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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cardinal Couple Thursday




(Columnist Jeff McAdams isn't talking about Julie Hermann today. He looks
at the Women's College World Series today. Just as well, some journalist
in Jersey will probably break news that Julie Hermann puts strawberries in her
bowl of Cheerios or she refused the automatic transmission fluid check eight
years ago when she had the oil changed in her car. Play Ball!)

As we reach the end of May, topics in women's athletics are getting to be slim pickings.

No, I won't be writing another opinion piece about whether Rutgers should stand by their hiring of Julie Hermann, or whether its reasonable to expect someone to remember being in a wedding from 15 years ago of someone that long ago ceased being a part of one's life.  Frankly, my interest in this as a media story has waned far faster than, it seems, the media's has.

There is, however, a women's athletics event that I will be trying to keep track of that starts today.  The Women's College World Series (WCWS) kicks off today in Oklahoma City with four games on the schedule.

Women's College World Series

The WCWS is played as two separate, four team, double-elimination brackets, then a best of three series between the two winners of the brackets.  This somewhat mirrors the Regional and Super-Regional structure of the broader portion of the overall tournament where four teams compete in a double-elimination bracket to advance to a Super-Regional with another Regional winner in a best of three series.

Play kicks off at noon between 11th seed Washington taking on 14th seed Nebraska.  Both teams upset higher seeds in their Super-Regionals to advance to the WCWS, which means they both spent the past weekend on the road.  The winner plays tomorrow in the 7:00pm game against the winner of the 2:30pm, #7 Tennessee vs #2 Florida game.  Both Tennessee and Florida were the higher seeds in their Super-Regional (Florida beat UAB who came out of the Louisville Regional), so they have the benefit of having played at home the past weekend, and as such may be slightly better rested.  The losers of these games move to the elimination half of the bracket and will play each other Saturday at noon.  Other games in this bracket include another elimination game (winner of the Saturday noon game, vs the loser of tomorrow's 7pm game), the winner of that game meets up with the remaining undefeated team Sunday at 1pm, and if the team that came from the elimination half of the bracket wins, the "if necessary" game will be Sunday evening at 7:00pm.

The other bracket starts this evening with a 7pm game between #5 Arizona State (who defeated UK 2-0 in the Super-Regional matchup) with #4 Texas.  The nightcap is at 9:30 between 8 seed Michigan, and top seed (and prohibitive favorite) Oklahoma.  All of these teams were the higher seed in their Super-Regionals, so all got to sleep in their own beds last weekend.  The winners of these two games play Friday at 9:30pm.  The first elimination game would be Saturday at 2:30pm.  The second elimination game will take place Saturday evening at 9:30pm.  The elimination side of the bracket meets back up with the undefeated team Sunday at 3:30pm.  The "if necessary" game is scheduled for 9:30pm, though one wonders if the "if necessary" game would go at 7:00pm if the other bracket didn't need to play its "if necessary" game.

The winners of these two brackets, will then play a best of three series with games on Monday and Tuesday, and an "if necessary" happening Wednesday.

All games are on ESPN and ESPN2.

After this is all over?  Well, its a long time until mid-August when volleyball gets into pre-season matches.


Alicja Wolny and Katie Keller have been recognized for their contributions to Louisville
Softball by being named to the NFCA All-American second team. They are the seventh and eighth
players in Louisville Softball history to receive such an honor. Lacy Wood (2006), Kristen Wadwell (2009) Melissa Roth (2009, 2010) Tori Collins (2012) and Taner Fowler (2012) are also alumnae of
this prestigious award.
The Big Wol ready to send
one over the fence.
Wolny, a senior first baseman from El Dorado Hills, CA. led the Cards with a .423 batting average this season and had 11 fence clearer's. Keller, a junior second baseman...led the Cards in batting most of the season before finishing with a .402 average. She did lead the squad with 12 round-trippers.

Louisville (47-13) ended up #12 in the Collegiate Poll and in the USA Today/NFCA coaches' poll.

Louisville has Keller, Taner Fowler, Hannah Kiyohara, Kayla Soles, Maggie Ruckenbrod, Ally Vaughn, Brittany Sims, Whitney Arion and eight talented new Cardinals arriving on campus this fall, Jordan Trimble is listed as a red-shirt junior as well, so I'm under the assumption we'll see her in centerfield next year. Still no word on the official status of freshman Jasmine Smithson-Willett.

Louisville looks well-positioned to compete as a conference leader next year. Pitchers Caralisa Connell and Rachel LeCoq, who had all 47 wins between them, also return for duties inside the circle.

-Jeff McAdams



  1. Are any incoming players pitchers or if Smithson- Willett were to stay do you know if her pitching skills were planned to be called upon more regularly. Any information as to why she was not used more than she was as pitching appeared to be a weak spot. It appeared that we did well the year before with 3 pitchers available and used for starting and/or relief duties but were hurt this year when knee issues of an expected pitcher left us without one anticipated pitcher. Thought / info?

    1. Without having full knowledge of what Coutrney Scott (pitching coach at Louisville) or Coach P's strategies were, I can only assume that Smithson-Willet's performance against UNLV early in the season could have been a determining factor on why she didn't receive more chances in the circle. It's also important to remember that all the runs scored that day weren't totally her fault...there were a couple of fielding errors. And, after that...she had the leg injury which had her on the sidelines. Connell and LeCoq also did a very good job for 58 of the 60 games and both should heal and be ready for next season.

      Smithson-Willett served the team well when she came back, replacing injured Jen Esteban in the outfield and was widely recognized as one of the fastest Softball Cards on the roster. WE have no official word on whether she sought and/or reeceived a transfer.

      As far as the eight incoming players go...Maryssa Becker (Medford, OR/Washington LadyHawks) and Tiarra Sanbria (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown H.S.) are listed as pitchers and Coach Pearsall has commented that both will have an impact on Louisville pitching down the road.

      Three pitchers (or more) is a plus and UAB is an example of a team who used three pitchers successfully in their season. Louisville had success with it, as well, when Collins, Leonard and Connell took turns in the rotation two years ago.

      Ultimately, though...the decision rests with pitching coach Coutrney Scott and Coach P. They see these players much, much more than we do and know what the squad's specific needs are inside the circle and what they can depend on and have at hand.


    2. You can still watch UNLV game on Gametracker, and actual footage of Jasmine pitching in that game on Youtube. Only ONE run is charged to Jasmine, ZERO walks, and that run only got on base due to an error by short stop. She only pithed for a few minutes of the final inning,(the game was already lost) then was pulled. Jasmine was a Coach Marr recruit, and had she still been at Louisville maybe things would have been different. But the "bad outing" theory is just not so. If having one bad inning got you pulled, then I suspect UCLA wouldn't have scored so many runs!

    3. The official stat line shows that JSW faced four batters, the first getting on base via shortstop error and then three singles before Connell was brought in to replace her. 3 earned runs, no walks, no outs.

      Agreed that four batters isn't much of a chance to let her do her stuff.

      BTW, does anyone there know if she actually requested and received a release from her scholarship? No one is talking...


    4. Yes, she asked for release and received it yesterday. Louisville is a beautiful town, wonderful people, and GREAT fans. It was a heartbreaking decision for her to make, having been a Cardinal at heart since verbaling 4 years ago. However, it was hard to stay somewhere that had no faith in her. They have their pitcher, they have great faith in that pitcher, and I hope next year goes better for the team. But no one EVER grows sitting on a bench.

  2. Thanks for the break from Julie Hermann. It is now just like spoiled kids crying because they have to eat their vegetables. Rutgers has made their bed and now must lie in it. Do any of these journalists actually think they are going to get her fired. I applaud your "Julie Free Zone" today and hope it continues tomorrow and forever.

    You are a women's sports site for UofL. Stay on target.

    Blue Lou


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