We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Friday, October 22, 2021

WSOC falls 4-1 to UVA -- FH vs UNC Preview - VB vs. VA: FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


I wanted to start the day out with some gratitude.  I realized last night that I had been back in the workforce for 1 year after 7 months of being unemployed due to COVID-19...which eliminated all of my positions.  So I wanted to express some thankfulness for that as well as my coworkers with whom I share an office with.    

As the regular season wraps up for the Cards in the fall sports realm,  I am looking forward to the holiday and basketball seasons.  


The Cardinals suffered their fourth straight loss on Thursday night vs #2 Virginia 1-4 in Charlottesville. 

UVA scored a goal in the first 90 seconds of play, had 6 shots in the first 15 minutes and poured on 25 shot attempts on the night as Gabby Kouzelos had her work cut out for her in the goal.  She had 8 saves as the UofL defense allowed 4 goals to the Cavs.  The Cards cut the lead to 2-1 after the half when Julia Simon scored in the 70th minute assisted by Emma Hiscock.  UVA would respond to the score with another goal of their own about a minute later.  They pretty much iced it with the final score before the 80th minute.  

UofL didn't record a single corner in this match...  a stat that stood out to me.  As Jared educated us in Thursday's edition, the Cards needed a huge performance to overcome the Cavaliers and make a case for the post season.  That didn't happen and those hopes are dwindling for the UofL women's soccer Cards.



UofL has another tall order this afternoon with a matchup with the #10 UNC TarHeels in Chapel Hill.  UNC leads the series 10-5.  The two teams met each other three times in the 2020-21 season.  The Cards snapped the TarHeels 47-game win streak in October last year with the TarHeels getting payback in the ACC Championship in November. 

This TarHeels team is coming off a 1-0 win vs Wake Forest.  They were able to score in the 1st quarter and held on to the lead.  The Heels fell to Liberty 0-4 a week ago, a team that the Cards beat 3-1 back on Sept. 12th at Trager.  UNC Senior Erin Matson leads the nation with 18 goals and 44 points.

Bally Sports RSN Affiliates and ACCNX are listed as the broadcast providers. It's a 4 p.m. start in Chapel Hill 


UVA Volleyball rolls into town today for a match against the #2 VolleyCards in the LNFCU. 

It hasn't been a stellar season for the Cavaliers. They are 8-10 overall and 1-7 in ACC play. It's a rebuilding project in Charlottesville for first year head coach Shannon Wells -- the Cavs fell in straight sets to Miami last time out in Coral Gables. 

You never overlook an opponent and UV has several players who have the potential to give Louisville's defense some concerns.  Brooklyn Borum leads the waay with 157, Grace Turner has 153, Mary Shaffer has produced 148 and Alana Walker completes the list with 107.

As for the Cards, one hopes that their focus and concentration is on the task at hand. One would think dropping a set to Wake at Wake last time out caught their attention. Let's hope the "A" team and Claire the Bear are their usual efficient selves. 

The 500 lb. monster in the room is #4 Pittsburgh, though, who comes to town Sunday. One would hope Louisville comes out sharp, plays smart and takes care of business. It's a Cardinals team that does not appear to get rattled -- let's hope they don't get distracted thinking about Sunday.

ACCNX will provide the feed if you can't attend. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.

I hope you readers are happy and healthy and I want to thank you for your viewership. Be sure to catch the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast at 11 a.m. Saturday, where we'll review the week's action and preview Sunday's events. Click the image at the top of the article for the website and past broadcasts. 

Have a great weekend. Go Cards!  P.S. 21 Days until Basketball tip off :)


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Soccer Begins Final Road Trip -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Soccer Begins Final Road Trip at Virginia

The season is winding down and Louisville Women's Soccer left early this morning for Charlottesville for their first match of a two-match road trip. The Cards will face #2 Virginia tonight at 7:00 p.m., on ACC Network Extra.

Louisville's season is on life support with three matches remaining. At 7-5-1, the Cards are not expected to make the NCAA Tournament without a strong performance down the stretch. Their nine points in conference play is tied for eighth with NC State, who holds the tiebreaker. Only the top six teams qualify for the ACC Tournament and the current sixth-place team is Clemson, who has 12 points. The Cards and Tigers play on Sunday.

Virginia boasts a 13-1 record and is undefeated in conference play at 6-0-1. Their 19 conference points is second in the conference, just two points behind Florida State. With Notre Dame on their heels for that 2-seed and a first round bye, the Cavaliers won't hold back.

With 38 goals and 112 points on the year, the Cavaliers rank third in the ACC in both categories. They've recorded 10 multi-goal performances this season and have been shut out once in a 0-0 draw to North Carolina. Diana Ordonez leads the way with 10 goals this season, a mark that is tied for first in the ACC stats. Lia Godfrey has been a big part of Ordonez's success, with 10 assists. They love to shoot the ball, 269 shots, and many have been on frame with a 0.468 shots on goal percentage.

Laurel Ivory has been the primary keeper for Virginia, but Cayla White has seen some time in goal due to the high number of blowouts. Ivory has surrendered seven goals while recording 32 saves. The Virginia defense is strong enough to rarely give up a shot on goal, but when they do, the Virginia goalkeepers have combined for an 0.822 save percentage.

As much as the prevent defense would appear to be the strategy for a team like this, Louisville can't afford a draw or loss. With not much to lose at this point of the season, it needs to be an all-out offensive with the Cards mustering up as many shots (preferably good looks) as they can.

Highlighting a Few Weekend Games

It's a busy weekend again with several UofL sports in action. No game or match for any team should ever be overlooked, but there are a couple primetime matches to tune into this weekend.

#4 Louisville Field Hockey at #10 North Carolina. ACC battles in field hockey are common, but this should pan out to be a good one. North Carolina has been a powerhouse for many years. Despite their 9-5 record this season, the Tar Heels have still shown spurts of the old days for them while holding a 3-1 conference record. UNC is 4-1 at home. The Cards and Tar Heels play tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. RSN (Bally Sports) has the coverage. Wonderful, right? 

#2 Louisville Volleyball vs #4 Pittsburgh. The battle for the ACC title makes a stop in Louisville when #4 Pitt comes to L&N FCU Arena. The Panthers are 17-1 on the year with their only loss being at home in a five set thriller against a ranked Georgia Tech team. Pitt has four wins against ranked opponents. This match has a noon start time on Sunday. 

Happy Thursday and Go Cards!


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

. #6 in AP preseason poll -- Plumb ACC FH Off. Player of the Week -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



We know women's basketball season is drawing closer when the AP releases their first poll of the season. Their first preseason poll was released yesterday and the University of Louisville's women's basketball squad was placed sixth by the voters. 

South Carolina was #1, followed by UConn at #2, Stanford getting #3, Maryland landing at #4 and North Carolina State ending up at #5. 

(What? You want ME to vote? Aw, heck no...) 

This poll has 29 ballots, and out of those...South Carolina received 14 first place votes, UConn 10 and Stanford 5. 

The Cards are one of five ACC teams voted into the top 25. Beside Louisville and NC State, FSU checks at #15, Georgia Tech at #17 and Virginia Tech at #24.

So, it's out there, now. What does it mean? Not a whole lot -- other than the opinion of certain sport-writers and broadcasters across the nation. No one from Cardinal Couple was invited to submit a ballot of their top 25, which is probably a good thing.-- since we probably would have thrown "the curve" off and had Louisville higher in our ballot and dropped Kentucky lower.

 Especially if Jared had been given the vote. 

(Is she expressing her displeasure over the poll?) 

Speaking of the Cats, they checked in at #13 for second-year coach Kyra Elzy. Yes, Rhyne Howard is still in Lexington. 

Obviously, it doesn't matter where you are in preseason -- the goal is to make the NCAA Tournament and do well. And, you do that by winning games, not gathering votes. Strength of scheduling being a arbitrary measuring can play the "best of the best" and go 5-22. And, all that gets you is a participation trophy from someone. Winning is objective #1.  Yes, winning  games and gathering  votes can go hand -in-hand.  But,  gathering  votes doesn't  make you win. 

I've heard from several Cardinals fans since the poll was released and... all of them thought the Cards should have been a top five vote getter. As Jared Anderson says: "it's OK, we'll just sneak up on them." 


"Nobody voted for us? I can't believe it !!"

Looking at the top 25, Louisville has a few games against the "rare air" dwellers. Obviously, they'll face the ACC foes, which adds up to four. The Cards also will play #22 Arizona, #11 Michigan, #2 UConn and #13 Kentucky. The Arizona and UConn games are listed as being at neutral sites (tell me, Uncasville, CT's Mohegan Sun Arena really a neutral site? Yeah didn't think so.) The Cards will host UK and Michigan, 

Here's the thing:  The polls change weekly once the season gets underway. All the jockeying for position is solely based on how well a team is doing against their opponents. An early NCAA Tournament projection (yes, those are already being circulated) has the Cards and NC State as #2 seeds, FSU as a #4 seed, Georgia Tech as a #5 seed, Virginia Tech as a #6 seed, Notre dame as a #7 seed and Duke as a #8 seed. 

Let's keep that on the back burner and see how that works out for everyone at the end of the season, shall we? . 

As far as conference alignments (as least for this week, those are always subject to change), The Pac 12 has five schools in the top 25, So does the ACC and Big 10. The SEC checks in with four, as does the Big 12. The Big East has one and the AAC one. 

Do I have a top five or top 10? 

 No. It's too early.

 If a squad needs a high ranking to promote bragging rights, just how confident are they in their own abilities and skills?  You play the games and prove it on the court. Quiet but as used confidence is probably  a much better  thing than bragging,  anyway.

Scoreboard doesn't lie. 



This just in...Hailey Van Lith has been named to the ALL-ACC pre-season team. And Payton Verhulst to the ACC Newcomer Watch List. 

You gotta love it. 


Louisville Field Hockey is #4 in latest DI poll, speaking of polls. The NFHCA is a coaches poll, and I tend to give a little more credence to those coach-oriented polls, instead of the sports hacks polls. What does a sports-writer in Oregon know about Boston College? A coach in Oregon may have to scout and take his team up against the Eagles, though. Trust in coach's opinions, y'all. 

Aimee Plumb, a sophomore out of Canterbury, Kent, England is this week's ACC Offensive Player of the Week. It's the first time she's earned the honor this season.

So, what did she do to receive such notoriety and a lofty recognition?  To start with, she had three goals and an assist in the Cards two wins last week. She got UofL's first goal against Boston College and fired the shot in overtime that was deflected and bounced in front of Erica Cooper , who provided the game-winner.  Against Northeastern, she scored twice in the Cards 7-0 rout on Sunday. 

Yep, that'll do it, as far as we're concerned. 

Plumb is a mid-fielder for the Cards and has been an integral part of the Cards building their 13-2 an 4-0 ACC record. Along with Katie Schneider, Cooper, Julie Kouijzer, Charlie van Oirschot and Mattie Tabor, Plumb leads the Cardinals offensive attack that is outscoring opponents this season 40-13. Plumb has five o those goals. 

I suppose you could use the colloquialism "plumb perfect" to describe her play. (Groan) 

Here's a fun fact on her...she can throw a javelin over 35 meters. Accurately. No wonder her nickname is "Aims". Beware, opposing players...

Have a Wonderful Wednesday 


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Fall Sports Final Stretch -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

 Fall Sports Final Stretch

Within 10 days, two of the major three fall women's sports will have concluded their regular season. The third remaining will still have a month left of action and in the final quarter of their season.

Women's Soccer will be the first to wrap up their regular season. Karen Ferguson-Dayes' squad has a road match this week at Virginia, then at Clemson over the weekend, before closing out the year at home on Oct. 28 against Duke.

With where the Cards sit in the conference standings and their overall record, Louisville's season could be completely over next Thursday. A once promising season has turned sour with a three-match losing streak and four losses over the last five matches.

Field Hockey will close out their regular season one day later. The Cards have three matches remaining, and like Women's Soccer, the next two are on the road with the season finale at home. The Cards visit North Carolina this coming Friday, will travel a little further north to James Madison on Sunday, and return home to host Syracuse on Oct. 29.

Louisville has had an excellent season so far, boasting a 13-2 record. Their 4-0 conference mark ties Syracuse for best in the ACC. The Tar Heels have had an up-and-down season but are still nearly unstoppable at home. The season finale against the Orange may be the showdown to decide the regular season victor.

No matter the result of the final three matches, Louisville will still have the ACC Tournament to go, and sit in prime position to make the NCAA Tournament.

Volleyball plays a longer season, but also starts a couple weeks later than the former two. Instead of a conference tournament, the ACC elected to play an extra weekend of regular season matches, something they have done since well before Louisville joined the ACC. The Cards still have plenty of action left, including a primetime match-up in town against #4 Pitt this coming Sunday. The Cards wrap up the end of their season on Black Friday, when Notre Dame comes to town.

Sitting at #2 in the country and only having dropped a total of five sets this season, the Cards are not only a shoo-in for the NCAA Tournament, but are one of the favorites to win the title. I'm not much of a betting person, but dropping a few bucks on the Cards to win it all sounds pretty enticing to me.


As much as we are excited for Women's Basketball to start  -- 16 days until their exhibition against Union University --  I'm not ready to let go of the fall sports quite yet. Well, not until we are able to hang some banners and bring home new hardware!

 If you haven't got your tickets yet for the Louisville women's basketball luncheon on Oct 29th at the Galt House, be advised the event usually sells out. A quick check of the Ticketmaster site for these still showed availability for "seats at a table" for $35 each.  

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, October 18, 2021


Sunday competition smiled down upon two UofL women's sports squads and a Cardinals great got a championship ring in her first year in the WNBA. It was a "funday Sunday" if you cheer for the Red and Black -- let's jump right in to the successes. 


A weather term used in New England for in rough weather is called a "northeaster".

Basically, it means a strong storm or wind blowing through the New England area, coming out of the north east. In Dedham, Mass. yesterday , it was the #4 Cardinals Field Hockey squad playing the role of the northeaster, as they went to the Northeastern campus and accomplished a one-sided 7-0 win over the Huskies. 

Sophomores Aimee Plumb and Embry Jane Imorde registered two goals each for the Cards and freshman Mila de Kuijer produced seven saves in the contest. The seven goals were the most recorded by a Louisville Field Hockey team since 2016 --when the Cards put up eight scores on Central Michigan. 

A mere 22 second into the match, the Cards received a penalty corner and Plumb got her first score on the sequence. That lead was increased in the second quarter when Erica Cooper, the hero of the Friday win over Boston College with her game-winning score, pushed the UofL lead to 2-0 with her fifth goal of the season . That lead held through the remainder of the first half. -- Northeastern was actually out-shooting the Cards 7-6 and had a 3-1 edge on penalty corners -- but de Kuijer was stepping up big in net and had three first half saves. 

Louisville exploded offensively in the final half. Plumb picked up her second goal of the match and Imorde added a score within a two-minute period to set the tally at 4-0. After three quarters, that 4-0 lead still stood. 

The Cards piled on the scores late in the four quarter. Katie Schneider started it off, converting on a penalty stroke attempt with five minutes left in the match. Imorde followed with her second score of the afternoon and the Cards closed out the scoring late when Alli Bitting converted off a penalty corner. 

The Flock's head coach Justine Sowry played "good cop, bad cop" in her post-game remarks:  

"I don't think the score line was indicative of how the game was played. Northeastern was able to pierce our defense easily at times and put our deep defense under a lot of pressure. Moving forward, we need to tidy up defensively. On the flip side, we were able to to link some good on-ball passes together and we were efficient in pur circle play. Two road wins is a lot to be proud of." 

And seven goals absolves a lot of sins...

Louisville Field Hockey, now 13-2, continues the road trip Friday, when the visit Karen Shelton and UNC and then to James Madison on Sunday. 

The Cards should remain at #4 in the NFHCA poll, due out tomorrow. 


Maybe the biggest news in #2 Louisville Volleyball's four set, 25-23, 25-19, 21-25, 25-19 is that the Cards actually lost a set for the first time in over a month.

 Also of interest was  sophomore Ayden Bartlett stepping in to play libero for Louisville --freshman Elena Scott out with an undisclosed (but possibly a thigh) injury. 

Nevertheless, the Cards move to 18-0 on the season with the win over the Demon Deacons. Four VolleyCards recorded double figures in kills -- Claire Chaussee leading with 12, Amaya Tillman and Anna DeBeer getting 11 each and Anna Stevenson providing 10. 

Wake Forest proved to be a tough "out" for Louisville at the beginning of this one. They led briefly in the first set and were tied with Louisville at 21-21 late. The Cards "called for DeBeer" though, and ran off four of the next six points to get the "W". DeBeer had six kills to lead Dani Busboom Kelly's charges. 

Louisville made it look easy to start set two -- bumping a 5-4 lead to 13-4. New Albany's Ceci Rush held the hot serving hand --producing a 7-0 service run. Wake, though, refused to back down and climbed within five late at 23-18. A Demon Deacon service error and Amaya Tillman kill ended the set successfully for the Cards. 

After the break, Wake came out intent on business. They held sway with the Cards early,

creating a 10-10 tie, and then went on a 5-1 run to grab a four point lead. Louisville would manage to cut that to two late -- at 22-20 -- but the Winston-Salem school closed it out with a set-ending 3-1 run to give the Cards their first set loss since Sept. 15th vs. Kentucky. 

A close fourth set developed at the start and the Deacs actually held a 14-13 lead. Anna Stevenson produced a kill to tie it at 15 all, though, and then the Cards exploded on a 10-4 run to close out set and match. 

Not much you can say about this one...except "hop on the bus, Gus and head it back home."  Louisville has certainly looked much more sharper this season and some of that can be attributed to the absence of Scott, I suppose you could say. Wake Forest was, no doubt, buoyed from their win over Notre Dame on Friday and donned the upset hat and gave it their all. Kamryn Malloy is a legit hitter for the Demon Deacons and had eighteen kills against the Cards. 

Still, road wins are always appreciated and the Cards now come home to prepare for two toughies this weekend in the LNFCU. Virginia comes to town Friday and then the highly anticipated match against Pitt will take place on Sunday. 


If Dana Evans is walking around with a bigger-than-normal smile this Monday, it's perfectly understandable and explainable. She and her WNBA Chicago Sky teammates are the WNBA Champs for 2021 -- knocking off the Phoenix Mercury 80-74 yesterday in WinTrust Arena to pull off the four-game series "W". 

At 13-13 to end the regular season, not many had the Sky winning it all, and, considered them lucky to just be in post-season at all.  

Something happened. Candace "Ace" Parker hadn't left LA to come home to Chicago and play just for the lakeshore drive and Chicago dogs. Veteran Allie Quigley had found a home in Chicago after bouncing around the league and so had Kahleigh Copper. Quigley's 26 points in the final and Copper's Tournament MVP award dwarfed the "established guard trust" of Phoenix's Diana Taurasi, Skyler Diggins Smith and 

With 4:42 left in the fourth, this one looked like it might go Phoenix's way. They led 72-65 and were intent to taking the series back to Phoenix. 

Not so fast, Mercury,

An 11-0 run by Chicago over the next four minutes gave Chicago a 76-72 lead. Credit Steph Dolson for the final two buckets in the run over the taller Brit Griner. Diana Taurasi drew a foul on a three-pointer and sank two of her free throws to cut the lead to two, but Courtney Vandersloot connected in the lane to seal the win and kick off a massive celebration among Sky fans. 

Phoenix, on the other hand, was not so chipper. The Mercury failed to appear at the post-game presser. It was later revealed that the door to their locker room was broken and sources indicated it was one of the Mercury who did the damage. (Talk about your bitter feelings !) An "investigation" is pending. Call in Matlock, Colombo and Chief Bill, forget it...who cares? It's over and the Sky are your champs. 

As for Evans, it's been a topsy-turvy, but ultimately rewarding season.  She was drafted later than many expected and ended up in Dallas. Then, early into the season, Chicago head coach James Wade decided he wanted the Louisville great and brought her to Chicago in a trade. Evans knew her role, to be a back up guard to Sky point-guard Vandersloot. She performed her duties without any fanfare or issue. 

And now....a ring in her first season. It doesn't get much better than that and all of us at Cardinal Couple are extremely happy for her.  If you believe, you can achieve -- and Evans is proof of that. I can't wait to see her make a triumphant return to the KFC YUM! Center this season to watch her former Cardinal teammates play.  

She's bonafide. She's Dana Evans and she'll remain one of our favorite Cardinals forever. .

Have a marvelous Monday! 


Sunday, October 17, 2021

Cardinals On the Road - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Field Hockey Visits Bahston

Field Hockey is in Boston, MA this weekend.  After their thrilling golden goal overtime win against Boston College Friday, the team took advantage of the whopping five miles of travel to their next opponent in Northeastern, and spent the day in Boston.  They got to visit some of the historic city after a morning practice.  Sites included a visit to the campus of Harvard, though technically speaking Harvard is in Cambridge, MA, and not Boston proper, it is all one big metro area.

As mentioned, the squad will be playing Northeastern today, just a quick ride up the Green line on the T past Fenway Park and a short walk, from Boston College.  Northeastern plays in the Colonial Athletic Association and currently sports a 4-9 record, 1-3 in conference.  They have wins over Drexel in conference, along with Dartmouth and Holy Cross.  They split with the Charles River contingent, beating Boston University, but losing to Harvard.  Their last game, a conference matchup against 21st ranked Delaware, was a week ago and was a close game, with the Blue Hens coming away with the 3-2 win.

The Huskies are led by Lauren Rowe, their most prolific shot taker.  She has six goals on the season, tied with Mak Graves.  Goalkeeping duties seem to be split between Julie Gluyas, and Erin Savage.  They've both played in at least 10 of their 13 games and the game starts are split eight to five.

The Cards will be looking for a fairly easy win in this won.  After a conference battle on Friday, I'm sure the team would welcome a relatively easy win.  Northeastern did show that they are capable of playing competitively with quality opponents last week, however, so this is another case of needing to not overlook an opponent that, on paper, shouldn't be much of a challenge.

A slightly earlier start for the game today at noon.  Streaming is only on Flo Sports, so that will make it a bit of an extra challenge to watch. They do offer a 7 day free trial...or you can shell out the $29.99 a month. If you'veused your one free trial...they won't allow another. 

You can follow the stats (from Statbroadcast) here:

Volleyball Visits Wake Forest

Volleyball is also on the road this weekend.  After a tougher than expected win over Virginia Tech, the wide net Cards headed south to the western end of Tobacco Road and Winston Salem to take on The Demon Deacons of Wake Forest.

The Deacs are 2-5 in conference play, 11-7 overall.  Their only real notable wins on their schedule are the in-conference ones in a five set epic battle with Boston College (25-23, 25-21, 22-25, 25-27, 15-13), and a sweep against Notre Dame Friday (25-22, 25-23, 25-21).  As you can see, all of these have been close sets.  A five set loss to Kansas is somewhat interesting and they did take Georgia Tech to 28-26 in the third set before losing the match.  Their only other match against a top 25 team so far was a sweep by Western Kentucky (25-20, 25-21, 25-13), and the other local interest game was a Wake sweep of Bellarmine (25-22, 25-19, 25-18).

UofL will need to be on the lookout for the middles for Wake, 6'4" Olivia Franke, and Delaney McSweeney standing a whopping 6'7".  Both are hitting .310 on the year so far, which is not spectacular for middle hitters.  The real threat comes from the outsides Kamryn Malloy (6'0") and Ashley Slater (6'2"), hitting at .276, and .192 clips respectively.  Again, those percentages aren't spectacular and reflect the challenges this Wake Forest squad has faced all year.

5'10" Andrea Fuentes will be your setter, and Kalani Whiplock I believe will be in the libero jersey.

Louisville should have a relatively easy cruise through this match, as well as this coming Friday's matchup with Virginia, but that's also what was expected of the match two days ago against Virginia Tech and that got a bit more interesting than expected.  Take that as an object lesson not to overlook teams and be fully engaged and ready to go every time you hit the floor, or risk an embarrassing loss.

Next Sunday's match against Pitt looms large on the horizon, and it's important not to be looking too far ahead to it, and stay in "the now" and be sure to take care of business against this Wake Forest team first.

TV coverage on this one is on RSN, which I believe is typically available on channel 70 on Spectrum here in Louisville.  For the rest of us, may the odds be ever in your favor in finding a place to watch this one. They go by the tag "Bally Sports" now. A shame this one isn't on ACCN or ACCNX...  If you can find it online or on TV, it is a noon start.

A Soccer Tangent

As a bit of an aside, I joined my family (mother, brother, sister-in-law, niece, nephew) for an outing to Racing Louisville FC.  The first real fall evening, it was a crisp night out, but the Racing Louisville FC  club did get the upset 3-1 win over the Orlando Pride.

Orlando has a lot of power on the squad with National Team members representing at least two different countries in Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, Alli Krieger for the US, and Marta for Brazil.

While this is a bit outside of our mission of sharing the joy and excitement of specifically UofL women's sports, on an off evening for UofL sports, with teams either on the road, or in a bye week, it was a fun outing, to support a club that is rapidly building a lot of pride and support from the city, and with good reason.  They have a good product, by good people, and the set up a great atmosphere to enjoy it all in. And, former Cardinals great Emina Ekic is on the Racing roster and did see the pitch last night in late minutes.  As a UofL fan, it was a joy to look out onto the pitch and see Ekic matching up, at least briefly, with Alex Morgan.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

A technical problem prevented the live streaming of the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast yesterday, though we, Case really, were able to record it and it is available in its more pure podcast form.

Field Hockey, Soccer, Volleyball, and a bit of Basketball was on the menu with Case, Jared, Paulie, and myself all on the call.  Daryl had the chance to go meet her new nephew and take him a Utah onesie for some reason?

You can find it at it's podcast home on Anchor at or at any of your normal podcast directories.

Streaming for next week may not be available as well as I will be heading to Indianapolis to watch cars drive fast, and turn left, with no drivers in them in the Indy Autonomous Challenge (


Saturday, October 16, 2021

Cards Take Two of Three in Friday Action -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

It's been awhile, but I'm back after a nice vacation followed by a not so nice travel experience on the way home. At any rate, we should be fully back on schedule with the Cardinal Couple columns and the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast now, so let's get into yesterday's events.

Field Hockey Comes Back for 3-2 Win at BC

Louisville trailed 2-0 in the third quarter of yesterday afternoon's match with their lead in the conference standings (and their #4 overall ranking) on the line at Boston College. The Cards managed to score once in the third and once in the fourth, all while holding off a fairly strong BC attack, to send it to OT, where the golden goal winner was found. Louisville moved to 12-2 and 4-0 in conference.

The match started out rather tame, with no plays being recorded in the first quarter play-by-play. The box score simply names the keepers for each team, then announces the end of the period. The field players were bound to be hard at work, but if neither team can crack an offensive opportunity or commit a foul, we who couldn't watch the match are left wondering whether the teams just stood around and looked at each other for fifteen minutes.

The second quarter saw action pick up. Louisville threatened early, as they earned a penalty corner just two minutes into the quarter. Filippa Niebuhr's shot was blocked, but Louisville continued to control the ball for the next bit, and earned another corner two minutes later. This time, it was Julie Kouijzer who took the shot, but this one was saved and controlled by the goalkeeper. Boston College quickly answered this time, getting downfield and grabbing a shot against the run of play. Mila de Kuijer stepped up with a big save and it appeared the two teams would carry on as things had been. BC wasn't done attacking, though. 

With just over eight minutes remaining in the half, the Eagles earned a corner and refused to be turned away. The primary shot was saved by de Kuijer but wasn't handled. The first rebound was then saved by Alli Bitting, and the follow up rebound blocked by the team. Fourth time was the charm, though, as Louisville's inability to clear the threat allowed another rebounded shot, this one by Sarah Johnson, to find the back of the cage.

Both teams were unable to make anything else happen in the first half, and the 1-0 score carried into the locker room. After the half, Louisville came out quickly, with Aimee Plumb picking up a shot in open play, but it went wide. Shortly after, BC earned another corner. This one was saved with fewer rebounds, but a foul was called in the midst of the corner and the Eagles were awarded a penalty stroke. Sky Caron stepped up and slotted it home for just her second goal of the season. I'm not sure if field hockey requires the victimized player to take the penalty stroke, but, if not, Caron seems an odd choice to have taken the shot. She made it either way so I suppose it doesn't matter. The Cards were in a 2-0 hole and things weren't looking much in their favor.

Some familiar names took care of that rather quickly. Less than two minutes later, Louisville's offense found itself on the attack and Kouijzer found Plumb for the goal. The teams were right back where they had started the quarter with a one goal difference, and they went to the fourth at 2-1. Louisville's attack was strong early once again, as they worked BC into a yellow card. Having the player advantage, Charlie van Oirschot made it count with an open play goal, unassisted, to tie the match. Both teams endeavored to grab a winner, but neither threatened the goal until the final minute and a half. BC earned a corner with 1:21 remaining, and the shot was on frame. Fortunately, de Kuijer made another big save to keep it level, and the match headed into overtime.

Have I mentioned that Louisville's offense was fast coming out of breaks? That didn't change in the overtime period. The Cards made short work of this golden goal session, as Plumb put a shot on frame just 22 seconds into OT. The shot was saved but it set up a penalty corner. Louisville couldn't find a shot from the first corner, but earned another just fifty seconds later. This corner resulted in another shot for Plumb, again blocked, but Louisville's offense didn't relent. They kept the ball in their control and Plumb found Erica Cooper for the game winner just two minutes and twenty-three seconds into the overtime period. BC hardly even controlled the ball.

While the Cards picked up a critical win, they are unlikely to move in the standings, in my opinion. The top two teams, Iowa and Michigan, also faced off yesterday afternoon. Though one team had to lose, the two represent Louisville's two losses this season and both were undefeated entering the matchup. They also made it about as hard as possible for voters to decide one was better than the other, as they took a 1-1 draw in regulation through two scoreless OT's and went to penalty strokes. Even the strokes were close, as they finished 2-1 in favor of Iowa. In addition, third-ranked Rutgers took care of another top-ten win, this time over Maryland. I expect the top four spots to remain unchanged, with Louisville in a position to jump Rutgers or Michigan when the two play next week, as long as the Cards can take care of business.

Speaking of Louisville's business, yesterday's victory guaranteed that they can finish no worse than third in the conference. At 4-0, Louisville can finish just 4-2 at worst. The only team that can match that record is Virginia, and the Cards already hold the tiebreaker in that series. Louisville will get to play their two challengers for the league lead as they take on UNC (3-1) next Friday and Syracuse (3-0) the following Friday, the last match of the regular season. Louisville gets a brief breather in their next match as they take on Northeastern tomorrow at noon. The Howlin' Huskies are just 4-9 on the season and 1-3 in the CAA; however, all four wins have come at home. The match is on FloSports if you feel like paying up to watch this one, but we'll have it covered if you choose not to. 

Soccer Can't Complete Same Comeback in 2-1 Loss

Louisville hosted BC in what was expected to be a double header with the men's squad but quickly found themselves in a race against the rain. It had been gray and rained off and on all day, but things cleared up for most of the match. The field conditions made for a tricky match, but the air stayed mostly dry. Louisville suited up in pink uniforms, which I hadn't seen before. I'd become accustomed to the black or white uniforms trimmed in pink, but they wore bubblegum tops yesterday. Since the color was light enough, BC wore their burgundy jerseys, setting up for a somewhat uncommon color-on-color matchup in collegiate soccer. 

Louisville appeared to have some momentum early, as they earned a pair of corners in the first five minutes. Unfortunately, as has been the case for much of the season, the Cards were unable to capitalize on the most common set piece in the game. They came away with no shots from either opportunity. In the ninth minute, Louisville picked up the first shot of the game, but Delaney Snyder's effort was off the mark.

The offensive groove then decided to swap in favor of Boston College for a bit. The Eagles worked their offense into an attacking position but were whistled for offsides. After the kick, they won the ball back and went to work again, this time setting up a shot, forcing Gabby Kouzelos into a save. Louisville briefly had a look offensively, but an offsides call put them back on their heels. A foul and a corner kick set BC up in the attacking third, and they ultimately capitalized with a delayed goal from the corner in the 17th minute. Louisville's defense appeared to hold up when they thought the play should be whistled for offsides, but the whistle never came, and Laura Gauvin gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead. 

The goal seemed to reinvigorate the Cards, as the next ten minutes saw Louisville grab three shots and earn two corners, while BC's only offensive threat was called offsides. However, all three Louisville shots were off frame and both corners, again, resulted in nothing. As BC mounted another offensive effort, they were briefly thwarted by another offsides (BC was ultimately called off eight times in the match), but they were undeterred again. The Eagles earned another corner, this time handled a bit better by Louisville, and continued their offensive pressure. In the 34th, Ella Richards' shot was off the post, and the Cards narrowly escaped going down 2-0. Louisville was once again woken up offensively by the scare, as they controlled the ball for the rest of the half. Shortly after the woodwork save, the Cards grabbed two more shots, their first two on frame of the match, but BC's Wiebke Willebrandt was up to the task. Louisville would pick up one more shot in the half but it was off target, and they headed to the locker room down 1-0.

Entering yesterday's match, the Cards were just 1-4-1 when conceding first this season, so the odds were not in their favor. Prior to the NC State match, Louisville had not lost (7-0-1) when scoring a goal, but that streak had also been broken when they failed to complete the comeback against the Wolfpack. Louisville needed to score quickly in the second to get on track in this one, but it wasn't to be. The Cards earned the first shot of the half, when Emma Hiscock found an opportunity just two minutes in, but her shot was wide. BC quickly punished. Exactly four minutes into the half, the Eagles doubled their advantage with an unassisted goal by Jenna Bike, set up by a Louisville foul. 

Both teams turned it up over the next twenty minutes, trading shots both on and off target, and getting chippier by the minute. Maisie Whitsett was the first into the book when she earned a yellow card in the 70th minute. Two minutes later, Louisville found themselves defending in the box and Anouk Denton found herself in the book alongside Whitsett. Denton was shown the yellow card and BC was shown the penalty spot. 

Despite having their leading goal scorer on the field, BC sent Michela Agresti, a player who hadn't scored this season, to take the shot. This worked out for Louisville, as Kouzelos was able to gather the save and keep the deficit at just two goals. 

After that scare, Louisville was against the ropes. After BC earned another corner and missed another shot, the Cards responded by keeping primary control of the ball for the final fifteen minutes. BC would manage only to earn two offsides calls while trying to kill clock, and Louisville upped the pressure. Their efforts culminated in a Julia Simon goal in the 87th minute, assisted by Delaney Snyder. The Cards had two more chances, but they were called offsides while trying to score immediately after the goal and again on their final effort with just twenty seconds remaining in the match. The final was 2-1, with Boston College earning its first conference win of the season.

When I last wrote about Louisville's chances of making the conference tournament, this and the NC State match were ones I expected the Cards to win. I was also working under the assumption that there would be the standard eight teams in the conference tournament. Since then, we've confirmed that there will be only six teams playing for the conference title.

 As such, Louisville's chances of making the conference tournament are slim, and those of making the NCAA tournament even slimmer. Had Louisville managed a win in either of the last two, or a draw in both, they would sit in the sixth place position. Instead, they are in a three-way tie for seventh with 9 points, with UNC (6th-11), Clemson, and NC State all having a game in hand over the Cards. NC State and UNC play today, but Louisville could easily enter next week alone in ninth. The Cards get Virginia (A), Clemson (A), and Duke (H) to finish the season, easily the most difficult remaining schedule of the three teams they're fighting for that sixth seed. Unfortunately, there may be just three games left for this Louisville squad this season.

Volleyball Sweeps 8th Straight Match

Things got a bit dicey in the second set yesterday evening when the Cards' 23-set winning streak found itself on the line at Virginia Tech. Louisville recovered, though, to pick up another sweep and give Coach Dani Busboom-Kelly her 100th coaching victory at UofL. That many wins in fewer than five complete seasons, when one of those seasons was shortened, is nothing short of amazing if you ask me. The Cards didn't have it easy in any set, ultimately winning 25-20, 30-28, and 25-22, but a win is a win and a sweep is a sweep. The Cards moved to 17-0 overall, and should stay safely in second place in the country.

The Cards weren't nearly as crisp in this one as they have been of late, which you might have guessed since they were in danger of dropping a set to a team that is winless in conference play and sat at just .500 overall. Louisville ultimately finished with a 0.295 hitting percentage, well below the 0.320 season average they had entering the match. They were also outblocked for the first time in what feels like forever, finishing with just six on the night, over a block per set fewer than their average. Louisville did win the serving game, going 5-8 compared to VT's 3-10, which was particularly useful in that overtime second set in which VT had service errors on multiple game point attempts. 

The sets were exciting or frustrating, depending on how you'd like to view them. Both teams played fairly evenly, with no major swings in the first or second set. Louisville's four point run to close the first set matched VT's longest of the set, and neither had a run longer than four in the second set either. The third set is where some of the frustration might creep in, as Louisville looked poised to put a more-difficult-than-necessary match behind them when they used a three-point run to take a 21-13 lead. Instead, they gave up nine of the next eleven points to make it 23-22 before taking the last two to win and get out of town. The Cards added to their sixteen hitting errors and eight service errors with an uncharacteristic pair of handling errors, but let's hope they'll clean it all up before the next match. 

There was a lot of positive from the match as well, aside from the obvious facts that they swept their eighth straight match and have won 25 straight sets dating back to the five set thriller over Kentucky over a month ago. Anna Stevenson led the way in this one crushing a .526 hitting percentage on her way to 13 kills.

 That lead is impressive, considering there wasn't a lot of offensive rotation in this one, with just three outside hitters getting attempts. Those three split their work evenly, with Anna DeBeer and Claire Chaussee both grabbing eight kills and Aiko Jones adding seven. Amaya Tillman had five and Tori Dilfer had three and that was all the offense Louisville needed. Nena Mbonu sat this one out in a walking boot. No Cardinal had more than three attacking errors individually, so it was a very even, if not abnormal, match for the Cards.

Louisville continues their road swing tomorrow against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are just 11-7 (2-5) this season, but they are coming off of a confidence boosting sweep over Notre Dame. Ideally, Louisville will get back to firing on all cylinders and will make short work of Wake so that they can go into the back portion of the schedule with a bit of a break. The Cards will return home next week to host Virginia before the real work begins. Louisville still has two against Pitt, two against Notre Dame, and matches against GT and NC State to play this season. The first against Pitt comes next Sunday, but Louisville will need to take care of business in the two matches prior to ensure that the Panthers cannot use a victory to take an outright conference lead. Tomorrow's match will be on linear cable, with it getting the regional sports network treatment. That's Bally Sports South, formerly the Fox Sports networks, here in town. First serve is scheduled for 1PM.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

As I mentioned, I'm back to what should be a more regular schedule now, so I'll be back on the show this week. I apologize, if you're a podcast listener, that the last two weeks were YouTube only. I was unable to post the show to the podcast feed and didn't get the chance to get it squared away so Jeff could do it. All of that aside, we should have an exciting show lined up for you this week, as we cover all there was in the week of UofL women's athletics and look ahead at the weeks to come. Basketball is just around the corner, so things at Cardinal Couple are sure to get even more hectic soon. 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
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Overcast (free account required): Link
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Until next time, Go Cards!