Cards Take on Seminoles at 1PM
Following a resounding win over Miami in the season opener, Karen Ferguson-Dayes' squad will get a much stiffer test in the second match of the season. The Cards traveled upstate from Miami over the last couple of days to prepare to face Florida State.
The Seminoles, as we've mentioned before on the site and the podcast, were one of three 1-seeds to come out of the ACC for the 2019 NCAA tournament. FSU didn't handle their bracket quite as easily as some might have thought, though, and exited in the Elite Eight with a whopping 4-0 loss to UCLA. UCLA, in turn, was thumped by eventual champion Stanford.
Despite the flashy scorelines, that's hardly a bad way to exit the tournament. You may recall Louisville lost 4-0 as well, being knocked out by BYU in the second round.
That said, Florida State was a very good team. Unfortunately for Louisville, they still are. The Seminoles lost just two seniors from last year's team.
While they were very key players--Deyna Castellanos and Caroline Jeffers were the leading points scorer and starting goalkeeper, respectively--that's still a heck of a lot of production to return. Jeffers backup, Brooke Bollinger, played in four games, starting three, and gave up no goals. Even with that nice record, Bollinger's succession was usurped by Cristina Roque, showing that the FSU doesn't lack talent between the sticks. And, while Castellanos led the team in points by a wide margin (16 more points than second place), the Seminoles return five double digit points scorers.
The Cards had just two double digit earners last year, with Brooklynn Rivers scoring 10 points and graduating.
Offensively, Louisville showed against Miami that they have the capability to score in different ways. They showed very good build-up play as well as high pressure. We didn't see too much countering from the Cards, but that is because Miami wasn't really able to put Louisville on the back foot. Florida State will not have trouble with that. Against Notre Dame, the Seminoles were relentless. They scored five goals on 18 shots, putting 10 of those shots on frame.
Notre Dame was able to notch only two shots, one on frame, for the entire game. Florida State's box score from Thursday's game doesn't include possession stats, but we can only assume they weren't great. Louisville will need to be able to protect the ball in the midfield and likely win it out of the back and counter to be able to move forward with any consistency. We know Delaney Snyder and Emina Ekic can finish, but they'll need a lot of help to get opportunities and to potentially keep up with FSU.
Defensively, it's hard to say what either team has. Without any non-conference games and with teams jumping straight into the conference schedule, there's no way to gauge conference opponents' performances. Is Miami as bad as they looked on Thursday against Louisville? Probably. Is Notre Dame? Who knows. All we know is that both Louisville and FSU were able to put the clamps on their opponents, but how impressive that was remains to be seen.
It's likely that FSU's defense is just that good. The Seminoles allowed just 27 goals last season, with four of those coming against UCLA, and forced opponents into 72 offsides calls. Did I mention already that they lost nothing in the defense or midfield outside of the goalkeeper? I feel like I might have mentioned that. It's probably relevant. Louisville, on the other hand, is working to replace three starters from what is effectively a back-six most of the time.
While UofL looked good enough on Thursday, we don't really know what Miami has offensively. They may score four goals all year for all we know. Based on experience alone, Florida State appears to have the edge here. Louisville will need to make the most of whatever opportunities they can get offensively and try to limit damage defensively.
In the series history, Louisville is 0-6-0 against Florida State. No wins, no draws, just losses. They came close the last time they played, falling just 2-1 in 2017, but this will definitely be a tough test. With Louisville already down a player that they considered to be a starter on the wing in Corinne Dente, this game and this season could be even tougher than they hoped. I don't think that this is the year Louisville gets a result against Florida State.
Having to play on the road, even without fans, is a challenge, and the fact that there has only been one game to tune up prior to this, with Louisville looking pretty flat in the second half, is not encouraging. I'd be thrilled to be proven wrong, as a result here, even if it's just one point, would go a long way to securing Louisville a spot in the eight-team tournament, but we'll see.
Cards and Seminoles kick off at 1PM on ACC Network. Tune in for what should be an exciting game regardless of the outcome.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
Man what an exciting week for the show! I've managed to do what I hoped to for a long time and turn the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour podcast into an actual podcast.
As an even bigger step, I managed to power through and get the edits complete and the show posted yesterday before anything we talked about was out of date. As always, you can catch the recorded version of the live show on YouTube, with yesterday's show here.
Alternatively, you can listen to the show as a podcast on your favorite podcast player. The direct show link for yesterday's episode on Anchor is here and you can listen to the show in the anchor player on your browser. The show is also searchable on pretty much every player now as well, so you can subscribe to the show however you prefer to listen and have the episodes come right to your device when they post. Check out the show and let us know what you think, and be sure to share it with your friends!
Until next time, Go Cards!