The calendar is bursting at the seams with events this weekend, so let's work our way through the day in order of how it happened.
First off, the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast kicked off an hour early. This was a late decision in the week. We felt very strongly that we did want to have the show with it being ACC Women's Basketball week, but challenges with the sports scheduling were arising. With Lacrosse starting at 11am, and some of the Cardinal Couple crew needing to be exiting by 11am in order to make it to their respective stations for various sports events, we decided to start an hour earlier.
The Cards made a great game of this, mostly trading goals with UVA, though the Hokies were able to extend a little bit of a lead, out to 8-4 at halftime. The 2nd half opened with a bit more back and forth, the score reach a similar four point lead, 11-7, after 10 minutes of 2nd half play.
The Cards would go on to outscore UVA 5-2 the rest of the way, tying the score at 12-12 with 12:30 left in the game. The defenses on both side stepped up their intensity at that point, but UVA would break through with the final goal of the game with 5:46 on the clock.
Hannah Morris came off the bench for four goals, with Caroline Blalock, Allega Catelano, and Alex McNicholas each contributing a pair. Ally Hall and Kokoro Nakazawa found the back of the net once each as well. Rachel Florek continued her great play in the net with 10 saves.
Lax will be back on Friday at Central Michigan with a 1pm game.
Louisville women's Tennis was also in Virginia, and dropped their match 6-1 in the noon start.
The Cards did lose the doubles point, which has been a rarity for the team this year.
Rhea Verma got the only point for the Cards in a 6-2, 6-2 win over Vivian Glozman.
Tennis will be back in the Bass-Rudd Center for noon matches against NC State and Wake Forest Friday and Sunday.
Jordyn Wolfe would be the first to cross the plate for the Cards, using a trio of singles from herself, Carmyn Greenwood, and Taylor Roby to do it in the 3rd inning.
Rebecca Chung said, "Goodbye Mr. Spalding" in the 4th inning to get herself across the plate. Then in the 6th inning Chung would use a fielder's choice to reach, got lifted for the speedier Sydney Bickel who would then cross the plate on a Leonhardt double.
Softball will be in action at Ulmer again today at 2pm, against Miami (OH).
Also also at noon, Basketball tipped it off vs Syracuse in the ACC Tournament Semifinals. The Cards
would win this one 72-59 with a spread offense.
Q's Cuse were a bit injury depleted in this one, with their star point guard Tiana MangaKahia down with a "lower body injury", though she is expected to return for the NCAA tournament. Priscilla Williams was also out for the game recovery from her terrifying fall in the game on Friday. Williams stayed at the team hotel watching the game "in a dark room", but was reported to be doing well considering the fall that she took.
Despite the Orange's overall length, the Cards won this one mostly on close-in shots. The Cards did get six shots from three point range, with a pair each from Hailey van Lith and Norika Konno, but would get 32 points in the paint. The Cards also outrebounded Syracuse, 39-37 with the two rebound edge coming in offensive rebounds.
Ultimately, credit the Cards defense in this one, holding the Cuse to only 30% shooting. For the Cards the offense came by committee, Dana Evans bounced back a little to get 13 points, Kianna Smith got her offense unlimbered a bit with 11. Olivia Cochran and Norika Konno joined them in double digits with 10 apiece. Hailey van Lith and Liz Dixon counted for eight with Mykasa Robinson close behind with seven.
The play was generally steady, the Cards won all four quarters, but the 2nd and 4th only by a single point.
F- Good Free Throw shooting for both teams in this one. Syracuse shot 84% from the line, but the Cards kicked it up to 94%, definitely good enough for the capital "F".
R- UofL won the battle of the boards, but not by a big margin, 39-37. The margin was on of the offensive boards, which is nice, and almost earns the uppercase, but I'd like to see the boards get crashed a bit more aggressively, so I'm only awarding the lower case "r" here.
E- Assists were even between the teams at 10 apiece. The Cards did come out positive on the assist to turnover ratio, but again only just barely. The nine turnovers are at the high end of what I'm comfortable with for the effort and execution category, particularly when looking ahead to NC State's stiff defense. I'll grudgingly give the upper case "E" here, mostly because of the 19 points off turnovers for the Cards show we were taking advantage of the Syracuse mistakes.
D- All four blocks of the game went to Syracuse, which isn't terribly surprising given their length. The Cards did get Syracuse to commit 15 turnovers though, six of which were steals. Not bad, not bad at all. I'll give the capital "D" here.
F-r-E-D, may be a bit generous, but with little time to prepare in the grueling tournament schedule, it's time to keep our chins up and keep winning.
In the other semifinal yesterday, NC State's defense just smothered Georgia Tech in the 4th quarter after a big 2nd quarter for the Yellowjackets earned them the lead at halftime. The Ramblin Wreck would hold the lead through the 3rd quarter before the ol' 1930 Model A final broke down under the withering NC State defense in the 4th quarter.
That sets up today's noon tip before NC State and UofL for the ACC Championship. Elissa Cunane is back in top form, with Kayla Jones, Kai Crutchfield, and Jakia Brown-Turner all playing good supporting roles.
Volleyball is back, and I'm a happy camper. Particularly after the Cards cruised to an easy 3-0 sweep of Wake Forest in the L&N Federal Credit Union Arena yesterday.
This was a late add of a match after Virginia Tech got postponed due to Covid issues within the VT program. Because it's a late add, it will not be considered for conference standings, but did serve as a good opener for both squads to unlimber from the over-winter break.
Claire Chaussee, well she's a Wisconsinite, so it's no surprise that she apparently made the best of the winter and came out and hit a torrid .714 hitting percentage to lead the Cards with 16 kills on only a single error. Her calling card had been "high risk, high reward", but she cut down the risk factor quite a bit yesterday, let's hope she keeps it up.
Most of the A-Team showed up and played well, Anna Stevenson and Aiko Jones both chalked up 10 kills, with Amaya Tillman putting another six down. Anna hit .467, which is good, even for a middle, and Aiko hit .421, which is quite good for a pin hitter. Alexis Hamilton lead the team with 10 digs, a nice sum.
Getting away from the A's, Tori Dilfer tallied 32 assists, a very nice number indeed for the 3-set match.
Volleyball will play Wake Forest again today at 2pm, but this one does count for conference standings.
Last, but certainly not least. Soccer came out on top in a defensive battle against Dayton 1-0 up in Ohio.
Looking for the next leader on the squad after Emina Ekic took her game farther downtown to Racing Louisville FC, Massie Whitsett got the only score of the game. We have, of course, heard the Whitsett name alongside Ekic for some time, so it'll be no real surprise if she steps forward to take the reigns of this squad going forward.
Soccer gets a bit of a break, and will be back in action on the 20th back in the Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium when Auburn comes to visit. First kick at 5pm.
Not in action yesterday, but with a game today. Field Hockey heads up to Muncie, Indiana to play one of those other Cardinals squads in Ball State.
1pm for the first pass back for that one.
Cardinal Couple ACC Tournament Pick'Em
As we go into the final game of our Pick 'Em, it looks like Jeff McAdams entry is the leader with a 10-1 record. He can win the Pick 'Em with a UofL win today.
Right behind him at 9-2 are David Watson, LouavulFan35, KStarks, Case and Jared. If NC State wins today, then David Watson gets the title. Second place is a bit more complicated, Paulie will straighten that out in Monday's column per bracket Czar Jared's ruling.
At 8-3 -- Arthur, Daryl, Clemson Cuz and Vivian
At 7-4 -- Nick O, Paulie, Blue Lou, Kenny S, Sonya and Doug
At 6-5 Phil
At 5-6 Curtis , Eric and Nole Knowledge
At 4-7 -- Cardinal Couple Chimps, Joe Hill
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast
Finally, as mentioned earlier, the whole crew did get together for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast, though with an early start time of 10am.
Good discussion of the progress of the ACC basketball tournament, coverage of softball, field hockey, lacrosse, volleyball, and a brief shout out for Dairy Del and Daryl's delightful banana milkshake. You can check it out below.