Listen to our weekly show !!

Listen to our weekly show !!
CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO'S LATEST BROADCAST IS UP AND RUNNING IN THE ARCHIVED SOUNDCLOUD. . We have full coverage of the WBB Tipoff Luncheon and lots of interviews. We also cover lacrosse, soccer, field hockey and volleyball. CIICK THE CRESCENT HILL MICROPHONE TO HEAR OUR LATEST BROADCAST !!
Showing posts with label Gwen Rucker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gwen Rucker. Show all posts

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cardinal Couple Thursday Edition


( Jeff McAdams jumps behind the wheel of the CARDINAL COUPLE 1975 Ford Pinto and takes us for a spin through BIG EAST Women's Basketball Conference..with side stops at the ACC lounge and volleyball courts. We've always said Jeff is out standing in his field. What he's doing out there, we have no idea...but we just let him roll with it...)


Standings, We've Got Standings

Starting at home in The Big East

Things are starting to look a bit more normal in the Big East standings.  With four unbeatens, UConn is still lurking around further down the list than any of us are used to seeing, but the overall complexion is starting to take on a more familiar tone.

Notre Dame still holds onto the top spot with an unblemished 4-0 record in conference matchups so far dispatching Rutgers and Georgetown since we last checked in, and with relative ease. Also unbeaten with 3-0 starts are Syracuse, Villanova, and St. Johns.  The Cuse also beat up on Georgetown but they barely escaped DePaul...both at home...while Villanova got a solid win on the road over Pitt.  'Nova played a cross-town non-conference matchup against Penn last night and barely escaped with a win, though it wouldn't have had any impact on conference standings in any case, of course.

UConn is the only one loss team, coming in at the fifth spot.  In addition to hanging the loss on our dear Cardinals, they handed one to Marquette as well...with an even more overwhelming margin of victory.

We're currently at 2-2, along with Seton Hall and DePaul.  Seton Hall continues the backwards slide with the loss to St. Johns mentioned above, and they lost a squeaker to Marquette.  DePaul picked up the loss to Syracuse, and beat USF pretty handily.

USF and Marquette show up at 1-2.  USF got an easy win over Cincinnati, but suffered about the same sort of loss at the hands of DePaul.  Marquette's games were both mentioned already, being fodder for UConn, and sneaking the win out against Seton Hall in New Jersey.

Georgetown and Rutgers are both 1-3.  Georgetown taking a beating from both Syracuse and Notre Dame...though that Notre Dame wasn't as bad of a blow out as win-loss records would suggest it would've been.  Rutgers was run just about everyone Notre Dame, but got their first conference win against Providence...not exactly a win to hang tournament hopes on, there.

In the basement are the oh-fors, Pitt, Cincinnati, and Providence...all still looking for their first conference win after dropping three.

How's the New Construction Coming Along?

The ACC is starting to fall into a pretty normal looking pattern as well.

I'll skip the commentary on these and just list them off in their women's basketball records.

Duke and North Carolina are both 5-0.  Maryland at 4-1.  Florida State, Miami, and Virginia have 3-2 marks.  Wake Forest and Boston College with .500 records at 2-2.  The Techs, Georgia and Virginia, side by side at 1-4.  And the basement has NC State and Clemson still unfeated (is that a word?) in conference at 0-5.

I gotta have some Volleyball in here

Congratulations to Lola Arslanbeckova on picking up another post-season accolade.  This one comes from Volleyball Magazine, which named our favorite number 9 to the All-American second team.

Lola is suffering for her sport, clearly enjoying the warmth and sun in Puerto Rico.  Gwen Rucker, meanwhile, at least has warmer weather than we do...for the moment Azerbaijan.  Kaitlynn James lost the weather lottery, pursuing pro volleyball in snowy Sweden.

Best wishes to the three of them as they set off on their careers.

( Great info today from Jeff McAdams, who will probably make road trips to see all three before April. One sure way to get Jeff to cover an event is to set up a volleyball net or basketball goal and have Al Greener's pep band show up...)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Volleyball wrap-up


(CARDINAL COUPLE staff columnist Jeff McAdams takes us to the net with a UofL VolleyCards wrap-up and a preview of ACC volleyball.) 


Volleyball finishes for the year

*** Three named to All NorthEast Region team***

*** ACC Volleyball***

*** Random Trivia***

Three named to All NorthEast Region team

Lola Arslanbekova, Gwen Rucker and Caitlin Welch have been named to the AVCA's All NorthEast Region team.  This great honor makes the three eligible for to be named All American's, which would be a tremendous honor, indeed.

Lola was selected for the All NorthEast Region team all 4 years of her play at UofL, while this is the second year for Gwen Rucker to be selected.  This is the first selection for Caitlin Welch.

ACC Volleyball

Sandy started us off with a look at ACC Softball yesterday, so let's take a look at the competition in the ACC for Volleyball.  Overall I believe its a step up from Big East volleyball, but it is not a powerhouse conference.  No teams from the ACC have made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA volleyball tournament, so let's consider the final standings.

At the top of the conference standings is Florida State (28-4, 18-2), Miami (FL) (25-6, 17-3), and North Carolina (26-6, 16-4).  The middle of the pack is NC State (22-10, 12-8), Clemson (21-10, 12-8), Georgia Tech (19-12, 10-10), and Virginia Tech (16-4, 9-11).  The remaining teams (excluding Maryland who's place we're taking) are Duke (15-7, 6-14), Wake Forest (11-21, 5-15), Boston College (10-22, 4-16) and lastly Virginia (9-22, 3-17).

All-time against the teams (in their ACC standings order), UofL's record is: Florida State 5-9, Miami (FL) 2-0, North Carolina 3-4, NC State 1-0, Clemson 2-0, Georgia Tech 2-1, Virginia Tech 16-2, Duke 2-3, Wake Forest 4-0, Boston College 0-0, and Virginia 3-0.

The ACC got 4 teams into the NCAA tournament.  Florida State was the 9 seed, just above us and lost a 5 set match to Purdue (We feel your pain, FSU fans).  North Carolina lost in a 5 set match to 15 seed Iowa State.  Miami (FL) lost - what I feel can only be considered an upset - in a 5 set match to College of Charleston.  And NC State lost 3-1 to Texas A&M.

So, when you consider that Volleyball is, like so many of the programs at UofL, a rapidly improving program, I rather like where we stack up against these teams.  Several of the teams are well regarded in Volleyball overall.

Random Trivia

If I can remember this right, I believe there are five schools that compete in Division 1 athletics that do not have the word "University" in their official school name.  Two of them are ACC schools, Georgia Tech (officially, "The Georgia Institute of Technology"), and Boston College.  The other three are the service academies, Army, Navy, and Air Force.


We take a brief step away from Louisville women's sports here to weigh in on a matter that has many Louisville fans talking:

Charlie Strong.

And, there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that Tom Jurich has offered to change UofL's name to Charlie's College in order to entice the current UofL football head coach Charlie Strong into staying. The Louisville athletic program is getting more attention these days than Barack Obama would if he dressed in a nightgown and sang showtunes to Mitt Romney. Big East to ACC, Bowl bid to New Orleans and the Allstate Sugar Bowl, coaching rumors and drama.

What is important to remember here is that Louisville has many good and successful men and women's athletic programs on campus. Football may be an economic engine, but UofL was a powerhouse in basketball way before football caught fire. WE like the fact that Tom Jurich has already let the coaches know he wants plans and strategy ideas on how Louisville sports team can duplicate the success they've had in the BIG EAST in the ACC. That's forward thinking and we love it.  Louisville has the best athletic director in the nation and he proves it day after day.

As far as the continuing soap opera surrounding Charlie and job opportunities go, to us it's very simple. IF he wants to be here and be a part of it...stay. If not, he certainly wouldn't be the first high profile coach to leave. The program will survive. We remember when Tom Collen left the WBB program to go to Arkansas. We were shocked and surprised. Then, a young assistant at Maryland named Jeff Walz took the job. Turned out pretty well, don't you think?

The Louisville football program has a saying that has grown popular amongst the fans. "Get On The Train". It's time for Charlie to do that. Whether it's a local train or outbound...the speculation and drama concerning this football team, the athletic a time when Cardinal fans should be rejoicing the entry into the ACC and a major BCS bowl ridiculous.

Que sera, sera.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday Cardinal Couple -- VolleyCards fall to Michigan 3-1


-VolleyCards eliminated from NCAA Tournament by Michigan

Louisville's hopes of playing in the NCAA Volleyball Final Four in the KFC YUM! Center were dashed by the Michigan Wolverines Friday night...Louisville falling 15-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-27.

A tough way to go out for the Cards' four seniors Gwen Rucker, Lola Arslanbekova, Tanya Lukyanenko and Kaitlynn James. Michigan jumped on Louisville early and won the fourth game in comeback fashion...the Cards at set point 24-22 but unable to get the final point to force a fifth-game tiebreaker. The #9 Cards end the season 30-4.

Game one was a nightmare for Anne Kordes' team. A slow start plagued the VolleyCards...they hit for a meager .097 while the Wolverines went for a superlative .389 and had 18 kills, compared to UofL's 7. UM's junior Molly Toon did the most damage...pounding the Louisville defense for six and Lexi Erwin added four. The 17-4 run UM went on after the Cards came back from a 5-0 beginning by Michigan was impressive. We knew then that the Cards were in for a long night and that their outside hitters were the real deal and among the best Louisville had seen this year.

Louisville trailed for about 2/3rds. of the second game as well...until a Cardinal 8-1 run erased a 16-11 Michigan lead and put the Cards up 19-17. UM stayed close, tying it at 21-21 but a Michigan hitting error put Louisville ahead 23-21 and the Cards took two of the final three points for the win 25-22. Louisville hitting improved to .359 and recorded 17 kills to Michigan's 14. Lola had seven of them and the Cardinal defense held Michigan to .152 hitting. It was now 1-1 in games and the crowd was cautiously confident. Louisville had dropped the first game to Belmont Thursday night and came back to win the next three. Could the Cards repeat the same procedure?

After halftime, the Cards fell back into their slow-starting ways. Down 7-3, Kordes called a time out, but it didn't remedy much...the Wolverines increased the lead to 14-7. That went to 17-11 and the Cards needed some answers. They found them in Lola...her block started a 9-4 Cards run that had Louisville trailing by just one at 21-20 after a Rucker block. The Cards could not keep the momentum going, though...Michigan scored three of the next four points and was at set point at 24-21. A Toon kill, her 15th of the match, gave UM a 25-22 win and a 2-1 lead in games.

With their backs against the wall, the Cards kept it close early in the final game. Anne Kordes' squad used a 8-5 run to go from a 6-5 deficit to a 13-11 lead after a Lola kill. The Cards would not relinquish that lead...increasing it to 22-18 after a Lola kill. It looked like the Cards were going to force a fifth game.

Sadly, it did not happen. The Cards got to set point at 24-22 but couldn't seal the deal. Two Louisville sets to the middle resulted in two Michigan double blocks and two straight UM points that tied it up. The Wolverines went on to capture three of the next four volleys to take the game and the match with three impressive shots past the Cards' heralded libero Caitlin Welch. 

Disappointment and heartbreak, for sure...but still a great season for the Louisville Volleyball squad. The Cards will return next season, though...with plenty of talent and make their final season in the BIG EAST another legendary one.

Almost 3500 were in attendance for the game tonight, encouraging numbers for the program. We'll miss Lola, Tanya, Kaitlynn and Gwen...but the future looks bright with Caitlin Welch, Brooke Mattingly, Hannah Kvitle, Emily Juhl, Katie George (she's just a freshman!) and the rest of the returning a very highly regarded and ranked in-coming class for the 2013 season. We're sure the recruits and played coached by Kordes will reward us with many more victories!


"Hats off to Michigan, they played a phenomenal match especially in that fourth game when they came back and held their composure. This is what we wanted, was an opportunity to play. It was a hell of a volleyball match and you have to be able to have to be able to execute at a very high level and for a very consistent amount of time, to be able to advance in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan did that better than us. I thought it was a phenomenal match. It was great for unbelievable crowd. I can't thank our UofL fans more for what they brought tonight. You could tell they wanted it. I am just so proud of our team. I'm heartbroken for this loss because you want that win for your team so bad and they have worked so hard. But, I am so proud of this season, was a good night for volleyball."

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Cardinal Couple -- Cards defeat Belmont 3-1 in NCAA 1st round


-Lola, Rucker lead Cards past Bemont 3-1

-Cards headed to a BCS Bowl!

The University of Louisville Volleyball team defeated Belmont 21-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-21 to advance to the 2nd round in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament Thursday night in the KFC YUM! Center.

It didn't come easy for Anne Kordes' squad.

Cards prepare to play
Belmont came out ready to give the Cards a battle from the opening serve. Knotted early, the OVC champs took a 11-9 lead over the Cards on a Allison McCoy kill. Louisville battled back, though and took a 15-12 lead after a kill by Tanya Lukyanenko. The Cards extended that lead to 20-16 after a Lola kill and Belmont needed a timeout.

The strategy worked. With Scarlet Gable serving, Belmont ran off eight straight points and had the Cards at set point. Emily Juhl's kill kept the Cards alive for one volley, but Belmont got a kill from Jocelyn Youngdahl to take game one 25-21.

Kaitlynn James serving
Belmont remained on fire to start game two and led 5-1 early, thanks in part to three Louisville attack errors. The Cards came back to tie it at 5-5, though and the game was still close at 15-15 when Lola went to work.

Three straight Lola kills and it was 18-15. Belmont called a timeout. This time, the strategy didn't have as much success, the Cards extending that lead to 21-16 after another Lola kill. Kaitlynn James ended the set with a kill on a nice feed from Hannah Kvitle to take the second game 25-19 and tie the match at 1-1. Lola had eight kills in the second game.

Gwen Rucker serves
After the break, UofL and Belmont got engaged in another nail biter. Neither team could gain a clear advantage and the contest was even at 13-13 before four Belmont attack errors helped the Cards grab a 20-15 advantage. Three more Belmont miscues had the Cards at 23-17 and kills from Tanya and Lola ended it. Cards 25-18 and up 2-1 in games.

The rowdy Belmont students and the girl who saved my
life (deflecting a kill headed directly toward my head). 
Once again, the early stages of the next and final game were tooth and nail. Louisville took an 8-8 tie to a 15-10 lead after Gwen Rucker aced a serve. Although Belmont would climb back within three at 21-18, Gwen's kill put the Cards up by four, a Belmont attack error made it 23-18 Cards and Lola's kill had the Cards at match point 24-19. Belmont would not go quietly, though. Two straight Gable kills made it 24-21. A service error ended it, though and Louisville rejoiced with a 25-21 triumph.

Lola had 19 kills for the Cards and Gwen Rucker added 13 for the victorious Cards. Together they produced 32 of the 55 UofL kills for the match. Rucker added seven blocks and Caitlin Welch led a balanced Cardinal dig effort with 19.
The Cards hit .214 against the pesky Belmont squad.

Caitlin Welch, Gwen Rucker and Anne Kordes
address the media after the win.
2782 in attendance Thursday night in the KFC YUM! Center and Louisville advances to Friday night 2nd round action to face Michigan, who defeated Tennessee earlier in the day 3-2.

Coach Kordes was effusive in her praise for the scrappy Belmont squad in post games remarks and spoke about the tough match ahead against the tough BIG 10 squad. She was also philisophical about the Cards having to go to Berkeley, CA instead of West Lafayette, IN. if they get past the Wolverines tonight.

In Anne's hire, Tom Jurich has put another one deep over the fence and touched all the bases. She exudes confidence, gives great post-game summations and recaps, answers questions with detailed knowlege, and...oh, yeah...she's a darn good volleyball coach as well. 

Game time Friday night is 7:30. We think you should go.


An incredible, come-from-behind effort by Louisville Football Thursday night at Rutgers -- falling behind 14-3 to the Scarlet Knights but fighting back to win 20-17. John Wallace's field goal with 1:41 to go gave the Cards the BIG EAST title and the Cards will be heading to a BCS Bowl. The guess here is the Orange Bowl, with the Sugar Bowl a possibility.

Teddy Brigdewater, gutting it out with a broken wrist, bum knee and ankles. Hats off to you, sir! In the words of Rocky..."I didn't hear no bell, Tommy!".

We recommend Charlie Springer's excellent read on this donnybrook. The link for Charlie's site -- Card Game-- is below.

Louisville going Bowling!


Sunday, November 25, 2012


-Volleyball triumphs over Belmont -- awaits NCAA pairing and assignment.

-Women's Basketball 6-0 and facing a tough week ahead.

***************** SEEDING UPDATE*****************

As expected, the UofL volleyball team will play their first and second rounds games in the KFC YUM! Center on Thursday and Friday. First round opponent is Belmont University...who the Cards defeated last Friday. The other two teams that will play in the YUM! are Tennessee and Michigan. The winners will face off Friday night.

Louisville is in the Berkeley (CA) region, which means they'd travel there if they are successful in winning two on their home court. We'll have more on this tomorrow....including times, hopefully.


The University of Louisville Volleyball team disposed of OVC Tournament Champion Belmont Friday afternoon in Cardinal Arena and now awaits their fate in the NCAA Tournament. The Cards took the straight set sweep 26-24, 25-21, 25-14 to improve to 29-3 on the season and Gwen Rucker slammed home another impressive game with 15 kills. Lola Arslanbekova added 14. Seniors Tanya Lukyanenko and Kaitlynn James contributed to the victory as well...with eight and seven kills respectively.

It's now a matter of "wait and see" as the team awaits the NCAA Volleyball Selection Show, which will be aired on ESPNU Sunday @ 4:00 p.m. Anne Kordes and the squad will be throwing a selection watch party at Bearno's By The Bridge (near the KFC YUM! Center) at 3:30 p.m.

Lasagna with Lola. Rigatoni with Rucker. Meatballs with Mattingly. Sounds like a great time. We're huge Bearno's fans here at Cardinal Couple and recommend the Mama Bearno's pizza if you go...

It's no secret that the Cards have bid to host 1st. and 2nd. round matches at the KFC YUM! Center, beginning Thursday, November 29th. and ending Friday, November 30th. They're going to get that request, in our here's the skinny on tickets.

All-session for adults are $20. Seniors and youth get in for $10. Bring a chimp and get in free.(Not really, but wouldn't that be fun!). Single-session are $12 for adults, $7 for seniors and youth and $5 for college students. Get a group of 10 more for the single session and it's $5 each as well.

All-session tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Monday and can be purchased at the Louisville Athletic Ticket Office at (502) 852-5151, online at or in person at the Student Activities Center ticket office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Jeff Walz's WBB squad is 6-0 and preparing for a road trip to UT-Martin after winning three games in three days in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in the Hardwood For Hope Tournament. Three games for the Cards in a seven day stretch...they host EKU on Wednesday and arch-rival UK on Sunday.

We'll have more on UT-Martin in the Monday edition of CARDINAL COUPLE, but they're not an opponent to be taken lightly. Three starters back from a squad that went 23-9 last season and made the NCAA Tournament. This year, the Skyhawks are 1-4...but the losses have come against quality opponents like the defending national champs Baylor (82-67), Stanford --who beat Baylor last week -- (92-68), Big 10 Northwestern (79-69) and Hawaii (73-69).

You can guarantee that Skyhawk fans will pack SkyHawk Arena, on the UT-Martin campus for this one. A great early season test for Walz's squad in a hostile on-the-road environment awaits.



Here's how the numbers stack up so far for the Lady Cards this season.

Points per game - Shoni Schimmel 13.0
Rebounds per game - Sara Hammond 8.7
Steals - Bria Smith 11
Assists - Shoni Schimmel 20
Three-Point Shooting % - Nita Slaughter .421 (8-19)
Overall Shooting % - Sherrone Vails .650 (13-20)
Free Throws % - Nita Slaughter 1.000 (2-2)
Minutes played - Shoni 171 (28.5 per game)
High point total (game) - Sara Hammond 20 (vs. Texas A&M)

The Cards have out-scored their opponnents 442 (73.7 per game) to 303 (50.5 per game). They're also out-rebounding foes 245-193. They've forced a total of 132 turnovers. In two home games, Louisville is averaging 8660 per game. On the road and in neutral sites...uh, well....hmmm, we seem to have lost those figures.  

TV will be available for the Monday night matchup against UT-Martin on the OVC Network. We recommend you turn down the sound and listen to Matt Andrews and Adrienne Johnson's call on WKRD 790 AM, if possible. Depending on where the two are set can hear Jeff Walz join the broadcast (he doesn't even need a microphone!) with his instructions, teaching points and observations from the sidelines...along with his award-winning post game show with Matt.

OVC Network link below:

Louisville vs. UTM

Tipoff is 8:00 p.m. E.S.T.

Have a great Sunday, everybody and GO CARDS!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday Cardinal Couple -- Sandy catches up with Cardinal womens' sports


:::::::::::::::::::::::Game report::::::::::::::::::::::

#6 ranked Louisville women's basketball wins easily tonight in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico over Central Florida 94-73. Five Cards in double figures and Walz played the bench most of the final ten minutes of the second half after leading 55-33 at half. Louisville gets winner of Missouri State v. Gonzaga tomorrow night at 9:30 p.m.

BE check back for CARDINAL COUPLE columnist Jenny O'Bryan's report on the game in the Wednesday edition of CARDINAL COUPLE!!!


(Sandy Walker returns this week with her Tuesday recaps on Louisville Swimming and Diving, Volleyball, Basketball, Lacrosse and Soccer. Like Bria Smith picking up an opposing guard at the half court line...Sandy's got you covered!)

Re: You can listen through Cards TV (appears to be premium) for all three games (game tracker also available for the Tuesday USF game) which begin this evening at 7:00 against UCF.  Cards TV is now showing a 6:30 start time for tonight's USF game.


This week the women’s swim team moved up into the 16th spot from 21.  Details and an explanation of how individual scores are compiled to translate into team scores can be found at: 

Last week’s win over BIG EAST rival Notre Dame was fueled by their strength in the distance freestyle events.  Coach Arthur Albiero reported this as a great road win by a tough and intense team.

Last weekend they continued their success at the Purdue Invite where the women took 2nd place.  They next travel to Austin, TX for a November 29 to December 2 meet known as the USA Short Course Nationals.




Last week was National Signing Day where Louisville received 3 National Letters of Intent signatures from Star Breedlove, Emmonnie Henderson and Janelle Cannon.  The 2013 class is ranked as high as 16th. nationally.  Recruit fact: Starr Breedlove is a member of the 1000 point club.  This was accomplished while moving through 3 schools in two states.


Shoni Schimmel became U of L's 23rd 1,000-point scorer during the Austin Peay game. to Schimmel came into the game with 996 points and sank to free throws in the first half to join the list. Both she and senior Monique Reid have keys to this prestigious club. 


·         They women take their 3-0 record into the Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  The team took a bus to Indianapolis Sunday for a flight to Phoenix and Mexico later in the day.  It was reported that yesterday an intense beach volleyball match took place as a part of the combination team building holiday and work trip continues.  You can see a picture posted by Mary Beth Whitaker of the team at practice yesterday.  Go to:
·         Beginning today the ladies will play game 1 in a tough grind of  3 games scheduled in the next 3 days.   You can listen through Cards TV (appears to be premium) for all three games (game tracker also available for the Tuesday USF game) which begin this evening at 7:00 against UCF.  All broadcasts will also be on 790 WKRD AM in Louisville.  Editors' Note: WE recommend that you just drive over to Tom Jurich's house and listen to the broadcasts with him. (Bring snacks..)

      If the Cards win, the second match on Wednesday begins at  9:30 pm against the winner of the interesting battle between
      Gonzaga / Missouri State game with the 3rd game being played against the other 2-0 team from the contests. The official website for the event has the championship game starting at 9:30 EST when  Louisville advances to the title game. Louisville’s official site indicates a TBA start time.   Paul will provide the details later as they are available.


·         The women are on the road again next Monday at UT Martin with a 8:00 tip off.   Again audio is available on Cards TV and WKRD AM 790 radio.  The next home game is on Wednesday against Eastern Kentucky where they will begin a 3 game home stand which includes UK.


December 2 once again brings UK to the KFC YUM! CENTER and also a tip-off time change to 6:00 pm instead of the original 2:00 due to the decision of ESPNU to broadcast the game.  Get your ticket early and bring friends as the match against the 6th ranked feral Wildcats will show the state and nation the huge level of support enjoyed by our Card Nation women.  For tickets, contact the U of L ticket office at (502) 852-5151 or go online at



Those of us who have wanted the option to online manage, purchase, exchange or donate our athletic tickets up until 2 hours before a game now have it.  Go to:

and register your personal account where you can forward purchased tickets to a friend or client until two hours before the start of the game.  We all know of great seats which go empty because the ticket holder cannot attend but to date has had no easy way of allowing the ticket to be used.



The U of L VolleyCards are the 2012  Big East Conference and Tournament Champions.   Nothing is for yet for sure but we at Cardinal Couple are projecting that Louisville will be awarded the 1st and 2nd rounds of the NCAA tournament to go with the December 13 & 15 Semi-Final and Final NCAA Championship matches.  Great seats are still available at the ticket office for the final 4 rounds. Open dates at the YUM! Center are November 29 and 30th which would lead us to believe that opening NCAA championship rounds could be scheduled for those dates.  We will know no later than this Sunday, the 25th, where there will be a live ESPNU broadcast of the tournament selection.  We would assume that tickets will be available next Monday the 26th.   Check Cardinal Couple or the ticket office for updates. 


On Friday the 28-3 Volleycards will play the OVC Champion Belmont at Cardinal Arena.  As you know seating and standing room is limited so get your tickets early.  If you get shut out for a ticket, live video of the 5:00 pm match is reported to be available on Cards TV.


Senior Lola Arslanbekova became the first volleyball player to be named Big East Player of the Year in consecutive seasons since 1996-97 and she is the first four-time All-Big East first-team since the 2006-2009 seasons.  Lola also is the only active NCAA Division I player with 2,000 kills and 1,000 digs. 
Senior Gwen Rucker was named as Big East Tournament MVP and made the first team all tournament team while Brooke Mattingly and Caitlin Welch made the second team. U of L’s Coach Anne Kordes shared Coach of the Year honors.
Additional BIG EAST Tournament information is available at :

Monday’s NCAA Poll finds the U of L Volleycards ranked as 9th
in the nation with a RPI rank of 4th.  Go CARDS!


The Lacrosse & Soccer team members joined together to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.  by volunteering at the St. Jude’s children’s walk Saturday at the Louisville Zoo.  Pictures of them in the kids zone can be seen at: .

(EDITORS' NOTE: Sonja and I are BIG believers of the life-changing work done at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Thanks to the sponsorships of individuals, companies and child at St. Jude is ever turned away because of a family's inability to pay. When St. Jude was founded in 1962, survival rates for children with catastrophic cancers and diseases was 20%. It's now 80%. St. Jude's motto is: Finding Cures. Saving Children. Two very important things....).

Who will speak for the innocent children who cannot speak for themselves? You can, with a donation or by coordinating a fund-raising event for St. Jude.

You can read more about the St. Jude story at:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday CARDINAL COUPLE -- Volleyball... the Big East Champs...Again...This Season


( The VolleyCards have captured the BIG EAST Tournament title in convincing fashion...not giving up a single game against three opponents during their march through the brackets. CARDINAL COUPLE columnist Jeff McAdams breaks it down for us. )

UofL Volleyball got the job done in a solid fashion.  In Milwaukee WI for the Big East Championship Tournament, Louisville swept through the competition, though Marquette mounted a challenge.

Big East Dominance

Louisville has been dominant in the Big East since joining the conference, winning either the regular season title or a conference tournament just about every year, though this is the first time the Cards have managed to bring home both trophies in the same year.

Much of the run through the conference, and all of the tournament run was sweeps of their opponents.  The Cards haven't dropped a set in 8 matches now, going back to the first matchup against Marquette when they took a set off of us in Milwaukee, through Marquette visiting Louisville, and through all three tournament matches.

Championship Match

The coverage on ESPNU focused heavily on Lola Arslanbeckova and Gwen Rucker...which is certainly understandable in their effort to make it good for TV...but the Cards weapons just don't stop there, and that's a big part of the UofL success.  Marquette tried to shut down Lola by putting double blocks on her as many teams have, but all that does is leave Gwen and Brooke Mattingly open in the middle, along with Emily Juhl and Tanya Lukyanenko on the opposite side.  You could see this in action during the match a number of times, when Lola struggled to get through the double blocks, you started to see sets going to some of the other offensive weapons.

Gwen had another absolutely fantastic match.  She hit "only" .400 vs Marquette...compared to her hitting percentage for the whole tournament where she was hitting in the .800 range, that is a pretty big drop, but still ridiculously strong.  Add to that, 5 blocks, and you have a player that gets awarded the tournament MVP honors.

I made the oversight of not mentioning Caitlin Welch in yesterday's article.  I won't make that mistake twice. Welch tallied 21 impressive total in a 3 set match...keeping the team in the action and with great passing allowing Katie George and Hannah Kvitle to have all of the offensive options available to them on the sets.  The primary goal of digging and passing is to get the ball up in the air to let the play progress, but ideally you want the pass to go just to the right side of the center of the net where the setter should be waiting.  The more the setter has to run to get the pass, the fewer options they have to set up the hitters, and particularly middle hitters like Gwen and Brooke.  The good passing from Caitlin and others let Katie and Hannah distribute the sets out to multiple offensive options, keeping the Marquette team guessing.

Credit to Marquette, they played well, especially in the 3rd set, forcing the extra point for the win.  The ESPNU crew described them as a scrappy team, and I can't think of a better term.  Great defense and digging kept many volleys alive that most everyone thought was a Cards point, and several ended up being points for Marquette.  Playing scrappy, though, is a far cry from running a strong offense to reliably score points.  About the best you can hope for is to be able to keep the ball in play and wait for the other team to make a mistake.  Honestly, that probably works pretty well when playing most of the Big East, but as the competition gets stronger in the post-season, that style of play just doesn't hold up as well.

Next up

Belmont won the OVC tournament, upsetting Morehead State in the finals, so they will be our opponents on Friday November 23 at Cardinal Arena.  The NCAA tournament selection show is Sunday, November 25th at 4pm and will be televised on ESPNU.  As has been covered already, expect Louisville to be a first and second round host.  Looking at the schedule for the KFC Yum! Center, those matches would almost certainly be in the November 29th and 30th slots as there are basketball games scheduled for December 1st and 2nd.  Presumably tickets will be able to be purchased through the UofL Ticket Office.

Late Breaking News...around the league

#1 Stanford lost to #8 Southern California
but that's unlikely to affect our ranking, though it does mean that Penn State should take over the #1 ranking again.

#4 Oregan lost to #6 Washington in an epic battle that I mentioned the other day, but again, probably won't affect our ranking.

However, #9 Nebraska, one spot in front of us, lost to #14 Minnesota.  Minnesota dropped two matches last week to allow us to move up into the top 10, and now we'll probably reap the benefits of Minnesota's victory over Nebraska.

I would expect a #9 ranking for the Cards when the new poll is released later today.

In the RPI last week, we got a 2 spot bump from #7 to #5, largely on the strength of our win over Marquette at the KFC Yum! Center.  Will another win over them on their home floor help bump us another spot?  It's possible, but much harder to predict in my experience.



Tournament MVP Gwen Rucker recorded 10 kills, six digs and five blocks on Sunday and Lola Arslanbekova, named to the All-Tournament team, led the way with 13 kills and 11 digs for her 20th double-double of the season.

The Cards used a 10-1 run to break open a close first game...benefitted by three Rucker kills. They also held Marquette to .050 hitting in the contest. Leading 17-10, they withstood a brief Golden Eagles rally which cut the lead to 20-17. Louisville won five of the final seven points, though, to take a 25-19 first game.

The Golden Eagles started strong in Game 2 and jumped out to a 6-2 lead. Down 9-5, the Cards relied on Arslanbekova and Tanya Lukyanenko to rally them and went on a 11-3 spree to hold a 16-12 advantage. Marquette answered with a 4-0 run to tie the contest. After that, it was Louisville's turn with a 4-0 run. After the Golden Eagles pulled within one at 24-23, Brooke Mattingly produced her sixth kill of the contest and the VolleyCards held a 2-0 advantage going to the half-time break.

It looked like Louisville had demoralized the M.U. squad and roared out to an early 8-4 lead in the third game. The Golden Eagles rallied, however, and went on a 5-1 run to tie the contest at 9-9. Back and forth it went from there...neither team gaining a clear advantage. Marquette held a 18-16 lead...but Emily Juhl's three kills and a Mattingly block helped the Cards knot it at 20-20. The Cards were at match-point at 24-21...but Marquette held off the final match point temporarily and tied it back up at 24-24. Lola put the Cards at match point again with a kill to make it 25-24 Cards.

At 25-24, Marquette's Holly Mertens hit a kill attempt out of bounds and Louisville was the BIG EAST TOURNAMENT champs. 

Caitlin Welch sparked the Cards with 21 digs and was also selected to the tournament team. 

One more chance to see the Lady Cards before NCAA Tournament play begins. They'll play OVC champ Belmont in Cardinal Arena at 5 p.m. Friday. Louisville seniors Rucker, Arslanbekova, Lukyanenko and Kaitlynn James will be honored before the contest.



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Volleyball rolling through the Big East



***********SPECIAL REPORT**************


The Cards are the 2012 BIG EAST Volleyball Tournament Champions with a straight set defeat of Marquette 25-19, 25-23, 26-24. Both Lola Arlansbekova and Gwen Rucker with double-digits kills in the win! The NCAA Selection Show is next Sunday at 4 p.m. on ESPNU . We'll have a full recap of the action later here at CARDINAL COUPLE.

CONGRATULATIONS to the 2012 BIG EAST Regular Season and Tournament champs....your UofL VOLLEYBALL TEAM!


( Jeff McAdams gives us the who,what,where,how and why of Cardinal Volleyball as they roll through the BIG EAST Tournament)


Big East Tournament recap

The Louisville Volleyball team has shown no signs of weakness to speak of in the Big East tournament so far.  With sweeps of first St. Johns and now Cincinnati in dominant performances, they have advanced to the Big East title match to be played Sunday at the Al McGuire center in Milwaukee, WI.

Cincinnati defeated UConn in the 4 seed vs 5 seed match to meet up with the Cards in the semifinals.

The Cards will now match up against Marquette University who handled the USF Bulls in the other semifinal match to make also make it the Big East Championship.  South Florida provided the only upset of the tournament so far as they overcame Notre Dame in their quarter-final matchup.  Marquette beat 7th seeded Pitt in their opening match.

So, the stage is set for UofL to achieve the double Big East championship...both regular season and tournament...all they have to do is beat Marquette.  They've done so twice in the past, but...of course, there's always that age-old wisdom that its hard to be a reasonably competitive team 3 times in a season.

The match will be televised on ESPNU at 2pm EST.


The match against St. Johns was never really in any doubt.  When the score hit 7-1 in the first set, and UofL already had 4 blocks, I figured it wasn't going to be too much of a match.  Paul already mentioned Gwen Rucker's hitting percentage in his recap yesterday, but she also had an amazing 9 blocks...almost a double-double with blocks.  That's kind of like getting a double-double in basketball with one of the stats being steals.  It happens occasionally, but its pretty rare, and if you see it happen, you've usually watched a really amazing match...or really amazingly awful match if you're cheering for the other team.

On the other side of the semi-final bracket...played before the UofL match...Cincinnati and UConn engaged in a great struggle, taking the match to 5 sets before Cincinnati was able to pull out the win over the Huskies. It's always great to have your opponent go to 5 sets in the match before they play you as the compressed tournament format of a match played every day, leaves little recovery time from a long, hard-fought match like that.


One of the classic matchups of teams in the Big East Tournament is UofL vs Cincinnati.  These two teams are usually among the class of the conference, and frequently meet in the Final match.  Cincinnati has been off their game this season, however and only came up with the 4 seed, putting them on the same side of the bracket with us.

Again, the match wasn't terribly competitive, with the first two sets coming in at 25-16.  Gwen Rucker continued her impressive play, hitting .765 (15 of 17, with 2 errors) with good contributions from others.  This UofL team just has so many weapons, it can be any player that steps up to have a good match, and sometimes several do.

Cincinnati started to pull it together a bit towards the end, making a real competition of the last set, forcing the Cards to come from behind to take the set and match at 25-23.


So its down to Marquette and UofL.  This will, of course, be the third matchup of these teams this season, with UofL coming out victorious in both previous meetings.

Marquette is a team to be reckoned with an RPI ranking of 33.  While UofL has demonstrated that they are the better team in general, you still have to play the game to see who comes out victorious on this particular day.

Around the NCAA

An epic battle occurred this week between Oregon and Washington.  #6 Washington won a slight upset over #4 Oregon, with a fifth set score of 25-23!  The normal 5th set winning score is 15.  It doesn't really have much implications for rankings, but I would've loved to have seen that match.

We'll likely have a change in the #1 position this week as #1 Stanford lost to #8 Southern Cal.

Otherwise no upsets yet that would give Louisville the opportunity to move up another spot in the coaches poll.  There's still another day of play in this week, though, so its still possible.

At this point, I don't know all of the details of the math behind the RPI, but it seems very unlikely that we could drop enough with the remaining two matches to not host 1st and 2nd rounds.  Losing to Marquette wouldn't hurt us much in the RPI, but losing to Belmont...who upset Morehead State to claim the OVC's automatic NCAA bid, as well as the opportunity to play Louisville next weekend at Cardinal Arena...would hurt, I don't think it would do so enough to drop us out of hosting range.

It does torpedo my idea of having a sub-regional of all Kentucky teams at the KFC Yum! Center for the first and second rounds, though.  I was kind of hoping for first round matches to be Louisville vs Morehead, and Western Kentucky vs Kentucky.  With Morehead not getting the bid, its quite possible that Belmont will get sent to Knoxville and the land of orange, and another team would get brought in to Louisville, likely from further Purdue.  The selection committee can do just about anything, of course, but Louisville vs WKU, and Purdue vs Kentucky, for first round matchups could be what happens.  I suppose it would be better to play Purdue on our home turf in the sub-regionals, than to advance and play them on their home turf in the regionals, though.

All this ultimately just amounts to speculation, of course, and we'll just have to wait and see what transpires...there could be other shakeups, yet.

( Best of luck to the they look for the BIG EAST Tournament title today against the Golden Eagles in Milwaukee! As mentioned, the Cards are on ESPNU at 2:00 )

Finally, today we leave you with the "Three Stooges Moment" in college football this year video. Watch at the 45 second mark, as Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville pulls a "Moe" on an unsuspecting assistant coach following a botched attempted play. Anger management issues? Yeah, you betcha...


Friday, November 9, 2012

Cards defeat Texas A&M 47-45 in WBB


-Jude Schimmel's layup the difference maker in defensive battle

-Volleyball straight set win over Marquette

Sara Hammond celebrates Cardinal win
It is only fitting that a defensive play was the difference Friday night in a defensive struggle between #9 Louisville and #12 Texas A&M in women's college basketball in the KFC YUM! Center.

Jude Schimmel's steal of Courtney Walker's inbounds pass and subsequent layup gave the Cards a 47-45 lead with 24 seconds and UofL took the contest after leading most of the way but surrendering the advantage with four minutes to go.

Enough can't be said about the effort from Sara Hammond tonight...with 20 points and 13 rebounds...for Louisville, who saw an early 14 point second half lead vanish to the aggressive Aggies.

The Cards jumped out to a 12-7 lead in the first half after a Shoni Schimmel three with 12:53 left in the first half and back-to-back baskets by Monique Reid gave Louisville a 27-13 advantage with 5:50 remaining in the first half. The Cards would take a 31-21 lead into the locker room at halftime...Hammond with 15 points and eight of only four Cards to score in the first twenty minutes. 

Louisville began the second half on a 6-2 run and looked to be in control of the contest...and led 37-23 after a Bria Smith basket at the 15:30 mark. A&M rallied but the Cards still led 41-33 after a Reid score halfway through the second half. The inside duo of Kelsey Bone and Karla Gilbert went to war against the Cards in the paint and a Bone score had it narrowed down to 41-37 with 7:05 to go.

Alexia Standish nailed a three a minute later to cut the Louisville lead to one...necessitating a Jeff Walz timeout. A&M extended the run to 11-0, though, and led the Cards 44-41 after a Gilbert inside score with 4:07 remaining. It would be the last Aggie basket of the game. The Cards rallying to tie it 45-45 after a Bria Smith free throw with 2:10 remaining. 

That set the stage for Jude's heroics...Louisville missing out on an opportunity to increase the lead to four with 8.8 seconds left when Hammond missed two from the free throw line.

A desperation heave at the buzzer from Standish at the buzzer missed the mark for A&M and Louisville prevailed in a hard-fought battle. 

Hammond led all scorers with 20 points and Reid finished with 10 for Louisville. Shoni Schimmel ended up with eight points, sister Jude with four, Bria Smith with three and Shawnta Dyer added two. 

A&M outrebounded the Cards 44-33...Bone grabbing 12 and Gilbert 11 and the Aggies shot  for the game while Louisville was 21-53 for 39.6%.

Coach Gary Blair was philisophical about the loss in the post game presser, pointing out that a freshman error in front of almost 11,000 fans was basically the deciding factor in a game that could have gone either way. Gotta love the affable Blair and his passion for the game. He even debated the inclusion of UofL in the SEC with me in the presser. Not gonna happen, Gary...but thanks for your "take" on it.

Shoni Schimmel noted that she knew her sister had the deciding layup "all the way, even though it was a right-handed layup...Jude likes them better from the left side."

The Cards return to action Sunday at noon against Portland in the KFC YUM! Center. 


-- The "Hammer". It may be a new nickname for Sara Hammond, who stepped up huge in a big-time game. 9-18 from the field, 8 defensive rebounds and three steals. Also, going the final four minutes with four fouls and not fouling out.

-- Meet "the other Schimmel". Jude continues to impress with her confidence and play-making abilities. The Cards had only eight assists in the game, the Schimmel sisters with six of them. And, what we'll refer to from now on as "The Steal" by Jude. Top notch game!

-- Fighting back. After the 11-0 A&M run in the second half, the Cards of last year might have folded up the tent and packed it in. Not this bunch. They left it all on the court in the final four minutes and won. Speaks volumes about this squad's heart.

-- Capitalizing. Louisville scored 18 points off 24 Aggie turnovers. The Cards also stayed close in the 2nd Chance category, scoring 16 points to A&M 18. 

-- Auto "Mo" tic. Monique Reid. Enters the game with 8:46 left in the first half. Scores six points in the next four minutes.'s what she does.'s what she is. We can dig it...


--Free throws. Louisville a sub-par 3-9 from the line. Crucial misses late by Smith and Hammond. Gotta convert on the unguarded free ones.

--Three-point shooting. Shoni Schimmel went 2-6. The rest of the team 0-6. 0-5 in the second half. We're not sure if Sara Hammond is trying to become a threat from outside, but her 0-3 performance from behind the line had us scratching our heads.

--Offensive rebounding. A&M 19-Louisville 10. Sure, the Aggies had a decided height advantage when Gilbert and Bone were in the game together...but the Cards managed just 4 offensive rebounds in the final 20 minutes. That must get better...

--Interior defense. Once again, the combo of Gilbert and Bone proved hard to stop with the height edge...but they were 8-14. Add starting forward Kristi Bellock's 3-5 shooting and the front line goes well over 50% against the Cards "bigs". 

--Finishing the deal. Louisville led 37-23 with 15:34 to go. They had the Aggies on the run. Ten minutes later, the game is tied at 41-41 and Walz needs a timeout. Killer instinct. It's the mark on a championship team. Louisville needs to find it.


A gritty, hard-fought win by the Cards against a top 15 opponent can't draw too much criticism. We love the way sophomores Hammond and Jude Schimmel stepped up tonight. Even a bit of swagger at the end of the game.

They won't face many tougher opponents the rest of the year than the Aggies they ran into Friday night...and they got the "W". This team is going to be fun to watch and if they can develop another three-point bomber beside Shoni...(would Ms. Deines and Slaughter report to the three-point arc please?) they could be a very dangerous team to play. Well done, Cards!

Walz's remarks in the post-game presser (at least some of them) at the link below:

Walz postgame


Louisville Volleyball also won Friday in straight sets against Marquette in Cardinal Arena. Lola with 15 kills in the 25-22, 25-16, 25-18 sweep of the Golden Eagles.

The Cards jumped out to a first game 10-2 run that gave them an 11-5 lead and held on to win, despite Marquette getting within one at 22-21. Gwen Rucker with the game-winning kill at 24-21.

Louisville led early in the second game and pushed that advantage to 15-9, sparking a Marquette timeout. The strategy backfired...the Cards getting the next six points and winning by nine.

Louisville had the Golden Eagles where they wanted them in the final game...leading 18-11 and holding on for the seven point victory.

With the win, the Cards and Notre Dame are now tied for the conference lead at 13-1. Marquette falls to 12-2. The Golden Eagles can help Louisville get the regular season title by defeating Notre Dame on Sunday in Milwaukee. Louisville closes out the regular season in Cardinal Arena against Cincinnati.