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Saturday, February 20, 2021

Softball Falls Short, Tennis Narrowly Wins, and More -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Softball Drops Two to Open ACC Play

With the podded system created for ACC play this season, softball will see a lot of double headers. Fortunately for them, that means they'll get plenty of opportunities to show their abilities in back-to-back games in a way they didn't yesterday. Taking on NC State to open their conference season, Louisville softball fell 8-4 and 4-3 to put them at 0-4 on the season. There is plenty of time to recover, have no doubt, as the Cards are right back in action today, starting with a match against Virginia at 11AM before getting another crack at the Wolfpack at 3PM. Both games should be on the ACC Network Extra. Let's take a look at yesterday's results.

Cards Let Wolfpack Snag Big Lead; 8-4

Acting as the home team, Louisville took to the field first and promptly gave up a two runs in an inning that included an opening walk, a pair of steals, and a double. After getting out of it, Taylor Roby, who started in the circle, was able to reset the game for herself when she hit a two-run homer to score herself and Carmyn Greenwood to tie the game. Both teams saw a walk but stranded a runner in the second, and the NC State opened up the game. They scored two in the third, two in the fourth, and a single run in each of the fifth and sixth innings to build an 8-2 lead. Louisville tried to claw back in the sixth, but could just scratch across two runs, stranding runners on second and third with a strikeout. That saw the inning end at 8-4, which is how the game would end an inning later. The Cards would get Celene Funke and Roby on base in the seventh, but could do nothing to advance them around to score.

7th Inning Rally Falls Short; 4-3

The second game flipped the dugouts and got off to quite a different start. Louisville got a one-out double and a two-out walk but couldn't bring either runner home and so headed to the bottom half with no runs. It looked like they'd start NC State off the same way, retiring the first two batters on a line drive and a strikeout, but a two-out walk was followed by a wild pitch to put a runner on second. A single scored her, and a two-out homer gave NC State a 3-0 lead leaving the first. After NC State's two-out fireworks, neither team threatened much until the bottom of the fifth when NC State loaded the bases with two outs. A ground-out ended the inning. 

In the top of the sixth, Louisville's offense returned when Taylor Roby hit her second home run of the day and of the season. That made it 3-1 and a bit more in reach, but the Wolfpack returned the favor with a lead-off home run of their own in the bottom half. The next batter reached on an error, but a caught-stealing was followed by a pop-out and a strikeout to end the inning. Louisville did their best to extend the game in the seventh, albeit with some help from NC State. Payton Hudson walked to open the inning but was followed by two quick outs. NC State had a chance to end the game on a grounder by Carmyn Greenwood, but an error put runners on first and second. Roby singled them both in to make it 4-3. Cassady Greenwood also reached on an error to put runners on first and second (odd coincidence), but Charley Butler's fly to right didn't have the juice or placement to get to the ground or out of the fence. A catch ended the game.

Tennis Opens Conference Play with Victory

Louisville hosted Syracuse yesterday for their first ACC match of the year. This has been a place in the past few years where things have fallen apart for the Cards, but a strong showing early could boost their morale going forward. Fortunately for Louisville, their doubles play may be the spark they need for the remainder of the year. They opened yesterday's match by winning the doubles point, clinching that portion of the match for the sixth straight time. They've played six matches. The Cards won the doubles point pretty strongly as well, finishing 6-1 and 6-2, while leading 5-4 in the unfinished match.

On the singles side, things got a bit more interesting. The Cards jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead with wins in the first two singles matches to finish. Then, Syracuse won the next three matches, all coming back from a 1-0 set deficit to win in three sets. At 3-3, it came down to Rhea Verma, who narrowly lost her first set on a tiebreaker. She went on to win 6-1, 6-2 to give Louisville the fourth point they needed and a victory in conference play. That moves the Cards to 4-2 overall, and they'll be back in action tomorrow at 11AM against Boston College.

More Roundup

The swimming team claimed eight top-8 finishes and a bronze medal in the 400 medley relay to move into third place in the team standings. At 683.5 points, they're 105 points clear of fourth-place VT but sit 196 points behind NC State in second. Virginia is in their own class with 1047 points. The Cards will have a chance to hold onto third and try to chase down the Wolfpack as the final day of competition begins with prelims today at 11AM. The finals are schedule for 7PM and the entire event will be streamed on the ACC Network Extra.

Volleyball will have to wait another week to get their spring season started as their match with Lipscomb has been canceled. The ASUN, in an effort to get more conference games played, shifted their schedules around, landing a conference matchup on this weekend for the Bison. Louisville's match was seen as lower priority, so they got the boot. The Cards will now start the spring season next week against Notre Dame as they move straight into conference play.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

Well we were all wrong when we spent last week lamenting what we suspected to be the end of Louisville women's basketball's regular season due to Covid-19. We'll endeavor to be more correct this week on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour as we recap the win over Pittsburgh as well as all of the other news and events in Louisville women's athletics this week. Tune in to the Cardinal Couple YouTube Channel at 11AM for our live show or check out the replay or podcast following the recording. 

Until next time, Go Cards!

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