Thursday, December 31, 2015
Congratulations to the Louisville Football team
for their win over Texas A&M in the Music City
Bowl Wednesday night! From all of us here at
CARDINAL COUPLE...we hope you have a a great
(and safe) New Year's Eve and we'll see you New
Years Day in the KFC YUM! Center for the start
of the Cards ACC women's basketball schedule
against Florida State at 4 p.m.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
2015 in review...Maybe not the Year of The Cardinal but nevertheless pretty special -- Wednesday CARDINAL COUPLE
CONFERENCE TITLES AND NCAA APPEARANCES NOTHING TO SNEEZE AT FOR 2015.
As we draw down to the final days of 2015, a look back and re-countenance of the UofL women's sports season is today's topic. A year of firsts and of new heights. A year of promise, success and hope for the future.
True, there were no national title chances for basketball, no Sugar Bowl to savor or things that had national media fawning over UofL (scandal and intrigue not-withstanding) but the women's athletes on the Belknap Campus accomplished some very good things.
The Cards won the ACC Conference Volleyball Championship. With a 18-2 in conference and 25-7 overall record. Erin Fairs and Katie George All-Americans. The bright promise of Molly Sauer and Aniah Philo...plus the continued excellence of Janelle Jenkins, Maya McClendon, Tess Clark and Maggie DeJong gave us some memorable moments and the promise of a very bright future for Anne Kordes' wide-netters.
With five seniors and two wunderkind freshmen battling in the best conference in women's basketball, Jeff Walz's women's basketball team went 27-7 overall, 12-4 in the ACC and 16-1 at home. A game away from the Elite Eight (Dayton...who knew?) and a team that featured the heart of Jude Schimmel, resiliency of Sherrone Vails, strength of Sara Hammond, smoothness of Bria Smith and determination of Shawnta Dyer...this was a UofL squad that will be one of my all-time favorites.
The end of 2015 has seen a major construction project in progress for a young group of talented Cardinals that very well may write another storied chapter in the history of Louisville women's basketball time. Give them time and patience. Championships aren't built in a day.
Kellie Young builds winners. Competing for the first time in the best lacrosse conference in the NCAA...her squad made another NCAA appearance and ended 10-8...another season where improvement was evident, the stakes were higher and the foes top-10 seemingly every week. Faye Brust's all-out assaults on opponents will be missed but Young returns Kaylin Morissette, Cortnee Daley, Hannah Koloski, Steph McNamara and a very talented group of underclassmen plus nine very promising freshmen. The ACC should be put on notice...the Cardinals are back for round two.
Louisville Field Hockey is another sport that made the NCAA Tournament, competed in the best conference in the NCAA and made some memorable moments. Elisa "Chile" Garcia, Vic Stratton, Katherine Gwynne-Wood and Megan Anstotz helped make Trager Stadium a nightmare for opponents. Their skills will be missed but Justine Sowry will pick right up when she left off with stars Ayeshia McFerran, Nicole Woods, Stephanie Byrne, Tess Hannah and Erin McCrudden back in 2016. Another warning salvo off the port bow to the other ACC ships...here come the Cardinals.
Louisville Softball put together a 4th. place finish against the ACC in 2015 and made another NCAA appearance for Sandy Pearsall. Two Cardinals (Kelsi Jones and Whitney Arion) went on to play in the pros and they'll be missed...along with Kayla Soles and Brittany Duncan...but Louisville returns six starters and powerhouse pitcher Maryssa Becker...along with a superlative freshman class. Hailey Smith, Brittany Sims, Jordan McNary, Nicole Pufahl, Alison "Mike" Szydlowski and Tiarra Sanabria look to take the Cards even higher in the conference standings in 2016.
Louisville Women's Soccer 2 - (#1) North Carolina 1.
It was my top moment for Louisville women's sports in 2015 and one I'll never forget. The biggest win in the history of UofL women's soccer and to be there to see it is something I'm very grateful for. The 2015 squad had heart, desire, youth and skill working in it's favor and with a solid nucleus returning...Karen Ferguson-Dayes is assembling a squad that will compete with the best in the ACC. The play of Casey Whitfield, Hannah Konermann, Lexie Nieboda, Rachel Avant and Aubrey Baker was essential to the improvements Louisville women's soccer had in 2015. Sadly, we see them go...but talent abounds in Lynn Stadium and Ferguson-Dayes has added some excellent freshmen.
Kelsi Worrell in the pool. Emmonnie Henderson throwing the shot and discus. Laura Restrepo and the women's golf team successes. And all the accomplishments of women's tennis, cross country and rowing made it a memorable 2015 for Louisville women's sports.
We'll raise a toast to all the student-athletes that made UofL women's sports a success in 2015...you that are under the age of 21, raise your ginger ale...and look forward to the joy and excitement of 2016.
It's tough to name a Cardinal women's athlete of the year but I'll toss a few names out for consideration. Kelsi Worrell, Katie George, Emmonnie Henderson, Maryssa Becker and Myisha Hines-Allen. All five made major contributions to their sports and any of them would be a good selection. There is a poll on the right side of the site where you can vote.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
18-2 run in third quarter sends Cards flying past UTM.
The University of Louisville women's basketball team used a 18-2 third quarter run over six minutes to turn a one-point lead into a 19-point advantage Monday night in the KFC YUM! Center before a "red-out" crowd of 8690 in their final non-conference test before ACC play by defeating UT-Martin 88-66.
The Cards held a 41-33 lead over UTM at the end of the first half but the SkyHawks ran off seven straight points to begin the final half to cut the Cardinal lead to 41-40 after Katie Schubert connected with a jumper in the paint with 7:51 remaining.
The Cards caught on fire after two missed shots, though, and goals from Mariya Moore, Briahanna Jackson and then threes from Moore, Asia Durr and Taja Cole put the Cards ahead 55-42 with 3:05 to play. Cole hit two more shots in the next 75 seconds and UofL had expanded the margin to 59-42 with 1:50 left in the third quarter.
Mariya Moore commented on the run:
"It was just a different mind-set. We knew we shouldn't have had a break-down in the beginning [of the half]...so just buckling down, remembering how the first half went and how we got that lead..playing defense, getting stops and capitalizing on our opportunities around the basket."
Cortnee Walton spoke of the offensive spurt:
"When they first started coming back, Coach Walz had warned us to not let them get on a run...so we came back and we were scoring at will, scoring whenever we wanted to. We were getting stops, too, and when we get stops it makes it easier to get good shots and score."
The Cards jumped out to an 11-0 lead in this one and led 16-4 after a Durr layup with 4:11 left in the first. Myisha Hines-Allen had 11 of Louisville's 20 first period points and the Cards led by eight. They were able to maintain that eight point lead going into the half...watching it shrink to two with 3:21 remaining before Walton and Carter scored four each in a 8-2 run to end the half.
Six Cards hit double figures for the contest. Hines-Allen (13), Walton (12), Jackson (12), Durr (12) Moore (11) and Cole (11). Nine of the ten Cards that played scored. Erin DeGrate sat out the contest with a bruised knee. All players saw at least six minutes and no one played more than 33 in Louisville's seventh win in their last eight games.
THREE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT THE WIN:
-- Shooting. 15-16 from the free throw line and 54% from the floor
-- Freshmen contributions. The four freshmen had 32 points and just two turnovers in 52 minutes of playing time. Sam Fuehring had seven points in the final period...Cole and Durr combined for 12 in the pivotal third quarter.
-- Points off turnovers. 40 points off 24 turnovers.
AREAS TO IMPROVE:
-- Shooting defense. UTM also shot 54% from the floor. How many games do you think the Cards will win in the ACC when the opponent shoots over 50%? Louisville wanted to limit UTM's threes...and they did....holding them to 6-16 beyond the arc. The Skyhawks were 21-34 on two-pointers, though...and that's almost 62%.
-- Paint protection. Louisville outscored UTM by only 46-40 in the paint. DaiJia Ruffin and Shy Copney had a field day on the dribble-drive.
-- Visiting S.I.D. press release. We were shocked to find out from the UT-Martin press guide that the Cards had returned to the American Athletic Conference. Journalists...always the last to know. Might wanna proof-read that thing next time, Sundance...
And, for God's sake, people...Louisville's team nickname is the Cardinals...not the Cardinal. The Cardinal is a fine student-newspaper on campus. Or the Stanford nickname.
FINAL, DELUSIONAL THOUGHTS AND MUTTERINGS
So, with conference play looming Friday against powerhouse Florida State...is Louisville ready for ACC play? I posed the question to Jeff Walz in the post-game press conference. Without batting an eye, here was his reply:
"We play Friday at 4. Ask me at 6."
(Gotta love a coach who so eloquently pontificates on his squad's potential preparedness...)
|Could me and my buddies here from Clemson|
shoot 50% against Louisville?
We discussed the "dependables" yesterday and they were...well...dependable. Carter, Cole and Durr had good efforts against the OVC Skyhawks and that was somewhat expected. If games were one quarter, Sam Fuehring might make All-ACC First team.
But...as of now...this isn't the third best team in the ACC or the eighth best team in the nation.
I'll call the Cards to task on the need for improving "FRED" .
Cards, meet FRED. Get to know FRED really well over the rest of this season. Make FRED your best friend and inspiration. Without FRED, any long stay in the NCAA Tournament hopes or maybe even a .500 conference record are dead.
Monday, December 28, 2015
7-5 UTM VISITS WBB TONIGHT
The intent and focus of pre-conference basketball games is to prepare your team for the rigors and tests that loom in the future when conference play begins. The University of Louisville women's basketball squad will receive one of those challenges this evening when they face the UT-Martin Skyhawks at the KFC YUM! Center at 7 p.m.
Tennessee-Martin (7-5) had a five-game win streak snapped last time out in a narrow loss to Vanderbilt 64-61. These birds haven't been wading in shallow water this season...with two SEC and two Big 10 opponents on the schedule...and impressive wins over Alabama and Cincinnati. They'll fly in from long range at opponents...121 threes made this season which is over 10 made per game. That's good for third in the nation.
Freshman guard Daijia Ruffin, who played her high-school hoops at Louisville Sacred Heart, leads the flock with 14.7 ppg and has 18 steals for the Skyhawks. Butler transfer Haley Howard and Jessie Ward also average double figures for the OVC squad that was picked to finish second in the preseason coaches conference poll.
Louisville (7-5) looks to keep redemption train rolling down the tracks...riding a four-game win streak. Myisha Hines-Allen, coming off ACC Player Of The Week honors, is averaging 17 points a game for Jeff Walz's squad, shooting 57.1% and is grabbing over eight rebounds a contest. Briahanna Jackson is good for 14.9 a night and leads Louisville in steals. Mariya Moore rounds out the double figure producers at 13.3 and is Louisville's assist leader.
Louisville did ground the Skyhawks 77-43 last year in the KFC YUM! Center and held them to under 30% shooting. That'll be a key for this evening...the UT-Martin squad isn't afraid to launch the orb toward the cylinder...especially from beyond the three-point stripe. Louisville will need to be mindful about grabbing those missed attempts and playing a sticky defense that won't allow the Skyhawks to get off easy and wide-open attempts.
It's a "RED OUT" tonight, so if you're going...break out some of that red Cardinal Christmas swag you got from Santa. If you're watching at home...CARDS TV will provide the visual and Matt and A.J. will be the audio.
A good test tonight before the Cards roll into ACC play. Certainly one that Louisville would gladly accept another 34-point win over...but we've got the feeling it'll be closer than that tonight.
|PAULIE, I CAN'T BELIEVE I MISSED THE BROADCAST...|
IT'S OK, MARKIE! GO TO THE CLOUD...GO TO THE CLOUD
All better now, Buttercup? We thought so. Go seize the day.
Sunday, December 27, 2015
2015 season against UK was in Cardinals favor
Yes, yesterday's loss to UK in men's basketball was disappointing. It looked like Louisville had multiple opportunities to win the game...unfortunately, the scoreboard never lies. I would have loved to see Lee's final shot drop. We all would have that wear the red. It didn't. We move on.
Despair over UofL losses in 2015 to UK? No need...
The Cards won the head-to-head matchups 8-5.
Let's take a look.
UofL men's athletic programs were 5-1 against UK in 2015. Louisville won in baseball twice, in football, soccer and swimming against Kentucky. Men's basketball was the only loss.
UofL women's athletic squads were 3-4 against UK women's teams. Wins in swimming, golf and softball. Losses in basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball.
Louisville wins the 2015 head-to-head matchups 8-5.
Anytime you lose to a rival, we know...it hurts. Louisville won the majority of the contest against our foe down I-64 though...so if any of your UK friends get too boastful about yesterday's win....throw 8-5 at them.
Little brother and sister? Nah....how about the dominant sibling and best in state? Red beats blue. More often than not. Some of you grouse that we didn't beat them in women's basketball. That's like complaining about the mashed potatoes at a sumptuous seven-course meal.
Just think if UK was gender-accessible enough to offer field hockey and lacrosse as DI sports? Woulda been 10-5.
Scoreboard doesn't lie.
Let's build upon that in 2016...
NEXT FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE...
|WORLDWIDE EXPLAINS RELEVANCE TO PAULIE|
Take the Worldwide Quiz and see if you can top Worldwide and his results. The hour-long broadcast is available at the link below:
THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR 12-26-15
Saturday, December 26, 2015
JANUARY WILL TEST THE PROGRESS OF UOFL WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
As the UofL women's basketball enjoys the holidays and the redemption train rests in the freight yard awaiting the continuation of the journey...let's look at the current state of the players who huddle around Jeff Walz for direction and guidance.
We'll put them into three categories. The Dependables, The Expectation Crew and The More Information/Input Please groups.
Four Cardinals are in this group. Briahanna Jackson, Myisha Hines-Allen, Mariya Moore and Cortnee Walton.
Each night, Walz pretty much knows what he's going to get out of this group. Strong shooting, rebounding, hustle, effort and experience. Sure, there are occasional clunkers but the four average over 28 minutes a game and are four you would expect on the court in the final two minutes of a close contest...fouls and such not taken into consideration.
Jackson is the heart and soul of this squad. I'd go into battle with her anytime. Hines-Allen is the emotion. When MHA takes over a game, it's like seeing an Academy Award performance. Moore can send a team into deep despair with just a few flicks of the wrist from the deep. Walton is the proud mama lion, defending the paint with ferocity and grabbing every rebound in sight.
They are a solid foursome. They also have the most experience of the roster. They've been there before and you expect a dependable result when they play. Each is capable of taking over a game for stretches and can create those "did you see that?" plays on the court. They fully realize the work needed to be the best you can be.
THE EXPECTATION CREW
I'm putting three players into this category. Asia Durr, Arica Carter and Taja Cole. These three have the skills and talent to join the dependables but there are a few things to work out yet.
With Durr it is pain management. When able to go at 100% she has the potential to be the best player on this squad. Even at 70%...she's a force to be reckoned with.
Carter has improved light-years from her freshman campaign. There is confidence now and recognition of game flow. The shot still needs work to get her into the dependable slot.
Cole has shown us flashes of greatness and at times just might be the most deceptive ball-handler on the roster. Then, there are the moments of freshman mistakes and looking lost. Fortunately, that will disappear with experience.
MORE INFORMATION/INPUT PLEASE
This is where Sam Fuehring, Brianna Jones, Erin De Grate, Dakota Weatherford and Syd Brackemyre are currently.
All for different reasons.
With Fuehring, we've seen what could be and what we're expecting to see down the road. We've also seen the miscues and inexplicable moments of freshman mistakes. If she can get to the point when Walz can feel confident give her 20 minutes a game to augment the thin front line, I'll gladly move her to the Expectation Crew club.
Jonesie just needs time on the court and a defensive awakening. Being behind Moore in the rotation means not many minutes on the court. She needs to be ready to take those chances, though, and impress.
DeGrate is a rose about to bloom. Working hard to get into D1 playing shape and looking better each time she steps on the court...her upside is huge. She'll get there with continued hard work and experience and we're confident you'll love the results.
Weatherford is a fireball of energy and hustle. Her stock is rising also. Sitting out a year of hoops takes longer to come back from than one realizes. When called on, she'll deliver. The guard position is loaded though...and she'll probably continue to be that player who hits the court when the lead is over 20 points and for mop-up duty.
With Brackemyre, it's all about the knee. I saw video of her as a junior in high school and was convinced she'd be a starter here her freshman year. Injuries...ask Asia Taylor or Shawnta Dyer about injuries. If the latest operation cures the problem...think of a muscle car that had to run on a flat but then gets a new tire and tune-up. A-Tayy and Shawnta overcame the setbacks. We'd love to see Syd do the same.
The train gets rolling again in a few days. We'll get into UT-Martin in tomorrow's column. We hope the conductor, engineer and technicians are "all aboard!" and ready to go do the work.
Yes, we know....Kentucky plays Louisville today at noon. That does give you an hour before tipoff, though, to listen to THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR on WCHQ 100.9 FM or on the internet at:
We'll be doing our end-of-year review of the 2015 UofL women's sports programs' seasons. It'll be interesting to see if Worldwide and I come up with the same synopses and opinions.
In any event, it should be fun...Please join us!
Friday, December 25, 2015
From all of us at Cardinal Couple, a Very Merry Christmas!
We hope you have a great Christmas day and want to thank you for following CARDINAL COUPLE in 2015. We appreciate your readership, comments, ideas and suggestions and promise that 2016 will be another great year of reporting on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports.
As we reflect on this year...be sure to catch our end of year CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR broadcast Saturday at 11 a.m. on WCHO 100.9 FM and at www.crescenthillradio.com
As for Sonja and I, we are blessed to have the creative genius of all our followers, contributors and supporters...especially Worldwide Jeff McAdams.
If I were Bob Hope, he'd be my Bing Crosby.
We're looking forward to the upcoming year and hope you'll come along for the ride!
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Christmahanakwanzika Wish Lists
Hey, last year I asked for a press box for Lacrosse and now we've got a spiffy new structure next to the railroad track beside Little Yum, so wishes do come true sometimes.
A sweet 16 (or beyond) appearance. I've been to every UofL NCAA tournament volleyball in person since 2008, I believe, and I've never been to a volleyball sweet 16 (well, other than when it was hosted at the KFC Yum! Center, but I'm not counting that because UofL wasn't playing in it). The program narrowly missed it this year, and I hope next year to see an even more improved team and further success in tournament play.
A 6-2 offense. I've heard talk that this is being considered for next year. 6-2 offenses are, in my opinion, a lot of fun to watch. We've got 3 good setters on the roster in Kali Eaken, Lindsey Palmer, and Morgan Miller. When this was first mentioned to me, I was thinking Kali Eaken and Morgan Miller as the two setters, but a few days ago, I realized that Lindsey Palmer could have a major role as a setter in a 6-2. We haven't seen Palmer running the offense as setter because, at 5'8", she's not a very effective blocker and with a traditional 5-1 offense, the setter needs to be able to block when they're in the front row. With a 6-2, however, the setter is always playing out of the back row, so they don't need to be able to block. We lose the setter dump that Katie George so loved, but that's a small price to pay for always having three attackers available in the front row.
We've got a press box now, how about some concessions for the fans? Or perhaps a permanent structure with a locker room for the visiting team. Like Volleyball, a deeper run in the NCAA tournament beyond the second round would be great.
For the both the men and women on this one. More courts! I've heard that this one might already be in the works as well. It would likely take the form of adding more outdoor courts in front of the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center where the old soccer practice field is. With the spiffy new Lynn Soccer Stadium, the practice field isn't really needed anymore, and the Tennis programs would benefit by being able to host full tournaments rather than just competitions against individual opponents.
Swimming and Diving
While it's not directly for the program, I wish for a successful Olympics in Rio for various current and former members of the Swimming and Diving squad. This, also, is for both the men and the women. We've talked a lot about Kelsi Worrell's success, but perhaps alumna Tanja Kyliannen could be representing her native Finland. Joao de Lucca, for the men, will likely be representing Brazil and is a proud UofL alum. On the current squad on the men's side, Sophomore Carlos Claverie could be making an appearance for Venezuela.
Let's call better rebounding a stocking stuffer as it has already improved considerably over the beginning of the season, but could still use some tightening up.
Lethargy-B-Gone for the defense.
Success in post-season play. Ulmer recently got an upgrade, so there's not a whole lot to ask for from a facilities point of view. Well, there are some things we could ask for, but that would be a bit greedy, so we'll skip those.
I'd like to see the UofL Softball team advance to a Super-Regional. Softball hasn't had a great deal of NCAA tournament success in the past couple of years, not having won a game at all since the first game of the 2014 Regional against IPFW. They have not advanced to a Super-Regional since I've been going to games at all. Hopefully they'll do well enough that we would be hosting these events this spring, but if not, I'll certainly be looking to make an effort to road-trip for them.
I haven't put together lists for all of the women's sports teams, feel free to add some lists for other teams, or even add items for these teams in the comments. I'd love to hear what you would like to see out of these programs. Our biggest wish of all, though...is that all our readers have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Lacrosse Signing Class
As we get to a less hectic time of the year now that all of the fall sports are over (well, there's still a football game to play, but that's not all that big of a deal, right?), I want to go back and pick up some coverage of the signing period for various sports that we didn't get to fit into our coverage at the time.
Nine Sign, All from East Coast States
It's no secret that Lacrosse is most popular along the east coast, particularly the northern coastal states, and Kellie Young's signing class reflects that strongly with all nine signees coming from the states from Connecticut to Virginia.
It's also becoming rather unsurprising to discover that nearly all of the signees were multi-sport athletes in high school.
Alexandra Ball comes to us from Charleton, NY, which is just north of the Schenectady and Albany area of New York. Ball will be bolstering the already impressive ranks of the goalkeeping squad at UofL. This high school All-American also lettered all four years of her high school career in Field Hockey.
From Somers, NY, just north of NYC, Arcidiacono is a three sport high school athlete, with Soccer and Basketball being on her busy schedule in addition to Lacrosse. She helped propel her Lacrosse team to the state finals.
Ashley is from Cold Springs Harbor, NY, on Long Island and dual-sported with Field Hockey. Lynch is a First Team High School All-American, and was named by Inside Lacrosse as one of the Top 25 players in the country. She was also a member of the US Lacrosse National Girls Team Champions.
Schmuckler also participated in three sports in high school. Lacrosse, was joined by Field Hockey and Squash on her calendar. She was named the Kent Place School Unsung Hero while racking up some fairly impressive scoring, assist, and ground ball numbers. Schmuckler hails from Chatham, NJ, which is a suburb of Newark.
Harris also arrives from New Jersey, from Mountain Lakes, NJ in fact, which is a bit farther out from Newark, but still in the general vicinity. Also playing Soccer, Chloe played for the Building Blocks Lacrosse Elite Travel program which produced 15 Division I signees this year.
Another calendar overachiever, Petillo could be found on the Soccer field as well as Track & Field. She was named a 2014 Brine National All-Star team member and also played on the New Jersey South Women's National Tournament Team. Manasquan, NJ is on the Jersey Shore about halfway between Atlantic City and Newark.
Moving further south, Caddigan is from Fulton, MD, about halfway between Baltimore and Washington DC. Another tri-sport athlete, with Soccer and Basketball. Katie, if she played basketball for UofL, would be eligible for the Attack Yorkie squad at 5'6", but that isn't anticipated. A finalist for the Howard County High School Female Athlete of the Year, and did pick up the Scholar Athlete Award. She is also goalkeeper on the three time state champion soccer team.
Biller comes to us from Ashburn, VA outside of Washington DC (as an IT guy, I didn't even have to look this one up...lots of data centers and telecom interconnects in Ashburn). Biller will be joining her high school teammate Heidi Smith here at UofL. She also played Field Hockey and Basketball.
Back north for this one, Ekvall hails from Old Greenwich, CT, which is about halfway between New York City and Bridgeport. Ekvall was twice named to Brine's New England All-American list as well as being invited to participate in The Ride, an event for the Top 50 players nationwide where she was named Top Defender in 2014. She also helped propel her team to a state runner-up.
As a spring sport, these players won't hit the turf in recorded competition for The Cardinals until Spring of 2017, but store these names away in the back of your mind to bring them out in a little over a year as they start to make an impact on an already excellent Cardinal Lacrosse team.