a whopping 13 kills with no errors on 18 attempts. She also chipped in with one of the four remaining assists for an all around outstanding night. Only one blemish came out of her night, and it has been one that has haunted for much of the season. Jones finished with 4 service errors and no aces. Despite that, I think when a player is pretty much unstoppable above the net, you'll live with some serves to Nowheresville.
Louisville's win pushes them to 10-3 on the season and 3-0 in conference. The Cards will have one more match at home against Clemson on Sunday at 1 before they hit the road for a massive four game road trip. Louisville will face Duke, Wake, Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech over that stretch before coming home for a big pair of matches against Virginia and Pitt. It's a bit early to be predicting such things, but the Pitt match 7 opponents away could be huge for the conference championship race. Louisville will need to show a bit more consistency and close out against weaker opponents to stay on track this season, but an ugly third set victory last night is still a victory. Cards and Tigers will get underway tomorrow at 1PM in L&N Federal Credit Union Arena and the match will be available on ACC Network Extra.
Swimming and Diving Opens Third Straight Season with Win
Louisville swimming and diving hosted Xavier in a one-on-one meet yesterday and both the men's and women's sides easily claimed victory. The women earned more than three times as many points as the Musketeers and won every race en route to a 194-62 victory. The Cards are beginning their first season without a "superstar" swimmer on the women's side since before Kelsi Worrell arrived, but there are plenty of swimmers ready to take up the mantle. In addition to every winner in the pool, Molly Fears showed yesterday that she still intends to be a champion from the board. She won the dives from both the 1 and 3 meter boards yesterday. Listing every winner for the Louisville swimmers would take quite some time, so let me just say that you should check out the overall results and see how balanced the winners for the Cards were yesterday.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
Due to the early start time for football, we will be without Jared and Paulie in the studio today, but Jeff and I will be joined by Daryl Foust to help keep us on track for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. We've got plenty of wins (our favorite thing to talk about) to discuss so we'll break down the weeks in soccer, volleyball, and field hockey before looking ahead to the upcoming weeks and a bit about the upcoming basketball season. Tune in at 11AM on WCHQ FM for the show. WCHQ is available at 100.9 FM, the WCHQ App, wchqfm.com, or on Facebook Live.
Until next time, Go Cards!