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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lacrosse wins vs. Rutgers...Tennis loses at Rice...WE discuss "overrecruiting"

SATURDAY...THUNDER Day in Louisville

Liz Lovejoy had a big day Friday...four goals in the win


-Lacrosse rallies to beat Rutgers

-Women's Tennis falls to Owls

-Louisville holds football Spring game

-Over-recruiting? Don't think so...

Louisville lacrosse rallied from a 5-3 halftime deficit to defeat the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 10-8 at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium. Worries over inclement weather were soothed as the rains never came during the action. Louisville, though, seemed to be under a cloud early on in the contest...falling behind to the Piscataway players 4-0 12 minutes into the game. Louisville (9-4, 2-2) fell even further behind at the start of the second half before a rally led by Lix Lovejoy and Bergan Foley produced three consecutive point and tied the contest at 6-6. The Cards took a 7-6 lead when Lianne Bobal found the back of the net.

Rutgers tied the contest at seven but Louisville finished strong and scored three of the games final goals for the win. Two goals by Lovejoy and a score by freshman Nikki Boltja gave the Cards the contest. Freshman Ashley Herbst manned the pipes in this one, limiting the Scarlet Knights to eight goals while making eight saves.


Cardinal women's tennis took a thumping on the road from the Rice Owls yesterday 7-0. Julia Fellerhoff and Rebecca Shine fell in doubles 8-5 to the Owls and both players lost their singles matches as well. The Cards end the regular season today at Houston and then will prepare for the BIG EAST Championships next week. Louisville is 11-10 on the year going into the season ending match against the Cougars.


A disappointingly small crowd showed up for the UofL Spring Football game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. It may have been that fans were scared off by the threat of inclement weather...or that a lot of play makers from last season weren't going to participate while recovering from injuries. For those who attended, they got to see some nice running from senior tailback Vic Anderson and all three Louisville quarterbacks tossed the ball around with accuracy. The game last night reminded us of the early days of the Schnellenberger reign...when the team would play in front of small crowds at the Fairgrounds. One interesting sidebar was that UofL P.A. announcer Sean Moth called the action from the field instead of the press box. Red team won 31-14...which doesn't mean a thing...since the players were pretty much interchangeable throughout the contest and it was "offense (Red) vs. defense (White)."

There... We've appeased the readers who complain that we never cover men's sports at UofL here at CARDINAL COUPLE.


Former Lady Card Janae Howard has left WKU also.
Did Walz "run her off" from there , too? People...please...
WE'VE noticed lately that critics and pundits of the University of Louisville women's basketball program have started rattling that old sabre called 'over-recruiting' when they talk about this year's Lady Cardinal signees and transfers. We've even seen a post where the writer tried to make a comparison between former UofL football coach Bobby Petrino and current UofL women's basketball coach Jeff Walz. Hogwash, WE say....Never heard of Walz meeting a plane from Auburn in New Albany to discuss the head coaching job...

We've seen writings where Walz has been blasted for bringing in talented players that "force others out the door" this a survival camp or something?

Mostly, WE's a case of sour grapes...this bashing of trying to improve a program by recruiting the best players you can. Do you want Louisville to mirror Villanova WBB...where the emphasis is on recruiting around the Philly Catholic high school programs? Maybe Walz should refuse to take a player because it might cause someone who averages five minutes a game to leave? Get a grip, people. These are facts below and they cannot be disputed:

1) Jeff Walz is one of the best young recruiters in women's college basketball
2) The LADY CARDS play in the BIG EAST..the best conference in WBB.
3) Players like to go where they have a chance to play for good teams.
4) Walz expects a lot out of his players and they practice hard and train hard.
5) Some players are better than others and to need better players.

Take the case of Janae Howard, for example. A talented wing with a deadly three point shot, she was highly recruited out of high school and left the Owensboro area to attend Louisville on scholarship. She arrived at Louisville with a talented incoming class of Monique Reid, Becky Burke, Gwen Rucker, Mary Jackson and Tiera Stephen...a freshman class considered the best ever at that time for Louisville women's basketball.

Howard played sparingly her freshmen year but was on a national championship runner up team at Louisville and saw action in each of the Cards NCAA Tournament games that year. She decided to transfer, though...and attend Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY. Much closer to home and promised a chance to get the playing time she sought. She sat out a year. If she had remained at Louisville, chances are she would have seen tons of minutes on a Cardinal squad that was decimated by injuries and down to six or seven players at times.

Finally, this year...she got back on the court. She started for the Hilltoppers...had 30 points in one game, but decided to leave the team for personal reasons before the season ended. We use this example of Howard just to emphasize our point. The reasons why players transfer are as varied as the reasons players decide to attend a school. Players come, players go. Happens in other programs besides Louisville.

Howard wasn't the only member of that heralded 2008 recruit class to leave. Mary Jackson returned to Memphis...where she plays for the UM Tigers in a backup role. Tiera Stephen transferred to Wisconsin where she is a backup guard. Gwen Rucker played two seasons for Louisville women's basketball while also playing volleyball before deciding to concentrate on the wide net sport. She's a three year starter and will be a senior leader for Anne Kordes' 2011-12 volleyball squad. Each made a decision that was in their best interests. None of these three were "forced out"...yet critics and fans from other schools harp on the Cardinal transfers when they discuss Louisville recruiting. Jealously knows no bounds. We would point out, in fairness...that Reid and Burke are still on the team, will be seniors this upcoming season and have been valuable contributors to Louisville women's basketball during their stay here.

Players come, players go. Where would Louisville have been this year if Tia Gibbs hadn't decided to transfer to Louisville from Vanderbilt? Cierra Robertson Warren will be an awesome force in the upcoming season for Louisville in the post...she transferred here from North Carolina. Shelby Harper made a commitment to walk on the Louisville squad as a freshman and has become a crowd favorite and streaking blond blur with the basketball.

A small, unimpressive former ball boy for the New York Knicks decided to attend the University of Kentucky a few years back. He knew playing time would be limited. He sat the bench for four years under the coaching of Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith. He learned, he watched....he didn't play much. He became an assistant coach, worked at several places and eventually ended up as a key assistant under Rick Pitino at Louisville. He is now the head coach of Manhattan University.

Steve Masiello paid the dues and prospered.

Louisville will welcome recruits Sara Hammond, Jude Schimmel, Monney Esther Niamke and possibly one or two more for the 2011-12 season. Schimmel and Hammond have sent letters of intent. WE feel Monney's is pending soon. Bria Smith is visiting the campus. All are top notch players that will impact the future of Louisville women's hoops in the future. Over-recruiting? We hardly think so. Creating a nucleus of quality position players to build on the success of the University of Louisville's women's basketball program...definitely. Will all this "come back to haunt Walz and the coaching staff" ?

Only if you consider success as haunting...

Over-recruiting and "recruiting over "players at Louisville? No. Seeking players to build the program. Yes. Don't confuse the two, pundits. Players come. players go. Those that succeed are usually those who listen and learn.


  1. +1. Could it be that the critics are hypocrites? Where's the outrage at UConn over Walker? If Shoni Schimmel had transferred to Kentucky last December, there might be reason to question Walz. She didn't. There isn't.
    -PDX Phil

  2. Plus 1 indeed, Phil. You get good players.


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