TARHEELS FIELD HOCKEY BLANKS LOUISVILLE
Karen Shelton, head coach of the North Carolina Field Hockey squad, is a legend in Field Hockey circles and also happens to be a very nice person. Minutes after her Tar Heel stick swingers shut down the previously undefeated Louisville Cardinals Friday afternoon at Trager Stadium, she took a few minutes to talk with me after the contest.
This wasn't an "x's and o's" chat or a discussion about the Cards new turf. It was, simply, two old friends who see each other once every couple of years, catching up on life. Not a thing you capture on a camcorder and spread all over the internet. I did compliment Coach on the win, they earned it. I mentioned I was impressed with the youngsters on the squad. Two sophomores and a freshman scored for UNC against a Cards defense that rarely gives up more than one goal a game. I teased her a bit that it used to be everyone feared All-American Erin Matson on the squad, but now she's got a posse of youngsters to ride with saddle with her. Erin only got one shot off yesterday, but it didn't matter, her scoring affinity wasn't needed Friday.
Karen said Justine's Sowry's squad was going to be a good one, they were just a bit young, and she praised the play of Cards goalkeep Sasha Elliott. It's a shame I didn't have our photographer here to get a photo with me and Karen. But, enough of my Friday delight and joy. The FH Cards fell 3-0 yesterday. Let's look at that.
#2 UNC (7-0) scored in the first, second and fourth quarters Ashley Sessa drilled a shot in net with 8:11 gone in the contest. 811 is the number you call when you are going to dig on your property. (Can't be disrupting gas, electric, cable and water lines, you know) The Cards had dug themselves into an early hole and needed offense. The key to scoring, though, is getting shots off. #4 Louisville (6-1) attempted no shots in the first half. It wasn't that the Cards were being overly choosy...UNC has a very strong and disciplined defense and wasn't allowing UofL to shoot.
With 8:37 gone in the third quarter, the Tar Heels added a second goal. Kennedy Cliggett (another freshman) slid a pass in front of the Cards goal to Lisa Slinkert. Her shot got by Elliott and it was now 2-0 TarHeels. This was the first time this season that an opponent had scored more than one goal against Louisville. For as quiet, offensively, the second quarter was with just one UNC shot -- the third quarter was a festival, with five shots from Louisville and five shots from UNC.
The feeling of dread for Cardinals fans got a bit stronger at the start of the fourth quarter. Paitlyn Wirth found the goal with just 26 seconds passed. Three goals are almost impossible to overcome with a quarter left, and the Cards didn't...but they never gave up, attempting four shots.
Louisville has had trouble with converting penalty corners this season and that was the case, again, yesterday. The Cards had six at their disposal (compared to one for the visitors) but couldn't connect on any of them. Sasha Elliott had nine saves for the Cards, UNC split their two goalkeepers time evenly and they combined for three saves.
Louisville is a very good team and they'll win most, if not all, their remaining games this season. They just ran into a better squad Friday and lost to them. You learn from it and move on. We chose not to do a post game with Justine...I very rarely do a post-game interview with a coach after they've lost, except during tournament time.
The Cards will look to return to their winning ways Sunday when the Fairfield Stags come to Trager for a 2 p.m. start.
SOCCER FACES MIAMI TONIGHT
THE Louisville women's soccer squad begins ACC play tonight when they host the Miami Hurricanes at Lynn Stadium. It'll be a 7 p.m. start and available on ACCNX if you can't make it out.
The Canes are 3-1-2 on the season, suffering their first loss of the season to USF last time out. Alabama and Okla St. are two of their wins this season, so they've knocked off some pretty impressive foes in Coral Gables.
This will be the first trip for the Canes this season out of the state of Florida for a match. The Canes have scored four goals on the season (allowing three) and four players have a score each. Melissa Dagenais has started all six games in goal for Miami and the Quebec,Canada senior is one of the best in the ACC.
Louisville has won six of their last seven matches against Miami and has played the last three of those in Coral Gables.
Go Cards lists "Bob Russell" as the play-by-play announcer for this one tonight. I'm gonna bet big money that it'll be Don Russell instead. I'm pretty sure the retired senior minister of Southeast Christian Church isn't doing any sports-casting these days.
It's also "Dogs on the Turf" or "Pups on the Pitch" tonight at Lynn. That means I'll get 20 dog pictures and five game photos from Jared for tomorrow's write up.
NO PODCAST TODAY
The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast will not air today. The two guys who know how to format it and engineer it are unavailable. Sorry, folks.