Fall Schedules for Soccer, Volleyball, Field Hockey, and Cross Country Released
Jared mentioned the women's soccer schedule release briefly yesterday, but along with it came the remainder of the fall sports schedules. Women's soccer, field hockey, and volleyball will all compete in approximately the same number of contests over generally the same time. Cross Country will have just three meets prior to the ACC Championships. Fans for all sports are at the discretion of the host universities, and UofL has announced no plans for these sports at this time. They are monitoring the situations and hope to release more information shortly before the start of the seasons. Similarly, the ACC reiterated that schedules are subject to change as conference leadership continues to meet with health and safety officials to keep track of the fluid situation. As a reminder, none of these seasons will count against a year of eligibility for fall athletes.
Karen Ferguson-Dayes will lead her squad to the field first as the women's soccer season gets underway in Florida on September 17th. The Cards will take on Miami on that Thursday, followed by a Sunday matchup against Florida State. After a brief break, the Cards will come home to open Lynn Stadium with a Thursday match against Syracuse on October 1st and Boston College will come in on October 4th. After that, Louisville travels to Virginia to take on the Cavaliers and Hokies on October 15th and 18th, respectively. Finally, the Cards will host Notre Dame on the 25th and North Carolina on the 28th. The ACC tournament is set to begin in Cary, North Carolina on November 10th. Only the top 8 teams will advance, so it will begin straight with the quarterfinals and wrap up within the week.
This is a really tough schedule, with Florida State, Virginia, and North Carolina all posing huge threats. There also isn't a lot of time to make up for a bad game so the team must hit the ground running. It will be interesting to see what Coach KFD will do with the lineup given last season's departures, but an advantage of the travel schedule is that there is a lot of rest built in. I really like the decision to keep things regional, except for UNC and ND coming at the same time. The travel to play schools in the same state is a nice touch.
With the shortened schedule and no NCAA tournament, it's hard to make predictions for the season, but I'd expect the Cards to be able to make the tightened ACC tournament field. If they can do that, I'd consider it a successful exhibition season.
Like soccer, volleyball will play only 8 matches, but there will be no ACC tournament waiting at the end. The volleyball schedule was divided regionally, and one conference group will have all of the attention: Louisville's region of Boston College, Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Pittsburgh. The volleyball schedule is broken into four pairs of double-headers, reducing travel and exposure level. Louisville will host Notre Dame and Syracuse for their four home matches, with the Irish coming on the weekend of September 25th and the Orange coming the weekend of October 9th. The Cards are in BC on October 2nd and head to Pitt on October 23rd. The big break between the Syracuse and Pitt series will be really helpful for the Cards as that will be their toughest matchup of the season.
With no postseason to play for, this one is perhaps even more of an exhibition than soccer or field hockey. I'd like to see Louisville win six of these eight matches, and it would be nice if one of them could come against Pitt. Perhaps playing without the raucous home crowd at Pitt will give the Cards a better chance in the away double-header. Either way, the Cards must come out of this season above .500 (not at .500) to have considered it a success in my opinion.
Playing the most regular season matches of any of the sports we cover here is field hockey. They'll play nine regular season matches but take on only six opponents to do so. As the conference records cannot be marred by the increased number of matches, only six of the games will count as conference games. Field hockey will play three double-headers and the opening game of each of those will count as the conference game. The field hockey season culminates in a four-day ACC championship hosted by Duke starting on November 5th.
Louisville will open the season with four home games and then say goodbye to campus for the remainder of the season. The Cards host Duke on September 26th and 27th before bringing in UNC on October 2nd and BC on the 4th. If fans or media are allowed, I suppose we'll have to split our attendance between soccer and field hockey that day.
After senior day against BC (in early October!!) the Cards will travel Wake Forest on the 10th and 11th, to Virginia on the 23rd and 24th, and they'll wrap up the regular season in Syracuse on October 30th. Home by Halloween. As is typical, all of the ACC teams will make the ACC tournament, so the Cards will be playing for seeding throughout that regular season. Of all of the sports, this one is the closest to a real conference season that can be had, so Louisville could claim a legitimate conference championship if the season is able to be played in full.
The Cross Country team has no NCAA championships to compete for but that doesn't mean that they can't have some glory in the ACC. There will be three regular season meets for the Cards to qualify for ACC competition on October 30th. Like soccer, that postseason will take place in Cary, NC. Louisville's meets will be in South Bend on September 19th, here in Louisville on October 3rd (busy weekend for Louisville fans), and in Hoover, Alabama on October 16th. I'm not sure how the UAB hosted Blazer Classic meets the standards of conference only competition, but oh well.
It's a weird one, but it is still Derby Day. As is tradition, we'll be taking the week off from the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast. Be sure to tune in next week when we return with actual things to talk about. Until then, have a nice Derby Day and Labor Day weekend. Be safe, and enjoy yourselves.
Until next time, Go Cards!