As the fall sports seasons start to wind down, its natural to start looking towards the possibilities of post-season play. I thought we'd take a look at the prospects for our fall teams for post-season play.
As much as it pains me as an ardent Volleyball fan, the post-season prospect for this team look pretty bleak at this point.
About the closest you could come to saying they have a signature win is the very early season victory over Minnesota, but with seven losses, they've dropped to 48th in the RPI at this point. There's still a fair bit of volleyball to be played in the season, so there's a chance for some redeeming wins. The rest of the volleyball season for the Cards is all ACC conference matchups, with bouts with Virginia, Miami, Duke, North Carolina, and Pitt still on the schedule.
The Cards showed that they could play with Pitt quite well if you pay no attention to the first two sets of Sunday's game behind the curtain. This holds out hope for a victory in Cardinal Arena when Pitt makes the return trip to Louisville. I think its also very feasible to UofL to get the victory over Virginia and maybe Miami, while wins over Duke and North Carolina are tall orders.
The ACC does not have a conference tournament in volleyball, and with prospects for an at-large NCAA bid being a real long-shot, it looks like our Volleyball team is probably going to be done in time for Thanksgiving.
The focus now has to be on skills development and working on developing the team for next year.
Soccer is similarly unlikely to be involved in post-season play. Also a middle-of-the-pack ACC team, UofL
The ACC does have a Women's Soccer tournament, but they only take four teams into it, and those four berths are already mathematically clenched by Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia and Notre Dame.
Similar to Volleyball, an at-large bid to the NCAA is a long-shot, particularly with any chance of resume' building being already in the rear-view mirror.
With one more game to play, the focus has to be on continuing to get this young team some experience under their belts. There are definite bright spots on this team, but it need some refinement.
Cross Country will be competing in post-season this Friday at Panorama Farms in Virginia. I believe the ACC has all of its teams competing in the Cross Country championship.
Louisville will also be hosting a Southeast Regional NCAA championship site on November 14th.
One game still to go on Saturday against a Michigan State team that has been just hanging around, in and out of the bottom of the Top 20 rankings all year (and currently #19 in RPI), Field Hockey could add a exclamation mark to an already excellent NCAA tournament resume'.
As for conference play, the ACC does take all seven Field Hockey playing schools for the conference tournament, and with all regular season conference games completed, UofL already knows it has the five seed in the tournament. While a five seed in a conference tournament sounds little discouraging, keep a few things in mind.
- The five seed came out of a three-way tie for third place where UofL got the worst of the tie-breaking attributes.
- The records of the top ACC teams as the worst ACC teams are only separated by 2 games. Parity is the name of the game, here.
- All seven of the ACC Field Hockey teams are ranked in the top 15 of the NFHCA Coaches Poll.
Given the above, even a mediocre outcome in the ACC tournament should see the UofL Field Hockey team snagging an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Of course, the team has shown that they can play with absolutely any team in the nation, so we certainly consider the possibility that they could rise to the occasion and snag the automatic bid by winning the conference tourney.
Regardless, I think its still to start practicing drawing out a 19-team bracket...something that basically none of us have any experience doing...so you can figure out where UofL is going to be in it. (hint: draw a 16-team bracket then just add a play-in game to three of the regions)
As another side note on Field Hockey: All of the ranking number above were taken from the past week's rankings. Field Hockey ranking updates occur on Tuesday, so look for an update to these numbers later in the day. With no losses this past week, look for UofL to go nowhere but up from its current #7 spot. With #6 Duke and #4 Penn State having lost over the weekend, its certainly possible that we could see a two spot jump to #5.