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Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Cardinal Couple -- Softball, Hoops and Tennis



GAME UPDATE...Louisville defeats NIU 7-1 in first game of the FAU Classic. Cards get home runs from Kelsi Jones and Kayla Soles. Caralisa Connell and Maryssa Becker hold Huskies to two hits. Becker with 5 K's.


- Softball ready to get it started

- Louisville WBB holding open media day Fri.

- Tennis sweeps Morehead St.

- Walz says he wants to keep the series going

Louisville softball begins the 2014 season Friday in Boca Raton, FL. with two games...facing Northern Illinois and FAU. Despite the Cards little time to prepare on actual field conditions because of the icy Louisville weather, Sandy Pearsall's crew are ready for the five game opening weekend in the Florida Atlantic Kick-Off Classic.

Louisville will open up against the Northern Illinois Huskies. NIU went 27-31 last season and finished second in the Mid-American Conference Championship. They return two All-MAC first team selections in Nicole Gremillion (.337, 41 runs) and pitcher Jessica Sturm (11-14, 2.93 ERA)

The nightcap pits UofL against the FAU Owls. The Boca Raton batters went 28-29 in 2013 and 1-2 in Sun Belt Conference Tournament play. Sluggers Carnesha Thompson (.312, 10 steals) and Christina Martinez (.307, 51 hits) return for the tournament hosts.

So who will the Cards put on the field? Shortshop Whitney Arion is probably a game-time decision with shoulder issues...let's look at the potential starting lineup...


Caralisa Connell will most likely draw the start. She was 25-5 last year with a 2.45 ERA. Steady Rachel LeCoq will see action in Boca Raton as well. She went 22-8 in 2013 and produced a 2.12 ERA. Both were All-BIG EAST selections. Pearsall will most likely use freshmen Tiarra Sanabria and Maryssa Becker to deliver strikes also during the Classic. 


Maggie Ruckenbrod returns to glove the mound offerings and throw out would-be base-stealers. "Peg" batted .331 last season and has thrown out 23 potential thieves in her career. Taner Fowler, another senior, can don the gear and crouch in front of the ump. It's one of several field positions she's adept at. She swings a mean bat as well...currently seventh in Louisville career home run hitters with 26 bombs over Brandeis St.


Louisville looks to replace Alicja Wolny with either Fowler or transfer Brittany Duncan at the bag. Sanabria or Becker have experience there also. WE expect to see TF there when she isn't behind the plate and Duncan covering if Fowler is catching or at designated hitter.


Three time ALL-BIG EAST Katie Keller will start here for Pearsall. She was a All-American selection last season and hit .402 with 54 RBI's and a team-leading 12 home runs. Pearsall lists freshman Paige Alford and Hannah Kiyohara as backups.


If Arion can't go, Pearsall could look to either Kiyohara or one of the freshmen to cover. Arion, a junior who started there as a freshman, batted .300 in 2013 and was also an ALL BIG-EAST pick. Both Rachel Houck and Autumn McDuffie played shortstop in high school


Kayla Soles will get the nod after Katelyn Mann's graduation. The two shared the spot last year. Soles ive hit .309 and sent five taters out of the garden. Fowler and Rachel Houck can go there if needed.


With Jennifer Esteban and Jordan Trimble graduated, Kiyohara is the lone returning starter. Brittany Sims saw time patrolling the grass last season and will compete with Missouri transfer Kelsi Jones and freshmen Morgan Meyer and Autumn McDuffie if Kiyohara moves to the infield. Jordan McNary, another freshman, will get looks there also.

The Cards get it started today at 4 p.m. against NIU. It'll be on GameTracker and we're pretty sure there will be tweets about it as well through UofLSoftball.


There will be a media opportunity Friday @ 1:30 to talk to UofL head WBB Coach Jeff Walz and selected Cardinal players before the team departs for Connecticut. No word on which players will be answering questions...but CARDINAL COUPLE will be there with the TASCAM DR-05 in hand to digitally record voice impressions.

Linear PCM Recorders rule.

We'll sample the remarks on the SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE Radio Show (11 a.m.) make sure and listen.


The UofL women's tennis team swept Morehead yesterday in the BAss-Rudd Center 7-0.

Winning their volleys were singles participants:

Becca Shine    6-3, 6-3
Manuela Velasquez   6-4, 6-0
Becky Bodine   6-0, 6-0
Cassie Pough   6-5, 6-3
Olivia Boesing  6-2, 6-1

In doubles...

Julia Fellerhoff/Rebecca Shine   6-0
Manuela Velasquez/Elle Stokes   6-0


JOHN ALTAVILA from the Hartford Courant talked with Jeff Walz about the game and the rivalry. His article is below:
Great news from Louisville coach Jeff Walz this afternoon as we all prepare for Sunday’s showdown between No. 1 UConn and No. 4 Louisville at Gampel Pavilion. The game will be for first place in The American between the only two teams without a conference loss so far.

Although Louisville is leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference after the season, Walz says that there have already been substantive talks about a multiple-year deal to play again, likely beginning in 2015-16. Why is this important? Duh? Without Notre Dame, Rutgers and Louisville around next year, UConn is going to need a strong non-conference schedule to keep its attention span in tact – perhaps forever.

The Notre Dame series begins again next year in South Bend. And now Louisville, who has twice lost to UConn in national championship games in the last five years, will likely be back, too.

“I enjoying competing against [Geno Auriemma],” Walz said Thursday. “We have to figure out a way somehow to beat him. So until we do, it’s not a rivalry in my mind. It’s just a game. He is 10-0 against my teams. It’s not a rivalry until we beat him.

“But I have had people calling me, wondering if we’re going to play UConn again after we leave for the ACC next season. Are we going to do it? Yes. We are going to do it. I know it’s hard to prepare for them because there is so much to prepare for. But you know his kids are always going to play hard.

“We’re working on something, although it won’t be next year. I have to be concerned right now
about not killing myself [competitively] after going to the ACC, especially after graduating as many kids as we are [after this season]. I’m likely in a spot where I’ll start two or three freshman next season. But I’m thinking, unless we can figure something out for next year, we will start a two- or four-year home and home in 2015-16. There have already been discussions about it.”

Also, Walz said Louisville will be without both guard Bria Smith and forward Shawnta Dyer on Sunday. Smith has a knee injury; Dyer a stress fracture.

“I wish Bria was healthy,” Walz said. “Her athleticism helps us so much on both ends. But we’re excited about [the game]. It’s going to be fun. Is the end-all, end-all? No. But it’s going to be a great environment to play; two teams excited to play and one of them is going to emerge a game up in first place in the league.”





  1. No Smith against the Huskies? This one will be painful to watch. Continuing the series against the Huskies in future years is a bad idea. The Cards will take there share of losses in ACC play. Why add another automatic one in non-conference play?

    Curtis Franklin

  2. Although Smith's mid-range jumper, driving to the hoop ability and rebounding will be missed, I can't think the absent Smith will doom the Cards.


  3. Because you only get better by playing the best. Look at Notre Dame. A couple years ago they were also getting destroyed by Uconn. Now they can compete with anyone. Our time is coming. Quit whining and support the team. They might surprise you. This is just one game.

    1. Anonymous I am one of the biggest UofL WBB fans out there. I'm also a realist. Why add a loss when wins improve your ranking? Whining? No, I don't think so.

      Curtis Franklin

  4. OT: For Women's Basketball Junkies - Sunday game broadcast schedule is below.
    Obviously UL game is at 1:00 but with internet and DVR's others are available to be followed.
    Unfortunately Fox Sports Network keeps creating ESPN3 Black Outs for several of the games but then plays only 1 of the games in the time slot but on several of their stations regardless of which game they say is playing. This prevents viewing on ESPN3 but then not shown as advertised on the Fox Network. I am making another call to TWC today as they indicate an unawareness of the situation.

    1:00 # 4 Louisville v #1 Connecticut ESPN

    12:00 #15 Kentucky v Florida ESPN3
    1:00 Boston College v Florida State ESPN3 (On Fox Sports If Blocked Out)
    1:30 Memphis v Temple ESPNU
    2:00 Arkansas v # 6 South Carolina ESPN3
    2:00 # 9 Penn State v Ohio State ESPN2
    2:00 Eastern Michigan v Ohio ESPN3 (On Fox Sports If Blocked Out)
    2:00 Georgia Tech v Miami ESPN3 (On Fox Sports If Blocked Out)
    2:30 #16 LSU v # 19 Texas A & M ESPN3 (On Fox Sports If Blocked Out)
    3:00 # 2 Notre Dame v Syracuse ESPN3 (On Fox Sports If Blocked Out)
    3:00 Oklahoma v Kansas ESPN3 (On Fox Sports If Blocked Out)
    3:30 # 3 Stanford v Washington ESPNU
    4:00 # 12 Oklahoma State v # 7 Baylor

  5. Louisville's front line has impressed lately. They will have their hands full with Dolson, Stewart and Stokes. Although I would like to see E, as you call her, see a lot of court time in this one, I think she may be overmatched Sunday and won't do much court time unless Asia or Sara get into serious foul trouble. This is probably Geno's best team since he and Walz have been coaching against each other. It might be Walz's best team also.. Time will tell on both these statements. I see UConn taking a double digit win Sunday but the Cards keeping it under 20. Sadly, Louisville, much like everyone else this season has no answer for stopping Stewart.

    Blue Lou

    1. Offensively they have been playing pretty well, but defensively and rebounding in particular they have been less than stellar. Several times if not most of the time in the last 5 or 10 games, the guards have led the team in rebounding. Sara played over 30 minutes against UCF and got 4 rebounds if I remember correctly.

      Probably every starter on UConn will play in the WNBA. They are an enormous challenge, but I have seen them play poorly for a half or more in January. But recently they have picked it up a some. My hope is they can keep it under 20 points, learn some things about them, and prepare for the home game at the Yum Center where hopefully they can keep it in signal digits or find a way to pull out a win.

      The NCAA comm must rank them in the top 6 if they are to avoid having UConn sent to the Louisville regional as the no. 1 seed. They are supposed to send the overall no 1 seedd to the regional closest to it, but if Louisvuille is selected as a top four team, then they will be no 1 in their regional and UConn will go to Nebraska. The overall no 1 seed is supposed to have the no 8 team s the 2 seed in their regional. If Louiosville is evaluated as no 5 or 6 (overall) no 2 seed, then they will not likely send UConn to have toi play Louisville on its home court, especially if Louisville played them close when the game was at Louisville. Right now it looks like Baylor will wind up the no 1 seed in the Louisville region because they have the easiest schedule from here on. So it could turn out that Louisville and Baylor will meet again in the Louisville final, which I think would be great. But if Louisville gets beat by more than 20 three times by UConn, they could wind up with UConn in their regional as the no 1 seed. in these games whether you get beat by one or 11 or 21 or 31 can make a huge difference in regional seeding. Gary W

  6. How bad is Arion's shoulder?

    1. Getting better. They're hoping she can play today but will probably be a game time decision.


  7. Check out Charlie Springer's UofL Card Game today...a nice vid on Nita Slaughter that was produced by CBS Sports.


    1. Also linked it up on the right side of our site. A good look at human reaction and perception. Walz absolutely right when he says "It's only basketball." Maybe sometimes we forget that. In the fervor of supporting a team and its successes, it's always wise to remember these are student-athletes with their whole lives in front of them.


  8. Just heard on WAVE sports that Shoni is "nursing an injury" Any word on that?

  9. Louisvile WBB Sports information says "No". Must have been referring to Bria and slipped up the names? She looked like the same ol' Shoni at practice today.



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