SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Softball Dinner features Danielle Lawrie
- WBB faces St John's today
The 2013 University of Louisville Bullpen Softball dinner was held Saturday night at the Hyatt in downtown Louisville and featured Olympian and NCAA Championship pitcher Danielle Lawrie from the University of Washington. A capacity crowd packed into the Hyatt Ballroom to hear the evening's events that were emceed by Cardinal public address announcer and all-around good guy Sean Moth.
The evening began with a cocktail hour and silent auction that featured everything from Cardinal softball gear to bean bag boards and Charlie Strong Makers' Mark bottles.
Unfortunately, CARDINAL COUPLE's bid on a UofL Softball windbreaker and visor fell short of winning...but it was good to stand around and talk with the people in attendance...including Shoni Schimmel, Becky Burke and hundreds of Cardinal Softball fans.
Shortly before the crowd moved from the hospitality area to the ballroom tables, we caught up with freshman Jasmine Smithson-Willett and got a quick Q &A in.
She's thrilled to be at Louisville and really loves the city and her teammates. At first, she was a little overwhelmed by the speed and quickness of the college game but has adjusted nicely. She's willing to do anything for the team and mentioned that when Coach Pearsall was looking for left-handed hitters to do the slap hit and beat out throws to first, she jumped right and showed coach her ability to perform the maneuver. Her biggest smile came when we talked about the road trip coming up to Vegas and the chance for her family to come in from California and see her play.
Before we knew it, we were at our table and got to see several great videos about the team's preparation for the upcoming season and hear several players talk about their dedication and commitment to the team. Coach Carol Bruggerman then took over the podium and awards were presented to Tori (Collins) Heyman, Chelsea Leonard (who led the nation in saves) and Taner Fowler (All-American).
Next it was Coach Pearsall to the podium and she was effusive in her praise for her support staff, coaches and players. She recalled the great moments of last season and could hardly contain her enthusiasm when speaking about the current group of Softball Cards and the challenges they lay ahead for them.
"It's tough competition, but the girls that are back are a year older and that means quite a lot in softball" Pearsall informed the crowd.
At the end of her remarks, Coach was presented with an autographed bat from the players who helped her acheive her 500th. win last season.
"I really wasn't that aware of it when number 500 happened, but shortly after the game...my phone started exploding with texts congratualating me on the acheivement, mostly my players....they're a special group of ladies." Pearsall reflected.
Featured keynote speaker Danielle Lawrie has had an amazing journey in her young life and kept the crowd captive and hanging on each word as she recounted it. Chosen to play on the Canadian National Team at the age of eighteen...she was the pitcher that recorded Canada's first win ever over Team USA.
As she recalled her collegiate years at the University of Washington, Lawrie made note of the challenges she faced and her drive and desire to conquer them. From a extremely competitive family that includes a brother in Major League Baseball who plays for the Toronto Blue Jays, she recalled how her father would never keep (and toss in the trash) any second place trophy that someone in the family had been awarded and that her brother wouldn't talk to her for three months after she beat him in a game of bean bag toss.
Lawrie was a wonderfully entertaining and inspirational speaker as she took us through her collegiate years and Olympic experience. Her message to the crowd and players was clear...set your goals and stay dedicated to acheiving them. After fielding a few questions from Sean Moth, Lawrie's time on the stage and the evening was over. It hardly seemed that it had started...
A excellent time with a very special group of college athletes, coaches and Cardinal fans last night. We appreciate the opportunity provided to us to cover the event and can tell you that Cardinal Softball is rip-roaring ready to go this year and the players and staff would love to see you support them even more than last year (if that's possible) at Ulmer Stadium.
We'll be there. We hope you join us! You DON'T want to miss it...
( Quentin Voigt brings us the scout on Louisville WBB's next hardwood opponent today...the St John's Red Storm.)
ROCKIN' WITH THE RED STORM
St. John rolls into the KFC YUM! Center for a 1:30 p.m. match up against the Cards today. If you go, go early...because it's Louie the Cardinal Bird's birthday and free pizza, ice cream and cake will be provided pre-game for the fans. We think you should go.
Joe Tartanella has been a coach at St John's for nine years but this is his first as the head coach. He took over for Kim Barnes Arico, who accepted the head coaching job at Michigan. She's currently 3-0 in the BIG TEN for the Wolverines. Tartanella is an excellent recruiter and has two players currently on the roster that he pulled away from ACC schools and will play next season. Danaejah Grant is a 5'9" guard who began her career at Clemson and will have three years remaining as a Red Storm. Selena Archer is a 6'4" post who originally signed with Miami and will have two years of eligibility for SJU.
St.John's averages 59.8 ppg and shoots 39% from the floor. They're 27.2% from beyond the arc. They hit 64.7% from the free throw line and average 40.8 rebounds a contest. The Johnnies dish out 11.5 assists a game, commit 14.1 turnovers and create 8.4 steals a game.
SJU is 9-8 on the year and 3-2 in the BIG EAST. Conference wins have come against Rutgers by four, Seton Hall by 28 and Pitt by 29. Losses occurred to Notre Dame by 24 and to Syracuse by three.
Shenneika Smith leads the SJU attack with 16.1 ppg . Nadriah McKenith adds 12.7, Amber Thompson is good for strong offensive and rebounding as well.
I don't see a lot of Red Storm rain dropping on Louie's birthday festivities today and the Lady Cards give him a 10-point birthday gift.
Smith and McKenith are better guards than any two Coach Walz can put out there and they proved it twice last year in sweeping the Cards. Does that mean they'll win again today? Not necessarily.
Tartanella is a good coach, but he doesn't have the ability that KBA had when she was there to get over 100% out of the Red Storm players.
Sho and Mo show has a command performance at the matinee today and the ever-steady "Need a" Slaughter?" (Of course, we need a Slaughter!) helps the Cards bring this one home in true Cardiac fashion. Louisville by 3 and it may take five extra minutes to do it in...
|Quinnipiac beat you? Serioulsy?
Time to return the favor to a squad that beat UofL twice last year. Time to get out a little "southern in-hosptiality" as we face the Red Storm maybe for the last time. Think about it, do you really want to schedule a non-conference home and away with a school that struggles to get 500 to watch them when they're at home? Beat 'em and wave good-bye as your showing them the door.