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Saturday, February 13, 2021

WBB Back on Pause; Lacrosse Opens Season -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Louisville WBB Postpones Syracuse Game

Welp... Here we are again. After the emotional home send-off for Dana Evans, Cards fans were ready to turn their sights onto the end of the regular season and the road to a national title. Unfortunately, we are instead reminded of the uncertain nature of this entire season. News broke midday yesterday that Louisville's game against the Orange on Sunday had been postponed. Optimistically, I opened the article hoping that it would be a contact tracing event or a Syracuse issue. That wasn't the case, though, as Louisville has had at least one positive test and quarantine/contact tracing makes the Cards unable to field a full team. Back onto a pause they go.

The question now is how long this one will last. Louisville WBB's first pause saw them off for nearly a month, not playing from December 9th until January 1st. Louisville MBB's first pause was for 18 days, and their second will be at least 16, assuming they return to the floor against Syracuse next Wednesday. Jeff Walz's squad has just 15 days remaining in the schedule, with the final game of the regular season scheduled to be played against Notre Dame on February 28th. We will just have to see what the extent of this event is.

As for the impact on the season, we at least don't have to worry about NCAA tournament eligibility. Louisville wrapped up their 13-game minimum weeks ago, and the only question now is whether they would be a one- or a two-seed. How a second pause will impact performance is a different question, and has to do with who is sick now, how bad it is, and whether the entire team will return at the same time. The men's team came off of their first pause without Carlik Jones and were run out of the gym by Wisconsin. The women's team came out of their first pause and labored to get a home win against NKU. We don't have any local evidence of teams coming off of a second shutdown because it hasn't happened, so we're all just flying blind. 

At any rate, we can only hope that everyone on Louisville's team stays safe and as healthy as possible for their sake and for the (through selfishness as fans) sake of the team. We'll be ready to root the Cards on when they return as they gear up for a conference championship battle and a run at a national title.

Lacrosse Hosts Florida

After 351 days, according to the Lax twitter account, the team is finally ready to get back in action. Scott Teeter's squad was off to a decent start and was making positive strides last year when they were called back to the hotel in Delaware to end their season. The Cards were 5-4 with close losses against Michigan and Virginia Tech that would have put their season on a very different path had a few goals gone the other way. Unfortunately, Louisville was unable to see that progress through as the season was canceled halfway through. 

The Cards look to pick up where they left off (a 17-7 win over Niagara to be exact) when they host the seventh ranked Florida Gators today at 11:30. Florida is a very good team that plays in the American Athletic Conference, as the SEC does not sponsor lacrosse. The Gators were off to a 6-2 start last season before the cancellation, with both losses coming to ranked teams and one of the wins coming on the road against #1 Maryland. Florida was 14-7 the previous season, defeating Cincinnati in the AAC Championship before falling in the second round of the NCAA tournament to North Carolina.

This is certainly one of the toughest season openers Teeter has had since becoming the leader down on Floyd Street, and he'll get an early look at what his team has to offer. This one is available on the ACC Network Extra, so be sure to tune in for the match that starts at 11:30AM.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour 

We're back on the air this week, and we'll have a relatively full house. Paulie will be in the booth with us, as media is limited (read: nonexistent) at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium, but Jared may still be down on the field, snapping photos and trying not to freeze. Best of luck to him. Join us on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour as we look back at the WBB wins over Notre Dame and Georgia Tech and what we're looking for with the uncertainty of the remainder of the season, plus all of the other odds and ends as spring (both rescheduled fall and natural spring) sports get underway. Tune in to the Cardinal Couple YouTube Channel at 11 AM for the live show or check out the replay or podcast after the show is finished airing.

Until next time, Go Cards!

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