The Fall Trio
The weather has certainly given us the hint that fall has arrived in earnest, and with it, the realization that our main trio of fall sports are diving headlong, not into a pile of leaves, but their late season schedule. With both Field Hockey and Soccer wrapping up their regular season schedules this week. Volleyball still has another month to go...the benefits of being an indoor sport.
After what can only be described as a significantly disappointing loss to Syracuse Friday, the Cards continue the conference/non-conference two step with a step out of conference to host Appalachian State.
App State is no pushover. They're 11-4 on the season, and 5-1 in the MAC. The competition hasn't been the stiffest tallying wins over the likes of Central Michigan, Kent State, and James Madison, but their losses haven't been horrible either. Going down to defeat to Drexel and Miami (OH), gives an idea of their level of play, but losses to UNC and Wake Forest are certainly understandable.
Charlotte Bosma and Hadley Kuzmicky are statistically the biggest goal scoring threats with five apiece on the year, but the Mountaineers have eight players that have scored three or more goals this season, so the Louisville defense will need to keep its head on a swivel.
The Cards will definitely be looking to atone for Friday's game against Syracuse where the defense gave up four goals, and the offense only scored one. Maintaining possession is an important part of that. If the opposing team is camped out in front of your goal, they're going to get opportunities and eventually some shots will slip through regardless of how much magic Merlijn can bring to the cage.
The action at Trager Stadium gets underway at noon, and since Louisville is hosting, it will be on streaming on ACC Network Extra (side-eye towards Wake Forest Volleyball here).
Wake Forest Soccer, unlike the Volleyball match on Friday, will have ACC Network Extra streaming coverage. The first kick will be at 12:30.
Louisville pretty much needs a win today to keep any chance of post-season hopes alive. The ACC Tournament takes six teams, and Wake Forest, somewhat coincidentally, is in sixth place in the standings with 10 points. Louisville has eight points, so needs at least a win in the next two games, today's against Wake, and Thursday's against Duke, to get above that 10 point threshold. And that's just working on the, probably poor, assumption that the point threshold won't rise as more points are won across the league in the remain few games.
Those wins will be a tall order for the Cards, as Wake is 8-2-5 overall, 2-2-4 in conference. They did win against a then ranked Virginia team, but lost to a then ranked 13th Notre Dame team (ND is now 12th). Wake Forest is, at present, the first team listed in the Receiving Votes category of the coach's poll.
The last of the Fall Trio serves up today's action at 1pm, with a visit to Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech will be the host for the Volleyball squad, and they graciously will have an ACC Network Extra feed available of the match as well (Yes, I'm really laying it on thick here for Wake Volleyball).
Louisville will be looking for a good start out of the gate after a disastrous first two sets Friday against Wake. Yes, Louisville was able to gather it back together and put together a solid following three sets, including a dominant 25-5 win in set 4. Slow starts like that could be season ending in the post-season, though the wide netters do have a full month of regular season play to put it all together and avoid such a fate.
The Hokies shouldn't pose much of a threat today. Coming into the match 12-8 overall, and a meager 2-8 in conference. Their two conference wins are over Syracuse, who hasn't beaten anyone this year, and Notre Dame on Friday, who are struggling, again, to get to .500 and post-season eligibility. The Notre Dame match did take a full five sets.
As long as Louisville doesn't return to the funk, we should be fine and come away with an easy win.
Other Volleyball Tidbits
- Washington State, currently ranked 4th in the coach's poll, lost Friday in five sets to unranked USC. This should drop them down considerably in the poll tomorrow, and giving Louisville a slot to move up to 4th, assuming we take care of business today. The downside of this is, with Washington State being a previous opponent on our schedule, this is a slight ding to our RPI.
- Number 1 vs number 2, Wisconsin vs Nebraska played last night in Lincoln, with Nebraska eeking out the win. This is unlikely to shake up the rankings enough to have any impact on Louisville, as I doubt Wisconsin will get dropped much for a loss to the number two ranked team in the country.
- Claire Chaussee continues to be the top performing rookie in Athletes Unlimited volleyball this year. She's currently in 4th place on the leaderboard, and that's with her team only winning one set of the three, and losing the overall match, on Friday (set and match wins are a big source of points). If the standings hold, she will be one of the captains for week 4. She has two more matches this week, today and tomorrow at 7pm, so the leaderboard still has plenty of time for shakeups.