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Monday, April 15, 2024

Cards Drop Extra Inning Thriller to Georgia Tech 5-3 -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Louisville Softball fought the good fight in the series finale at Georgia Tech Sunday and went to extra innngs with some dramatics, but tt was the Atlanta squad who got the last blast -- Mallorie Black's  two out, two run home run to deep center in the ninth gave the Tech squad the game winner and the series winner. 

A 5-3 win  for the homestanding squad in a game that was in their favor after six innings...GT was holdng a 3-1 lead over Louisville, but Louisville bombs got them back in it,,,  Vanessa Miller's homer in the sixth got Louisville within one at 3-2 going into the seventh. Riley Frizell sent a boomer that tied it in the seventh, Frizell's tying shot came with two outs in the inning...the Cards very last chance to force any extra play.


GT came right back and nearly won it in the bottom of the seventh when Jin Sileo sent a fly ball to deep left center that bounced off the top of the wall and back into the field to give her a triple, Three more inches would have put the ball out of the stadium and ended the contest, but a lengthy review showed it was just short..  Alyssa Zabala regrouped and got the final two outs of the inning without Sileo scoring, though, to force extra innings continuation.

After an uneverntful eighth for both squads, the Cards had their chance to win the contest in the top of the ninth when Kiley Goff started the inning by getting hit by a pitch. She took second on a ground out and went to third on a GT error, but a fly out ended the top of the ninth with no runs crossing the plate for the Cards. Black's.boomer, a massive, toweing shot to center that left no doubt about whether it was it going to leave or not to end the affair in GT's favor

It was a fun Sunday thriller on the ACCNX and the Cards had their chances to leave Atlanta with the "W" but sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way....or stop at the the case of Black's blast off Zabala that ended it

Louisville (24-18, 5-10) drops the series two games to one to Georgia Tech and returns back home to Ulmer to try non-conference fare...entertaining EKU on Tuesday. 


Sunday, April 14, 2024

Back on the Winning Side - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Softball Evens the Series

After a rough Friday, with both Softball and Lacrosse coming out on the wrong side of the scoresheet, we have a couple of wins to celebrate today.

First, Softball answered the Yellow Jackets with a win yesterday, 4-1.  Alyssa Zabala, who certainly didn't have the game of her life on Friday, was back in the circle yesterday and went the distance, holding Georgia Tech to four hits, and only issuing three walks while striking out five.  A solid performance, for sure.

The Cards did take some time to get their offense in gear, however.  Georgia Tech struck first with a run in the 3rd, and UofL wouldn't answer until the 6th, ensuring all Cards fans were at their most stressed before coming back for the win.

I should, to be honest, phrase that as "Riley Frizell answered" as the first score was a Frizell rip over the center field fence to lead off the 6th.  That wouldn't be the only home run of the inning, however.  First, though, Bailee Richardson drew a walk, chasing the GT pitcher, before Vanessa Miller took her 3rd pitch over the left field fence.  Georgia Tech was unable to answer in the bottom half of the frame.

The Cards would add some extra insurance in the top of the 7th.  Pickle Winkler drew a walk to start off the inning, but was called out for leaving the base early on a Daisy Hess single.  Of course Hess stole 2nd, because it's Daisy Hess.  Richardson then sent a double out to center field, and that's all Hess needed to finish the circuit, bringing the Cards to the 4-1 final score.

Louisville will finish out the series against Georgia Tech with a noon start at Mewborn Field in Atlanta.  Today is their "Bark in the Park" promotion, where fans are encouraged to bring their dogs out to the park, so if you're a dog lover like me, there's extra incentive to watch the stream on ACC Network Extra.  If good softball wasn't enough of a draw, hopefully getting to see some good doggos will help.


Volleyball wrapped up their spring season last night with a five set win over Tennessee.  There was no stream presented, and no stats kept, so we're going all vibes here today.

Tennessee came out of the locker room looking strong, winning the first two sets.  Interestingly, Coach DBK decided to play a 6-2 offensive gameplan for those two sets.  This means that the setter on the court is always in the back row, subbing in and out in place of right side hitters, which also keeps a right side hitter on the front row the whole time, increasing offensive options.

Wait, who's our second right side hitter, you may ask if your familiar with Louisville Volleyball's roster.  Allana Bankston was pressed into service there.  Bankston has a demonstrated history of playing just about any position, left, right, and middle, in addition to being a competent defensive player.  She's kind of the go anywhere, do anything player on the squad.  Louisville does have a transfer from Arizona State, Sofia Maldonado Diaz that is expected to be primarily a right side attacker, so this may have been some prep for a potential 6-2 in season.  At least as an option.

Again, there was a lot of switching between Nayelis Cabello and Elle Glock in the setter role.  This is definitely an open position battle for the fall.  I still tend to lean towards Cabello getting the starting role in the fall, she seems about a half step quicker than Glock, has a pretty impressive serve, and is clearly a better blocker than Glock.

Credit to Tennessee, they put some good blocks occasionally, but were particularly good digging, extending a number of rallies that would've been Cards points against many other teams.  Also credit the Lady Vols for being willing the play the tie breaking 5th set, which a certain other SEC team wasn't willing to do against us.

Charitie Luper was back to full front row attack mode, and was wearing her knee brace again to do so.  Anna DeBeer is definitely done with hers and you can see the improvement in her mobility by not being constrained by it.

Hannah Sherman had some great rotations in the middle hitter/block position, including a couple of epic solo blocks, but I suspect the MB positions will still be lead by Phekran "PK" Kong, and Cara Cresse.

Elena Scott continues to do Elena Scott things.  As fellow writer here at Cardinal Couple, Jared Anderson, put it on twitter, "I got into every match thinking [Elena Scott] can't do anything to top watch[sic] she did the previous match and every time she pulls the 'watch me' card."  To which I responded, "And it's always like a double flipping half twist over a table single armed dig with her hair on fire.  And it's an absolute dime to the setter."  It truly is hard to comment on Scott, other than maybe to say, if you want to know what the Libero position is supposed to do, here's the prime example.

The Cards Volleyball fall schedule should be announced soon, and of course, we'll break that down for you when it comes out.  After that, should be the tradition Red & Black scrimmage sometime mid August.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Case, Jared, Paulie, and I made the call...well, I was a little late.  This one was an adventure from the get go with some vaguely Not Safe For Work innuendo and joking around at the beginning.  But ultimately we did quit procrastinating and get to discussing the tough Friday news for Cards athletics.


Saturday, April 13, 2024

Cards Experience Tough Road Friday -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Softball Shut Out in Series Opener 

Louisville softball headed to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech this weekend and got off to a rocky start. While the Yellow Jackets are decently ahead of the Cards in the ACC standings, their overall records are very similar. On paper, it should be a relatively even series. GT didn't care much about paper yesterday, as they stung early and often against the Cards en route to an 8-0 five-inning run rule. All eight runs for GT came in the first three innings, with seven coming in the second and third. 

Alyssa Zabala started in the circle for Louisville, and it was not her day. Zabala walked the first two batters, induced a pop-up, then plunked the clean-up hitter to load the bases. A pair of ground outs ended the inning but a run came home to score. Another walk started the second and a sac bunt moved the runner into scoring position. Back-to-back singles scored a run and then a home run scored three more. A fourth (sixth, in a way) straight hit earned Zabala the hook and Brooke Gray came on to pitch. Gray hit the first batter she faced, but picked up another two outs to get out of the side. 

Louisville got their first runner on base in the third with a Maddi Grant double to open the inning, but two runners were left on base after Daisy Hess took a 2-out walk and Riley Frizell struck out. Gray returned to the circle and got GT's first batter of the inning out for the first time in the game. Unfortunately, a pair of singles were followed by the Yellow Jackets' second three-run homer of the game to set the score at 8-0. Two more quick outs ended the inning but the rout was on. 

Louisville's fourth saw them put two in scoring position via walk, HBP, and fielder's choice, but a flyout had split the runners and the Cards couldn't initiate a two-out rally. After Gray got out of the fourth with just one single, Louisville was down to their final three outs, needing at least one run to extend the game. Katie Thatcher came on to pinch hit for Chelsea Mack and was walked on four pitches. A sac bunt (down 8-0, really?) moved Mack (who took the base back from Thatcher) to second, but Louisville couldn't bring her around to score. 

There isn't much else to say about this one. Cards need to rip off the rearview and face today's game with a clean slate. They'll be back in action today at 2PM before wrapping up the series tomorrow at noon. Both games will be available on ACC Network Extra. 

Lacrosse Falls in Tight Road Finale

Scott Teeter's squad was in Durham yesterday for their final regular season road match of the year. The Cards took on Duke and held a slim 7-6 lead heading into halftime. Louisville was unable to hold onto that lead, unfortunately, as a three goal deficit in the third quarter gave Duke the gap they needed. The Cards tied the Blue Devils 10-all in quarters 1, 2, and 4, but lost the third 4-1, setting the final margin at 14-11. 

Kokoro Nakazawa was the leader for the Cards, tallying five of their 11 goals. She scored the first two goals of the game before Nicole Perroni gave Louisville a 3-0 lead with eight minutes remaining in the first quarter. Coincidentally, Louisville's goal scoring in the game was nearly palindromic. Maggie McMahon scored the fourth goal for the Cards, and their final four goals went McMahon, Perroni, and Kokoro x2. The three central goals were scored by Izzy Seikel, Kokoro, and Negai Nakazawa. 

Maddie McCorkle matched Kokoro with five goals for Duke. The Cards were on the back food the whole game, and Sara Addeche did well to keep the game as close as it was. Duke outshot Louisville 39-26 and won the shots on goal battle 25-17. I'll save you the math: Addeche finished with 11 saves. Part of the Cards' woes was the fact that they were dominated on draw controls. Duke led that category 21-8 and took all eight DCs in the second quarter. Louisville won 5/7 in the first quarter before winning just three for the remainder of the game. If you are on defense immediately, you're going to be under pressure a lot. 

Duke was ranked #25 in the country coming into the game, so a road matchup was always going to be tough. The win moves them to 10-6 (4-4) while Louisville is now 7-9 (2-6). All 10 teams make the ACC tournament, and Louisville is currently the nine seed. The Cards hold the tiebreaker over Clemson, but lost to VT, so would need the Hokies to lose their last two games to jump them. The best the Cards can do is get to 7th with a victory over Notre Dame in the season finale. That last game will be Thursday at 12pm in Louisville Lacrosse Stadium. 

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

We'll have four on board for this week's show, with Daryl occupied by her obligations with the Louisville Bats. We'll still have an exciting show lined up, with joy and excitement to cover despite the losses. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
Spotify: Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
RadioPublic: Link

Until next time, Go Cards!


Friday, April 12, 2024

Lax and Softball in Action -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Happy Friday, folks! Jared checking in here after Daryl and I switched days. The plan was for myself to be at softball against Kentucky Wednesday evening but Mother Nature decided to spare the Cats from the storm that the Cards would bring. Instead, we look ahead to today and this weekend.

Lacrosse Visits Duke

Coming off a blowout victory at home over Ohio State, Louisville Lacrosse hits the road for the final time in the regular season. The Cards travel to #25 Duke. First draw is set for 3:00pm and will be aired on ACCNX.

Duke is 9-6 on the season and most recently lost to top-10 Notre Dame by 12. Prior to that, the Blue Devils had won three straight including a top-10 win against Virginia.

In the ACC standings, Duke sits sixth (out of 10 teams) at 3-4 while the Cards sit ninth at 2-5.

The Blue Devils average 13.1 goals per game while allowing 12.5 goals per game. Louisville's offense has shown some moments it can really take over a game, including scoring 22 goals earlier in the week. Defense has been the hit-or-miss factor for the Cards. A solid defensive outing plus "a standard day at the office" for the offense could put Scott Teeter's squad in good position to win and get to .500.

Softball Takes on Georgia Tech in Three-Game Series

Looking to get back into action after several days off due to weather, Louisville softball makes a trip to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech. The first game of the series will take place at 6:00pm tonight and will be aired on ACCNX.

The Yellow Jackets are 26-16 on the season have won two straight and went 3-2 in their out-of-conference weekend last week. Georgia Tech is sixth in the ACC (out of 13 teams) with a 9-6 mark in conference play. The Cards are 10th with a 4-8 record in the ACC. To be fair, GT hasn't played a team in the top five of the ACC while Louisville has already faced the top three.

Georgia Tech bats .329 as a team. 12 different players hit .300 or better. They have tallied 371 total hits with 74 being home runs. Seven GT pitchers have combined for a 4.50 ERA and a .261 batting average against. 

Louisville is in need of some wins to stay in the top 10 of the ACC to make the conference tournament and desperately need wins if they want to make the NCAA Tournament.

Happy Friday and Go Cards!

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Battle of the Bluegrass Cancelled -- WBB Notes -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

 Hello everyone,  

Daryl checking in a little early this week as Jared planned on heading over to Ulmer Wednesday and I was going to take the recap of the Kentucky vs. Louisville softball game., However, the weather forecast had some different plans as the precipitation did not let up at all on Wednesday so the squads called off the contest pretty early in the day with no plans of rescheduling.   

They offered refunds to anyone who purchased a ticket, this being one of the pay for a  ticket events for Softball. 

The Cardinals will head down to Atlanta GA for a series with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Friday at 6pm, Saturday at 2pm and Sunday at noon all available on the ACC Network Extra. 

WBB announcements

We knew Olivia Cochran was coming back to play a fifth year when she didn't participate in the 2024 Senior activities and she told a fan in the comment section on FB she was returning. 

Coach Walz sent out a message on X looking ahead to her final season in a Cardinal uniform.   Asst. coach Lamont Russell also posted a snap shot video on IG in recent days of his attempt at guarding Big O in the post and lets just say there was alot of cheers by the players who watched Olivia spin free from the defense.   

I am so very much looking forward to senior season Olivia.  She has been one of my favorite Cardinals to cover over the years.   Take us to the ship, Big O!!!!!!

We know it takes more than a single player to win a title and I was happy to see Merissah Russell post that she is looking forward to another year in Louisville. 

Other basketball news is the decision by Stanford women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer announced her retirement Tuesday, ending the winningest coaching career in college basketball history after 45 years.  The HOF coach led Stanford to three national championships in her 38 seasons at the helm of the Cardinal and was named the national coach of the year five times during her tenure.

We at Cardinal Couple have been fans of Tara for years and wish her a happy and healthy retirement!  Go enjoy it, Coach! 

Lets finish out the week strong!

As Always, 
Go Cards 


Wednesday, April 10, 2024




Louisville Lacrosse used a 14-2 second half surge to down the Ohio St. women's lacrosse squad Tuesday at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium.  Kokoro Nakazawa fired in seven goals in the Cardinals win, a career high for her. All told, ten Cardinals scored in the contest, where Louisville had a dominating 39 to 21 shot edge over the visitors from Columbus. 

Louisville (7-8) was fairly evenly match with the Buckeyes in the first quarter...Nakazawa scored first for the Cards, but they managed only three more goals in the quarter. The output was still  two goals more than the OSU squad could muster and UofL ended the quarter on an unassisted Nicole Perroni goal to hold a 4-2 lead.

OSU wasn't ready to surrender the contest yet, though, and matched the Cards output of four goals in the second quarter  Nakazawa added two goals for the Cards and was joined by Abby Scully and Allegra Catalano. The Cards had built an 8-6 lead after a half of play.. 

So, what was the magic potion that got UofL energized to net 14 second half goals. What did head coach Scott Teeter tell the team at halftime? 

"We challenged them at halftime to step it up. All we wanted them to do was compete and we did that in the second half."  Tetter commented after the contest. And step it up Louisville did. 

The Cards went on a 14-4 second half blitz and got it started in the third quarter, outscoring OSU 6-2 .Nicole Perroni got the scoring started and Kokoro ws next with a score followed by Lauren Figas and Kylea Dobson finding net to build a 12-7 lead. Kokoro tallied again with four minutes left in the quarter, and the Cards had build the lead to 14-8 at the end of three quarters. 

Louisville dominated the fourth quarter action by outscoring the OSU squad 8-2. Six different Cards  (the Nakazawa sisters, Perroni, Seikel, Adkins and Catalano) tallied seven goals to build a 21-9 lead with five minutes to play in the contest. Ava Peers closed out the Cards scoring with less than a minute to play and Louisville was the proud owner of a 22-10 win. 

The Cards return to conference play next.. with a trip to Duke for a Friday match. 


Update: This game was cancelled due to weather and is not on the schedule to be made up at a later date.

Louisville Softball steps out of ACC play to face their in-state rival Kentucky on Wednesday. It's a 7 p.m. first pitch at Ulmer for the 23-16 Cards. 

UK comes in at 24-14, and comes in after a 1-0 win at Texas A&M. The Wildcats are led by Erin Coffel at the plate. she carries a .340 average and has 11 home runs on the season , tied for team lead and also leads in runs (27) and RBI's (29). 

Last year, the squads met in Lexington and UK slugged out a 7-4 win. A late., top of the seventh inning Louisville rally cut a 7-1 UK lead in half in the contest. 

In case you can't get out to the contest, the ACC Network will have the coverage. Our Jared Anderson will be on hand and will have the Thursday write-up on the outcome, plus his usual excellent photos.. UK leads in the series game history 24-20. 


Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Lacrosse Hosts Ohio State -- Softball Struggles -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Lax Hosts Buckeyes for Midweek Match

Louisville lacrosse steps out of conference play for a brief moment to host Ohio State today at 1:00 pm. It will be streamed on ACCNX.

The Cards recently fell at home to ranked Virginia 13-8. They trailed 8-7 heading into the final quarter but the Cavaliers utilized a large run to open the frame. The loss moves Louisville to 6-8 on the year with three games remaining in the regular season.

Ohio State comes into the match with a 7-5 record. While the Buckeyes' schedule isn't quite as grueling as Louisville's, Ohio State has had a tough stretch lately. They recently pulled off a 9-8 upset over #23 Penn State but lost big to two of the top three teams in the country in Maryland and Johns Hopkins.

Jamie Lasda has netted 34 goals this season for Ohio State. They have six other players with anywhere from 11-19 goals scored. In comparison to Louisville, Kokoro Nakazawa (43 goals) and Nicole Perroni (34 goals) lead the charge of five players with double-digit goals or higher. Ohio State has outscored opponents 151-122 while Louisville has been outscored by 10 on the year.

This is a match that could swing in either team's favor, but we hope a little homefield advantage and the chance to creep closer to .500 will provide some motivation for the Cards.

Softball Struggles

Frustration has been the theme for Louisville softball this year. There have been nine games where the Cards have lost by two or fewer runs or lost in extra innings. A big part of that has been defensive errors. Stat-keeping around the country tends to be a little friendlier towards hitters with more hits and less errors, but the 'Jared Book of Errors' doesn't view things that way.

The two losses to Florida State had a official total of six combined errors. I'd put that number closer to 10. Still, you hope to have no errors every game. Defensive errors have cost the Cards several times this year. Officially, Louisville has 45 total defensive errors for a .960 fielding percentage. Oklahoma ranks top in the country with a .986 fielding percentage. The Cards are tied for 157th in the country in that category.

Key injuries have impacted the Louisville lineup too. Easton Lotus had a hand injury early in the season in Florida. The starting second baseman was hitting over .300 and a perfect fielding percentage when she went down for the year. Recently, Ally Alexander suffered a fracture in her hand. The starting third baseman, now-converted second baseman does not have an estimated return time. She ranked high on the team in fielding percentage for the starting rotation and was hitting just shy of .300.

The Cards sit at 10th out of 13 teams in the ACC and would sneak into the conference tournament if it started today. They would not be in the NCAA Tournament if it started today.

This team is full of talent and potential but seems to keep getting in its own way. With 14 games left on the schedule, Louisville can still make a case to earn a bid into the ACC Tournament, but the road isn't easy. Let's hope to see a strong finish.

THappy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, April 8, 2024

Cards SB drops series finale to FSU...South Carolina is NCAA WBB Champ -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Photo Apr 05 2024, 6 57 03 PM.jpg

YOU have to wonder if the predomnant thought in the FSU Softball camp Sunday afternoon was..."get us to the airport and get us out of here...,these Cardinals gave us all we could handle"? 

But it wasn't quite to be a UofL win, in the rubber match against FSU Sunday. in a back and forth affair, the Cards fell 4-3 to the #18 Seminoles.


The Cards bounced out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Daisy Hess reached on a hit-byo pitch and came around to score on a Bailee Richardson single.  That lead held, underneath the strong pitching of Alyssa Zabala until the top of the fourth when the Noles plated two runs on a costly right field Cardinals error. 

The fifth inning featured the Cards adding two riuns to their total and completing their scoring for the day. .It was "the Riley and Kiley show" standing out for the scores...  Kiley Goff managed a bases loaded grounder to score one run and a Riley Frizell single brought home the go-ahead run. 3-2 Cards after five.  . 

FSU wasn't done, though,. two Nole hits and two Cardinals errors allowed two runs and the Noles left the top of the sixth ahead 4-3.   Louisville would not surrender so easity, though,. Maddie Grant and KatieThatcher worked their way to second and third with two outs in the botton of the seventh, but a ground out ended the Cards threat. 

Zabala goes to 16-9 with the loss, All four runs were unearned off her,...four Cardinals errors were the costly deciders in this one. Brooke Gray came in to pitch the final 1-2/3 innings for UofL and kept FSU off the board. 

 A tough loss in front of a huge crowd for the Sunday contest. Our Jared Anderson was there, to snap photos of the action... 


IN A BATTLE of birds, the South Caroina Gamecocks went on a spree late to dispose of the Iowa Hawkeyes 87-75 and claim the NCAA WBB NCAA title, 

Dawn Staley is 109-3 over the last three years with the cocks, and got past the Iowa Haekeyes huge game by Caitin Clark from Iowa  and her 30 point effort to claim the 2024 title. 

South Carolina rallied from a 27-20 end of first quarter deficit to take a 49-46 lead at halftime. And , the Gamecocks came out flyng high after the half and increased their lead to 68-59 after three quarters South Csrolina withstood a couple of  late Iowa  attempts to get the 12-point win. 

Kamilla Cardoso led a balanced USC attack with 15 points.


Congratulations to Jason W. for winning our Pick 'Em challenge...He corrrectly had South Carolina as winning it all and beat out Blue Lou and the other challengers. A long time friend of our Jared Anderson...the is a long time participant, but, his is his first win in our pick 'em challenge.. Jason chose the Cracker Barrel gift card....get at them grits, son! 
A big thanks to all for playing and to Jared for faithfully serving again as our bracket Czar and handlling the duites in his usual effective fashion. 


Sunday, April 7, 2024

Strong Starts - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Lacrosse Falls Short vs Virginia

The Cards played close with 11th ranked Virginia for three quarters before running out of gas in the 4th quarter.  The Hokies go home with the 13-8 win.

I don't consider myself a real expert on Lacrosse, regardless of how much I enjoy watching it, but it seems, at least late in this season that the Cards are playing competitively against some really good teams for much of their games with them, with the other teams coming out in the closing minutes and putting up big numbers on Louisville.
Nicole Perroni with her 50th straight
game with at least one goal

Yesterday was no exception to this theme.  With a score of 8-7 after three quarters, even though the advantage was to Virginia, obviously the Cards were still competitive in the game, with a very real chance to win it.  Then Virginia went out and won the 4th quarter by a 5-1 margin.

Allegra Catalano opened the scoring in the game about five minutes in, but UVA would answer with three straight before Negai Nakazawa would answer to close out the quarter.  Sister Kokoro opened the 2nd, but again UVA would answer, this time with a pair.  Kylea Dobson got on the board, and again, UVA answered with a pair.  Finally Nicole Perroni extended her consecutive game scoring streak to 50 in the closing seconds of the half.

Kokoro Nakazawa got a brace in
the game yesterday

The 3rd quarter was pretty quiet on the scoring front.  UVA struck first, but UofL would strike back with their only back-to-back goals of the game, the first by Maggie McMahon, and the second by Kokoro Nakazawa.

So, at 8-7 after three quarters the Cards were solidly in the game, playing well against a quality opponent, but the 4th quarter went UVA's direction in a decisive manner.  The Hokies went on a 5-0 scoring run for the first 10 minutes or so, pushing the lead out the 13-7.  McMahon would tack on one final goal for the Cards in the closing couple of minutes to narrow the margin slightly to 13-8, but that would be it.

Negai Nakazawa continues to imperss
Sara Addeche played a complete game in goal, and tallied a respectable 11 saves in the 60 minutes.

What will it take for UofL to round the corner?  They've shown, throughout the season, including yesterday, that they have the talent level to play competitively with top teams, but seemingly not the stamina?  Like I said at the top of the article, I don't consider myself a real expert on Lacrosse, but perhaps this is a question of depth?  We've got top notch players, but not enough of them to keep fresh legs on the field?  I'm not sure, but it does feel like this program is on the cusp of breaking out.  Maybe with another year or two of solid recruiting we can move up into the upper echelons of the ACC, and correspondingly, national rankings.

Softball Also Falls Short In The End

Hover Daiy Hess getting the out
at shortstop

The pattern repeated at Softball, as FSU avenges their Friday loss with an 8-4 defeat of the Cards.

Like Lacrosse, though, the Cards were competitive with FSU early, one of the top teams in the ACC, and Top 20 nationally.

To their credit, the Cards did get the offense rolling early.  Daisy Hess, lead off with a single in the 1st inning, and scampered over to 2nd on a passed ball.  Riley Frizell connected with a solid shot out to center for a single, advancing Hess to 3rd.  Mia Forsythe replaced Frizell for the base running, and promptly stole second.  Vanessa Miller drew a walk to fill the bases for a Bailee Richardson single down the left field line.  The hit did get past the fielder at 3rd, giving Hess and Forsythe the time and space they needed to cross the plate.
Just don't try to steal second on Kiley
Goff, it won't go well for you.

Things would be quiet until the 4th inning.  FSU got their first with a homerun, perhaps the first sign of trouble for Brooke Gray in the circle as the FSU batters were starting to get the bat on the ball.  They weren't quite successful in getting hits in play, much...yet, but the writing was on the wall.  A pop-up did get an out for the Cards, but again, it was bat on ball contact, and then a double from FSU was the end for Gray.  Gabby Holloway came in and go the final out of the inning, limiting the damage to just a single run.

Bailee Richardson about to run over
Jared, but she will catch that ball,
The Cards would mitigate the FSU homerun in the bottom half of the frame.  Kiley Goff drew a walk, and advanced on a Chelsea Mack sacrifice.  She would then score on a ground rule double by Hess.  Wait, I hear you say, isn't a ground rule double on a 10 foot fence, like they have at Ulmer, extremely unlikely?  Yes, it is, in this case, however, the ball managed to find a week spot in the bottom of the fence out in left field and managed to slip under it.  After four innings, it was 3-1 to the Cards.

FSU was accelerating, however.  They came out in the 5th inning and put three across the plate, taking the 4-3 lead.  Holloway did finish out the inning, but wouldn't return for the 6th.

Riley Frizell concentrating on catching
the ball at 1st.
UofL was able to claw one of those back.  It started with Richardson drawing a walk, followed by a Holloway contact that went back to the FSU pitcher.  Holloway, definitely known more for her power than speed, was never going to beat out that throw, but Richardson did make it to 2nd.  Paige Geraghty, known more for her speed than power, singled out to center field, scoring Richardson.  Geraghty did advance to 2nd on the throw to home to try to catch Richardson, but alas, the Cards were not able to get anything much else going the rest of the inning.

Sam Booe came in to pitch in the 6th, but in the course of only getting one out, ended up with the bases loaded.  Searching for answers, Alyssa Zabala came to the circle.  While she did get the other two outs in the inning, all three of those runners would score thanks to a field error and a pair of pop-ups and runners advancing on the after tagging the base.

The Cards would have no more offense left in them, but FSU would add one more in the 7th, first off finishing Zabala's day with a triple.  Lindsey Mullen would finish out the game, though that runner on 3rd would score to bring the final score to 8-4.

The Cards will finish the series today with a noon start at Ulmer.  Obviously they'll be looking to with the series, but it will certainly be a question of who they'll have in the circle after throwing just about the whole bullpen at FSU yesterday.

Hopefully it will be a good one, and you can find it at Ulmer Stadium, of course, but also on ACC Network Extra.

A Note and Slight Correction on Volleyball

Case brought you the best update he could yesterday from Volleyball spring play against UK in Lexington given the information he had available to him.  Unfortunately that wasn't much information.  I was, to the surprise of no one, in attendance, and can give a bit more insight.

The "official" official as anything is in spring volleyball action, of course, was a 2-2 tie.  I came away with the notion, however, that I'm calling it a Cardinal win.

The Cats won the first two sets and looked like a quite put together team.  They did switch their Libero jersey over to Molly Tuozzo, a sophomore, from Eleanor Beavin who has held the jersey for several years now, perhaps that position is a bit less settled this year?

In any case, the Cards would battle back in the 3rd set, and all three of the early sets were very close in points with one of them adding a bonus point or two.  The 4th set, however, was all Cardinals, finishing it out 25-15, if I remember correctly.

Of course, 5th sets are definitely not guaranteed in spring play, and UK Head Coach Craig Skinner had definitely had enough, indicating that they were done for the night, leaving the match score with an unsatisfying tie.  The Cards were raring to go for a 5th set, and in talking with some of the players, were actually a bit angry that UK bailed on it, so for that reason, and because UofL was carrying so much momentum from the 4th, I'm saying the 5th would've gone to the Cards.  We'll never know for sure, of course, but I expect the UofL squad will remember this when it comes time to play them in the Fall in Memorial Coliseum.

Quick lineup notes for the Cards, Charitie Luper only played back row, perhaps still nursing her sprained ankle from a few weeks ago?  Or maybe it was just an opportunity to give Alanna Bankston and Ava Utterback some swings on the left side.  Both Luper and Anna DeBeer again played without their knee braces, so they seem to be a thing of the past for good, now.

A amusing side note, the father of Cardinal Forever Caitlin Welch (now Freudenberger) was the up official for the match.  It's always a pleasure to visit with Kevin Welch, and I can attest that he governed the match fairly despite his association with either team.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Case, Paulie, and I were on the call yesterday.  It felt like a quick hour, which is always the case when you're having fun.  Of course, we covered some bits about basketball, still adding news to the feed, as well as Softball and Lacrosse.


Saturday, April 6, 2024

Cards Pick Up Series Opening Upset -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Louisville Walks Off FSU 5-4

What a game last night! One team took an early lead, the other battled back, and it came down to the final play. No, I'm not talking about the second semifinal matchup between UConn and Iowa. In a game that many might have thought would go more like the first semifinal between NC State and South Carolina, where the underdog was ultimately run out of the gym, Louisville softball welcomed in a top-25 ranked Florida State team and got the series off to a great start with a walk-off victory. 

Unsurprisingly, Alyssa Zabala took the ball in the circle for the Cards. Louisville had weather in their favor, bringing FSU into an overcast and rapidly cooling Ulmer Stadium where the temperature at first pitch was listed as 50 degrees. The cold may have settled into Zabala a bit as well, though, as she walked the first batter of the game. A foul out followed and a double scored the opening run. A liner to Daisy Hess at short and a full-count ground out to third ended the inning. 

Louisville changed up the offensive lineup a bit, moving Hess to the leadoff, putting Frizell second, and slotting Vanessa Miller into the three-hole. Miller had been batting mostly in the heart of the order. It was an interesting move, as you usually want a bit of speed in the second slot in case your leadoff fails to get on base. Hess fouled out on a full count and Frizell coaxed a seven-pitch full count walk. Miller struck out, though, and Richardson popped it up to end Louisville's first inning opportunity. 

Another double welcomed Zabala back to the circle, but she followed this one with two outs as well. Unfortunately, the next batter worked a nine-pitch walk to put runners on first and second with two out. Florida State's third hit of the game was their third double, and another run scored. FSU held the runner at third, which was helpful, since Zabala earned her second strikeout of the game to end the side. Cards trailed 2-0 after 1.5 innings. A three up, three down offensive side meant they trailed 2-0 after two full innings as well. 

Zabala finally started to settle in in the third. She picked up a three-pitch strikeout to open the side before giving up her third walk in as many innings. This time, she worked out of it with a foul out and a ground out to escape any more damage. FSU put Hess on base with a hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the third, but it came with two outs. Frizell struck out, and it was beginning to look like Louisville's offense just wouldn't have the juice in this game. 

Zabala stayed locked in, though, retiring the side in order for the first time in the game. She nearly struck out the side, as well, picking up two Ks to open the inning before a 2-2 count was spoiled by a foul and then grounded out. In the bottom half, Louisville put the first batter on base for the first time in the game when Miller was first-pitch swinging and knocked a single through the right side of the infield. That effort was erased on a fielder's choice that saw Bailey Richardson replace Miller at first, but Gabby Holloway made good use of the runner on base anyway. Holloway took the first pitch over the fence in right center and tied the game at 2-2. 

I'm not sure what Miller or Holloway were seeing in their first at bats that gave them so much confidence in the second. Miller struck out on three pitches and Holloway flew out on the third pitch of her at bat. Whether it was something they saw in their at bats specifically, or if it was just a matter of the FSU pitcher wearing down and more pitches being seen from the dugout, the result is the same. Louisville was right back in the game, and the teams started anew in the top of the fifth. 

Jac Hasty took over at second for Ally Alexander and was called into action pretty quickly. After the first batter walked, a grounder to Richardson turned into a fielder's choice as Hasty couldn't make the turn to first. Double plays are hard in softball, and this may well have been a bunt attempt. Either way, Hasty was able to field the throw cleanly to get the lead runner. Zabala picked up a flyout and a foul out to end the threat. 

Louisville's offense hadn't quite finished things in the bottom of the fourth, so they picked it back up in the bottom of the fifth. Paige Geraghty hit an infield single that was reviewed before she was deemed to be safe. Chelsea Mack bunted her over and the Cards had the go-ahead run in scoring position with one out. Hess made that two outs, unfortunately, with a fly out, but Roo (Frizell's nickname) tripled down the line to give Louisville the lead. Miller singled for a touch of insurance, which would prove to be rather useful. Louisville led 4-2 after five. 

The long at-bats were starting to get to Zabala. Even outs were going long, and she ultimately threw 144 pitches in the game. The sixth opened with a nine-pitch fly out before a single put a runner on base. A walk made it first and second with one out, and a sac fly put runners on the corners. After a steal, there were two runners on and two outs. Zabala got behind in the count, but worked what should have been the final out anyway. A fielding error at first scored two unearned runs and tied the game. A greedy steal attempt was thrown out to end the inning. 

Louisville looked to strike back immediately in the bottom half, using a walk and a sac bunt to put a runner in scoring position, but a strikeout and a foul out set up an exciting final frame. The Cards headed to the field looking to keep the game tied 4-4 and give themselves an opportunity in the bottom of the seventh. 

It was a shaky start, as a single turned into a double on an error. A sac bunt put the go-ahead run on third for FSU with just one out. A hard ground ball to Richardson at third set up an interesting play. Going to first gets an out, but you give up the go ahead run. A hard hit ball meant that Richardson could beat the runner to home, which she did. Kylie Goff tagged out the lead runner, then popped and fired to second. The batter, seeing an opportunity on a bang-bang play at the plate, had turned the corner at first thinking she would sneak an extra 60 feet out of the out. She was wrong. Goff's throw to Hasty was on the money and a double-play ended FSU's threat. 

A three-pitch strikeout wasn't what the doctor ordered in the bottom of the seventh in a tie game, but Hess singled to put the winning run on base with one out. Frizell walked again, putting Hess that much closer to the plate. Miller grounded out to first, but the only play was for the fielder to step on the bag, meaning it acted effectively as a sacrifice, moving Hess and Frizell up. Louisville's upset winning run was 60 feet away and her former and current teammate stepped up to the plate. With the count full, Bailey Richardson sent one through the middle to bring Daisy Hess trotting home with her hands up in celebration. Cards win 5-4. 

The Cards needed this one. After dropping a game they shouldn't have against Pitt last weekend, Louisville was in danger of their conference season getting away from them if they were swept at home again. A win over a ranked team is always good, and this one moved Louisville to 23-14 overall and 4-6 in conference. Being the series opener, it also has the potential to set the tone for the weekend. Louisville was fairly efficient in this one as well. They struggled early on offense, but they managed to score five runs and only left four runners on base. FSU left five on, and it could have been seven if not for the two-run error. The Cards will look for a bit more consistency on offense today and tomorrow, as they picked up just seven hits on 25 at bats last night. 

Alyssa Zabala was nails. She gave up four runs, but only two were earned, and she picked up the complete game win. She allowed five hits and five walks, but also struck out five and didn't hit any batters. She also didn't give up a home run and only eight batters flew out. Zabala was very good, but I would guess she isn't throwing today, and maybe not tomorrow, after 144 last night. We'll see if the rest of Louisville's staff can have the same success against FSU. 

Post game was with Zabala and the winning hitter Bailey Richardson, which you can hear below. The Cards and Seminoles are back in action this afternoon at 1PM. Today is Pups in the Park, if you can bear the cold, or you can check it out on ACC Network Extra. 

Court Sports

Louisville volleyball took on UK in a spring match yesterday evening, and results aren't available. The Cards' twitter account posted that it is "always fun when red and blue get together" with some photos from the match, which leads me to believe that Louisville was on the wrong end of the final score. As we've mentioned before, the results of offseason matches never really mean much, but we'll hear from Jeff as the person in attendance on today's show. 

The winner of your 2024 Cardinal Couple NCAA Tournament Pick 'Em Challenge is Jason. Jason correctly picked the South Carolina and Iowa victories last night to move to 55 wins. Since Blue Lou didn't have the Gamecocks advancing, they go to 53 wins, which isn't enough to overcome Jason in the Iowa/SC final game matchup. Blue Lou locks down second, though, as all contenders for third (Kenneth Stark Sr, Katy, and Thomas) are at just 51 wins. Thanks to everyone for playing this year!

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

We'll be without Daryl again this week, but we'll have four on board to chat about this week's goings-on. There's plenty to discuss, to be sure, so we'll get into all of it. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
RadioPublic: Link
Spotify: Link

Until next time, Go Cards!