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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Louisville Women's Soccer focused on the next, prepared for the future -- Wednesday Cardinal Couple


It is truly hard to believe that the UofL women's soccer team is 2/3rd of the way through the regular season. The Cards (6-5-1, 2-2) have faced a very tough pre-conference schedule and have been involved in 1-0 affairs the last four games...winning three of them....and against three ACC opponents.  

But this last 1/3rd of the schedule is absolutely brutal and will test a young team that has already exceeded hopes for a rebuilding season. 15 of the 25 on head women's soccer coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes' roster are freshmen or sophomores. Two of the triad of leading scorers are sophomores in Bella Habuda and Alison Price. 

The gauntlet over the next two weeks is without a doubt the toughest four game stretch any UofL women's soccer team has ever faced. #1 UNC comes to town Thursday night. They'll be followed by #20 Duke and then #2 Florida State visits Lynn Stadium. After that, the Cards travel to #3 Virginia. 

Insanity, yes and a schedule no coach would ever purposely arrange...the ACC provided this nightmare to Coach KFD at no additional charge. Welcome to the show...

To be the best, you must beat the best and the Louisville Soccer women know full well the challenge ahead. On campus yesterday, I was impressed and proud of how sophomores Habuda and Price are taking the upcoming challenge.

Where there might be fear, and understandably so...there is excitement instead. There is confidence in their own abilities and their teammates skills. A confidence built by having only known one conference since their arrival to Louisville and how well the team plays against the "best of the best". Ready to see how they fare against against 1,2 and 3 in the nation. 

As freshmen, Habuda and Price were involved in a tie against Duke and just a one-goal loss to Virginia. They know they've gotten better individually in their second season and are also looking for revenge for a dominating 6-0 loss at FSU in 2014. They believe they can win these next four. Having the Lynn Stadium crowd behind them for the first three is huge.   

The first step is UNC. A team that Louisville did not play last season and unique and different in their three-forward attack and aggressiveness designed to keep the ball in opponent territory and hammer away offensively, with an average of 22 shots per game. North Carolina (11-0-1) has allowed only five goals in their 12 contests. Intruders trying to invade the fortress known as The Palace on Floyd Street. 

Coach Ferguson-Dayes speaks of how the "back four" have become the anchor of this team. They will certainly get a chance to steady the boat tomorrow night against the mis-named TarHeels.   

Quality, top-notch women's soccer at the finest soccer facility in college athletics. A litmus test to see just where this Louisville women's soccer squad is after 12 games. Another possible huge upset by a school that has provided several of them over the last several years. 

You need to go see this one Thursday night. Game time is 7 p.m. Bring your voice.


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