Jared with you this morning, as Case and I traded days earlier this week, You can't tell the players without a scorecard, right? Or, as a ex-college WBB coach once said "You can't tell the players anything, scorecard or not."
Happy Saturday to all of our awesome Cardinal Couple readers! Including today, we have five Saturdays remaining until the first of our fall sports see action. In five and a half weeks from now we'll see women's soccer take the pitch for a scrimmage against Cincinnati.
With the graduation and transfer of many big time players last year for Louisville, we need new faces to step up and take charge for women's soccer this season. Not only did women's soccer lose key contributors from last season, but volleyball and field hockey are also in similar positions with the departure of players.
So who will step up? Hopefully plenty of players, but I'll take a stab at who I think may step up for some of these sports. I excluded freshmen and incoming transfers for the sole fact that I have not seen any of them play in person before nor have I seen how they will gel with their new teams. I also left off known stars such as Sarah Hernandez for women's soccer and Aiko Jones for volleyball because we already know how much of an impact some of these players will have.
Many of the top scorers from last season are gone. On top of that, the Cards don't have a locked in goalkeeper for the first time in six years.
Emma Hiscock had a strong showing down the stretch last season and started to gain more playing time as her confidence increased. Assuming she follows that trajectory, Hiscock could lead the Cards in scoring and be a key contributor to the offense.
Anouk Denton didn't put up highlight reel numbers in her freshman debut last year, but the Great Britain native has shined in the off season with her national team. Although listed as a defender, Denton will probably help command the midfield until Sarah Hernandez and Maisie Whitsett graduate and relinquish the centerback positions.
When a good chunk of the Final Four team returning minus a couple All-Americans who have graduated, much of the returning team could already be argued as having a bit of stardom with the expectation of great individual performances.
Amaya Tillman's impact on the front line may have been overshadowed by Anna Stevenson last year, but the rising senior is one of the best blockers in the country. Her playing time diminished some at the end of the year as Stevenson continued her breakout season, but Tillman was a bit of a lockdown middle blocker. She should play a crucial role in that position this year.
Cara Cresse has at least three inches on the rest of the listed roster. Louisville's only loss last year was due to a major height disadvantage over 6'7, 6'8, and 6'9 players for Wisconsin. Cresse had an impressive spring showing. The combination of having a year experience under her belt and having a 6'6 frame can propel her into the spotlight this year.
Field Hockey has the most depleted roster of the three sports as fifth-year players graduated and several players with an extra year of eligibility chose to forgo that due to post-graduation opportunities. Excluding incoming transfers and freshmen, there are no listed goalkeepers on the roster.
Mattie Tabor showed great promise early in her career before tearing her ACL. She was healthy for a full season last year and has had more time to re-strengthen that muscle. Going into her final year of eligibility, Tabor can provide a much-needed power on offense for the Cards.
Filippa Niebuhr didn't see a lot of playing time but was sixth on the team with four goals last year. If you average that out in how often she scored per minutes played, she would have ranked second on the team. The German native had a sneakily good year last year and is due for a breakout sophomore campaign.
We'd love to see all the women's athletes have breakout years, but these are just a few that could take their game to the next level and be a key player on their respective teams this year.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast
With me taking over for Case on the write today, it should be pretty clear that he is out this week. With the Bats hanging out with the Dunder Mifflin team up in Scranton, Daryl's schedule might allow her to join us this week. At worst, you'll be stuck with Paulie, Jeff, and myself.
I'll let Jeff post the vast list of links to the recording tomorrow, which...to my knowledge, the glitch with the links should be fixed now. Today's link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Iu4Jo307SQ or "click the bird" at the top of the page.
Happy Saturday and Go Cards!