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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday Cardinal Couple - Softball beats the Redbirds, Boltja honored and 1 or 2?


- Duncan's big day leads Cards to 7-3 win

-Nikki Boltja named BIG EAST Lacrosse Player of Week

- #1 or #2? What's your point of view?

We've talked before here at the ol' Cardinal Couple about the long range hitting capabilities of the Louisville Softball team. Of how traffic on Brandeis and Floyd might need to keep a needful eye out when Pearsall's Pulverizers are playing at the Ulmer.

Brittany Duncan led credence to our conversations on Tuesday went she sent two out of the ballpark in Louisville's 7-3 win over Illinois State. Kelsi Jones also said goodbye to Mr. Spalding in the UofL win.

The Cards jumped on the Redbirds early in this one...five runs in the first. With two outs and Katie Keller and Maryssa Becker on base, Duncan sent one over the black chain link fence to make it 3-0 Cards. Maggie Ruckenbrod and Taner Fowler followed with doubles and Hannah Kiyohara added a single to give the Cards a sizeable lead after one.

Illinois State decided to make it interesting...with three runs off starter Rachel LeCoq in the third...but a solo shot from Jones in the fourth (her sixth of the year) and a bomber from Duncan in the fifth added to the winning margin for UofL.

Caralisa Connell finished for LeCoq and provided six strikeouts in 4.1 innings.

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In her four years as a UofL Lacrosse attacker, Nikki Boltja has gained a conference and nationwide reputation as a hard worker and scorer.

The BIG EAST has named her Player of the Week for the second time this season based on her efforts against Ohio State and Notre Dame last week. Tricky Nikki had eight goals and two assists and moved to fourth on the all-time goals scored list at Louisville, her 152 career scores got her past Cardinal favorite Emily Dashiell (2008-11).

She leads the BIG EAST this season in goals per game (4.29) and is second nationally with 30 net-finders this season.

Kaylin Morissette, the Ontario sophomore with radar range as well, was named to the league's weekly honor roll for the third time time season. When it comes to draw controls, Kaylin is superb...with 118 career...which is already third best in school history.

Louisville will stay home this week. A scheduled game against Canisius for today in Buffalo has been cancelled due to expected rough weather. Louisville hosts Drexel Saturday at 1 p.m.

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Now that the Cards only season in the AAC in women's basketball has come to an end, thoughts turn to the NCAA Tournament. Actually, we've been thinking about it for some time...with Louisville hosting a regional in a mere 17 days.

Where will the Cards be seeded? A #1 or #2 appears to be in the offing, according to those who track and pontificate about such things.

Two of the four #1 seeds are locked up with UConn and Notre Dame both undefeated on the season. There is much speculation on who will be awarded the other #1 seeds.

Stanford, Louisville, Tennessee and West Virginia are the names being bounced around the most. Our Cardinals have built an impressive resume for claiming one to the #1 seeds...just four losses, with three of them to the #1 team in the land.

Tennessee won the SEC Tournament and will merit consideration. Although they've lost a few more games than the Cards...they finished the season strong and have a stronger RPI than Louisville does.

Stanford was considered the front runner for one of the #1 seeds until their loss in the PAC tournament. They still look to be the best WBB team west of the Mississippi River to most...maybe something Kim Mulkey and Baylor would probably argue.

West Virginia has fared well in the BIG 12 and could also get a look. Losing to Baylor in the tournament  final, though...could hinder their chances at grabbing a #1 seed.

My thought? For #1 seeds, Louisville, UConn, Notre Dame and Stanford. Tennessee fans will howl about that...but send them to play in the Louisville regional and let them prove that they're better.

Does seeding really matter? The Cards were second best in the nation last year and weren't a #1 or #2 seed. UK has seemed to find their stride again and gets to play their first two at home. Will they end up in the Louisville regional?

UNC, Duke, Creighton, South will it all end up? We'll know on Selection Monday. Seems years away...

What's your take on the Cards? Who will the top four seeds be? And, can Notre Dame defeat the Huskies?  Give us your thoughts in the comments section.



  1. UConn, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Stanford.

    UT #1 seed in Louisville region.

    I've seen both UConn and ND several times. UConn is 10 points better.

    1. The teams you've named, plus the committee sending Tenn. to Louisville ideas seem to be gaining momentum. Weak #1 vs. Best #2 scenario. Just not impressed with this UT team as a #1. It would ,however, set up a potential Mercedes Russell "with my current steady vs, my jilted suitor" scenario. Imagine her and Jordan Reynolds on Walz's team this year...


  2. So Tennessee losses to
    Stanford, LSU, Vandy, Kentucky and Notre Dame do not matter?
    When does a 1 point win over a 10th ranked KY + 5 season losses earn a team a # 1 seeding?

    Louisville has earned # 1 seeding and bragging rights for the position. It does matter as a talking point when dealing with recruits so we should not so easily act as if it does not matter.

    1. They won their conference tournament. In a tough league. I have stated that I think Louisville should be a #1 seed. If they want to send UT here as a #2 or to the west coast as a #1...more power to the committee. As far as whether you are a #1 or #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, not sure how important that is in recruiting. Would suggest it is where you finish, not where you begin...


    2. Louisville played 7 games against 5 projected NCAA tournament teams, with a record of 3-4, and finished second in their conference tournament in a conference with as few as 2 projected NCAA teams. Three losses to UConn (projected #1 seed) and a loss at UK (projected #3). Wins at home against LSU (projected #8) and Florida State (projected #11), and on the road at Oklahoma (projected #10).

      Tennessee has played 16 games against 11 projected NCAA tournament teams, with a record of 11-5, and won their conference tournament in a conference with 8 projected NCAA teams. No disgrace about losses at Stanford and vs. Notre Dame. "Bad" losses at LSU (projected #8) and at Vanderbilt (projected #10), and a loss at home to UK (projected #3), but good wins at North Carolina (projected #4) and at Texas A&M (projected #3), and wins at home vs. Texas (projected #5) and South Carolina (projected #2).

      Hard to argue against UT vs. Louisville for a #1. Louisville has a stronger argument vs. Stanford (two "bad" losses at Washington and vs. USC).

  3. I guess it's my Cards bias but I still like our club for a #1. It's too bad that some of the ranked teams we beat earlier in the year didn't do better later in the season. It's hard to argue with the Vegas odds guys concerning UT's SOS and their current momentum. Combine that with the history of their program and they may well get the #1 seed in our region. I still don't think Warlick is much of a coach, but with all of the Summitt brouhaha over the past year or so they may be the sentimental favorite with the committee for a #1 seed. That said our NCAA Tourney performance over the past five years, particularly last year should count for something also.

    I agree that it really doesn't matter between a 1 or 2 at this point. UT in our region would not be intimidating. I'm sure they want another shot at us after we bounced them last year and it will be a good test for our club, particularly our bigs.

    I say bring it on either way. We've got to win out now in any event.

  4. Based on the history of the ineptitude of the NCAA women's tournament selection committee to make fair and wise decisions, U of L will receive a number two seed. Have we forgotten the 2009 tournament when a U of L team that lost 4 games, one to Nevada (which was used at the excuse for the lower seeding), one to West Virginia and two to UConn they were seeded number 3 and sent packing to Baton Rouge? While on the other hand, UT was an 11 loss team and received a number 5 seed and made the short trip to Bowling Green.

    This is why I believe that because of the "good ole girls" club that the selection committe is, we will once again be snubbed and given a lower seed than deserved. Hopefully our ladies will once again return the favor and prove the committee wrong.


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Now, have your take...