CARDS 2-0, PLUS TWO EXHIBITIONS WINS EARLY
When I first looked at what the Louisville Field Hockey squad might look like in the 2021 season, several questions came to mind. The questions probably closely mirror what Coach Sowry was musing as well -- a team that made it to the final four, returned a lot of pieces but also had some huge question marks.
I wondered how they would start out. I reviewed how the past five UofL Field Hockey teams had begun their campaigns and found that, in their first five matches, the Cards were a cumulative 22-3. Perfect 5-0 starts in 2020, 2019,and 2016. A 4-1 beginning in 2017 (falling to Ohio St.) and 3-2 in 2018 (with losses to Ohio St. and UNC).
2021 has been a grand start . The Cards are 2-0, with wins over Ohio and New Hampshire, and (if you count the scrimmages against the alumnae and Bellarmine) have not allowed a single goal in 16 quarters of play -- while scoring 26. .
I also wondered who would pick up the scoring that left with All-American Mechi Pastor when she graduated. Would it be "scoring by committee" or would one or two players assume control of goal-scoring? We won't count the "scrimmage goals" here -- but in the nine regular season goals, six different student-athletes have found net success. Erica Cooper, Filippa Niebuhr and Katie Schneider have two goals each and Mattie Tabor, Mia Duchars and Alli Bitting one each. Bitting is a grad student, Cooper and Schneider seniors, Tabor a junior, Duchars a sophomore and Niebuhr a freshman.
It's a long season -- 16 matches remain, and then an ACC Tournament and (hopefully) NCAA Tournament run. -- so I won't read too much of a trend into the scoring contingent of Louisville yet, Let's just say that there are many capable and keep in mind that these multiple goal-scorers from last season (Aimee Plumb, Charlie van Oirschot and Emilia Kaczmarczyk) haven't put one in the net yet. Plumb was the Cards second leading scorer in 2020 (with six) behind Pastor, who had 13 of the Cards 46 goals.
I also wondered about the progression of goalkeeper in year three without Ayeshia McFerran. Hollyn Barr (who is not on the roster this year) and Sam Minrath were the previous two keepers of the net. I didn't know if Barr would return and if Minrath would continue to shine and stop shots.
Imagine my surprise to find out it's been neither of the two, so far. Freshman Mila de Kuijer, from the Netherlands, has received all 120 minutes in goal. We've gotten no official word on Minrath, we assume it's an injury that is keeping her from dressing out, but you can't fault what de Kuijer has done so far.
Strength of schedule so far hasn't been that strong, but that'll soon change.-- with conference foes around the bend and a potential tough trip coming up next for Louisville Field Hockey to Princeton to play Princeton and Penn. The Cards are ranked fifth in the nation and fifth in the ACC, but that should be changing pretty soon for the better.
One school that has been a bit of a surprise is UNC. the TarHeels are 0-2 after losses in Iowa City, IA to Iowa and Michigan.
I've missed not attending the home slate so far for UofL FH. I'm hoping my health will allow me some chances this year to see live events at Trager. It's one-day-at-a-time right now though, and hope for the best.
(photos by Jared Anderson today)
Have a Terrific Tuesday