Field Hockey Remains Undefeated
Taking on Virginia in their second to last regular season ACC match, Louisville was looking for a win to remain undefeated and hold on to their number one seed. The Cards went into Charlottesville and handled their business, taking down the Cavaliers in the first of their two games by a final score of 5-2. By my math, that locks up the number one seed for the Cards, as the worst they could now finish in the conference is tied with North Carolina, a team they beat earlier this year and should hold the tie-breaker over. Coach Justine Sowry, of course, will be looking to keep her team’s momentum up and follow through with an undefeated regular season.
Louisville scored early and often in the match yesterday, putting up two goals in the first quarter with the opening goal coming from a Meche Pastor penalty stroke 8 minutes into the game. Louisville would go on to score in every quarter but the second. The Cards’ second goal also came against the run of play, as a penalty corner was converted by Aimee Plumb. It was officially assisted by Meche Pastor, putting her in a class near Emina Eric in terms of goals responsible for. Louisville would finish the game with 9 penalty corner attempts, but the second goal of the game was the Cards’ only conversion. We often talk about missed opportunities on corners, as it can be tough to score otherwise, but Louisville had no troubles yesterday despite the corner issues.
After UVA clawed one back in the second quarter, the offenses died down briefly for the final ten minutes of the half. Louisville took a 2-1 lead into the half and had to be feeling confident. While confident about your chances at 2-1, you can hardly afford to sit back and coast to the finish. Fortunately, that’s not what the Cards had in mind. Meche made sure Louisville stayed in control early by scoring just a minute and a half into the third quarter. This one came in live play with the ball being deflected off of a defender before finding the back of the cage. The Hoos would manage to bring it back to a one score game just a few minutes later but Louisville still wasn’t done. With under a minute remaining in the third quarter, Madison Walsh took advantage of a mess in front of the Virginia goal and tucked the ball away with just 34 seconds remaining in the quarter.
The final quarter saw strong defensive play from the Cards as Virginia tried to get back into it. After ten minutes of no further scoring, Louisville put a bow on the match in the form of a Margot Lawn goal assisted by Embry Jane Imorde. The final goal put the Cards up by three with fewer than four minutes remaining and that was that. Louisville has just two games remaining on the regular season schedule before the ACC tournament gets underway and they’ll play one of those two today. As Jeff and I both mentioned on the show last week, it may not be the worst thing in the world for Louisville to take a close loss prior to the tournament in order to relieve some pressure. The best game to lose would seem to be today’s rematch against Virginia as it will not count as a conference game. Of course, if Louisville isn’t feeling the pressure of an undefeated season, they’re more than welcome to just keep winning. Today’s match is at 2PM and will be aired on the ACC Network Extra.
Volleyball Loses Winning Streak at Pitt
Despite the struggles that Pitt volleyball has been facing this season, Louisville’s woes against the Panthers persisted in the Fitzgerald Field House last night. The Cards were ultimately swept in this one, but were out scored by a total of only 8 points. Louisville played pretty well, actually finishing with fewer errors than Pitt, but the offense just couldn’t find the gaps with their attack attempts.
The Cards had 14 blocks compared to just 7 for Pitt and only allowed the Panthers to snag 7 aces to their own 3 while the two teams matched service errors at five. Unfortunately for Louisville, every Pitt advantage seemed to come at exactly the wrong time. While seemingly everyone in red got involved in the block party, the offense was quite spread out as well. Aiko Jones, Claire Chaussee, and Anna DeBeer all finished with seven kills while Amaya Tillman added six and Anna Stevenson five more. Similarly, Pitt had an extremely balanced offense, and their hitters finished with more total attempts and kills. So it goes.
There isn’t a whole lot more to say about a match like this. Statistically, Louisville was right in it, and if you review just the numbers, it seems unlikely that they would lose in straight sets. But that’s what happened. 26-24, 25-21, and 25-23 shows just how close this match was. Louisville’s best chance at a comeback came in the third set when they managed to take a 19-18 lead, but they just couldn’t hold on.
The final moves Louisville to 4-2 and Pitt to 4-3. To maintain a lead on the Panthers in the standings, Louisville will have to get revenge tomorrow in the final match of the fall season. Neither team can catch Notre Dame in pod play, but as the fall schedule will just carry over to the spring, the Cards will need to take advantage of their last chance to play one of their rivals, as they spring season will not see any of these teams matched up against one another again. The final match gets underway tomorrow at 3:30PM and should be available on the ACC Network Extra.
No Cardinal Couple Radio Hour This Week
Due to the Noon kickoff for Louisville football pulling Paulie away, Jared working his day away at the money management center, and Jeff and I finding our own messes to get into, we’ll be taking this week off at the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. We’ll have plenty more to get into when we’re back online next weekend so be sure to stay tuned to the site and to the podcast feed.
Until next time, Go Cards!