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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cardinal Couple Thursday Spectacular

(OK, maybe not so very spectacular, but we do have a few interesting tidbits to talk about.)


( Staff Columnist Jeff McAdams with the report today on women's golf and NCAA Volleyball. Last seen, he was wandering the hallways of the Cardinal Couple Worldwide Corporate offices with a 5-iron in his hand, volleyball under his arm and dressed in nothing but a volleyball net and souvenir program for the NCAA Championships...yelling either "Fore" or "Set" randomly.)

- Tennis in the ACC

- Volleyball Championships have Arrived

- Volleyball All-Americans Announced

-  Hammond to miss Colorado game.

Tennis in the ACC

Paulie asked me, in our look at how our athletics teams match up with our upcoming ACC competition, to cover Tennis.

Tennis...that's the sport where they use that funny scoring system, right?  I must admit to not following Tennis much, so let's take a look at the ACC standings and see where they stack up in overall rankings.

For comparison, the Louisville Women's Tennis team finished up last season 13-10.

In the ACC, last season:
1. Duke (29-3, 11-0)
2. North Carolina (24-7, 10-1)
3. Miami (FL) (20-5, 9-2)
4. Clemson (17-9, 8-3)
5. Virginia (19-10, 7-4)
6. Georgia Tech (16-12, 6-5)
7. Florida State (13-11, 5-6)
8. Virginia Tech (12-13, 3-8)
9. Boston College (10-13, 3-8)
10. NC State (8-16, 3-8)
11. the departing Maryland (7-15, 1-10)
12. Wake Forest (3-18, 0-11)

So that looks like we fit in around 7th or 8th.  That's a little daunting.

Let's see how current and future ACC teams are looking in the ITA Top 25:
3. Duke
8. North Carolina
9. Miami (FL)
15. Virginia
19. Notre Dame
20. Georgia Tech
25. Clemson

I gotta say, that looks pretty impressive.  Looks like yet another sport that will challenge our Cardinals to greater heights. Mark Beckham has two of the finest in the nation in Rebecca Shine and Julia Fellerhoff and they will lead the Cardinal charge.


VolleyBall Championships have Arrived

If you have followed my ramblings here at all this fall, you know that Louisville has the honor of hosting the NCAA Semifinal and Championship matches.  These matches kick off tonight at 7pm with 3 seed Texas and unseeded Michigan.  The nightcap should get started around 9pm with top seed Penn State playing 5th seed Oregon.

Our Cardinal team finished off the year with a 30-4 record.  Of those 4 losses, 3 of them were to teams that have advanced to the Semifinals (Penn State, Texas, and Michigan)...which takes a little of the sting out of them, I should think.

Oregon arrived in Louisville early in the week, on Sunday, which is somewhat understandable since they would have the most jetlag to overcome.  Because of their early arrival, they borrowed the Cardinals practice facility at the Yum! Center on campus.  They also are apparently borrowing our pep band as theirs apparently couldn't make the long trip.

The other three teams arrived Tuesday.  No news if any of the other teams are borrowing a band from Bellermine or elsewhere.

(Editor note: Timmy the Intern and Co-Co offered to bring a kazoo and harmonica to support the Texas squad musically. They haven't heard back from them yet. They do a great version of "Louie, Louie" and "Stairway to Heaven".)

One roster note of local interest.  Penn State, perennial volleyball powerhouse, has one Deja McClendon as an outside hitter.  Deja is from Louisville, playing her high school ball at duPont Manual.  Deja's younger sister, Maya, has signed to play with the Cardinals next year.

Tickets are still available at the KFC Yum! Center, though the word is that they have generally sold well.  The NCAA, and UofL are looking to break the all-time attendance record for a volleyball match, so come on down and check out the action.

Volleyball All-Americans Announced

Lola Arslanbekova was named a 2nd team All-American, while Gwen Rucker picked up a 3rd team nod.  Caitlin Welch...only a junior, an honorable mention.

Congratulations to these three and thanks for representing Louisville so well.

Also congratulations to Gwen Rucker for graduating today with a degree in Actuarial Science.

( Great report today from Jeff McAdams and he'll be keeping us in the loop on the action in the KFC YUM! Center Thursday and four teams enter, but one only will emerge as the National Champion.)


Our prayers go out to Sara Hammond and her family, who just lost their grandmother. Always tough to lose a family member and you all are in our thoughts during this tough time.

Hammond will not accompany the Lady Cards on their trip to Colorado for the Friday night game against the Buffs.

One of the most beautiful and thoughtful statements that we've ever heard about a death of a loved one goes like this. This is for you and your family, Sara.

Your pain is over
Although we still ache
You'd tell us not to
You'd tell us to make...

Every day a bright one
Each moment quite dear
Because we never really know
How long we'll be here.

Your life was special
You touched so many
The lives you changed
Were grateful and plenty

We'll meet again
Of this I am sure
While you're gone, we'll carry on
We will endure.

So, fly with the Angels
Smile down on us below
Thank you for helping
All of us grow.




  1. Very impressive that the Cards played three of the Final four. Hope Louisville represents well with a huge turnout for the NCAA Championships.

    Curtis Franklin

  2. Well said, Sonja! My sympathies to the Hammond family.

    --Joe Hill--

    1. Indeed, thank you Sonja. I almost wrote about this situation...I knew that Sara hadn't made the trip...but didn't know if her grandmother had passed already or was "just" drawing near...and I *really* didn't want to get something like that wrong.

      My thoughts are with Sara and her family.

    2. My prayers and thoughts are with the Hammonds also. I lost my grandmother in October and miss her each and every day. She lives on, though, in my fond memories.

      Blue Lou

    3. Beautiful sentiments, Sonja!

      Jeff, who do you think will win the NCAA Volleyball Final Four? I saw Penn State play Louisville and thought they looked like the best opponent Louisville played all season. Is the younger McClendon as good as her older sister?


      UofL Fan

    4. Thanks, all. The words aren't actually mine. I saw them in a sympathy card many years ago that we got when Paul's mom died and held on to the card.


    5. It gives me great pleasure to find this question hard to answer.

      Penn State, of course, is *always* good, and as the top seed, they would be the favorite. Texas is definitely a threat, though. I think Oregon and Michigan are going to find the last part of the road is really tough. Both of them have been seasoned well, thanks to brutal PAC-12 and B1G conference schedules.

      If it were just a question of who's played with the most heart, it would have to go to Michigan.

      I'll be cheering primarily for Michigan...mostly 'cause I'm a sucker for an underdog.

      Realistically, I think its likely to go to Penn State. They are a just a complete team.

      Maya McClendon is probably as good of a player a Deja, perhaps even a bit better from a purely skills perspective. She's not as tall so she may not be quite so dominant up at the net, but the word is that she can jump higher and is more agile in general, so that helps out in other areas. I'll be interested in seeing them match up next year (presuming we play them, which I believe we're slated to)...and it might even be worth the road trip to State College, PA to see.

  3. I just found out that Kaitlynn James is also graduating this evening.

    Congratulations to Kaitlynn and Gwen both.

    1. And, apparently Lola is graduating tonight as well.

      Eventually I will find out about all of them. I do want to make sure to mention them as I find out about them, though...they deserve the recognition.

      Congratulations to Lola, Kaitlynn andd Gwen.

    2. Congrats to all these girls...all representative of the term "student-athlete". All will be missed but have a feeling they'll all be back as alumni to cheer on the team next year and in future seasons.



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