Women's Soccer Repeats Stellar Performance
On the back of sophomore Gabrielle Vincent's hat trick (Louisville's first since 2010), the women's soccer team kicked off Friday night's double header with a 4-0 victory over the UAB Blazers. The win pushes their record to 2-0-1.
|The two teams take the field for introductions.|
The 4-0 scoreline from Friday's game against UAB does not reflect the dominant performance put on by the Cardinals. Despite looking a bit shakier at times than in Sunday's game against Indiana State, Louisville put together a fantastic showing and controlled all facets of the game. Early on, UAB made it very challenging for the Cards. The Blazers didn't do much to threaten Louisville, but they locked down the Cardinal attacks and choked out most progressions in the midfield. As the game advanced, Louisville began to take more chances. Chances usually lead to goals, and the Cards broke through with Vincent's first goal in the 32' off of a cross from freshman Niamh Nelson. In the 40th minute, Allison Whitfield went down clutching her knee, and had to be helped off of the field. She was able to walk to the locker room at half time under her own power, but I didn't expect to see her again for the rest of the game.
For much of the second half, it appeared as though Vincent's goal would be the difference in this one. The Cards kept the pressure up, but everything seemed to stall or fall just short. While pushing an attack, Daryl Bell went down with an injury in the 56'. Fortunately, Coach expects her to be okay. It looked like Louisville might pick up it's second goal when Sarah Feola found an opening and rocketed a ball toward the upper 90. It wasn't meant to be, though, and the ball bounced away off of the post. However, with 20 minutes left in the game, the excitement picked up. Whitfield, back in the game with her knee completely wrapped, served in a good corner that Vincent put away for her second goal in the 72'. In the 79', Louisville was given a very questionable yellow card by a somewhat questionable referee (questionable officiating turned out to be a common theme for the night). Not to be outdone, UAB received a yellow card of their own in the 82'. I questioned the validity of that call as well. In the 84', following a flurry of shots, Gabrielle Vincent, the center defender, took control of the ball in the box and knocked in her third goal of the night. Louisville wasn't finished, though, and made it 4-0 in the 88' when Tina Marolt finished a cross from freshman Sanela Hodzic.
This game gave me more reasons to be excited about this team. First, you'll notice I say freshman a lot when I talk about goals. Gabrielle Vincent's third goal tonight was unassisted. That was the only Cardinal goal, out of nine this season, that was not scored or assisted by a freshman. Second, the Cardinals continue to own possession of the ball. The shot count was a whopping 32-0, with 15 of those 32 on target. Remember, chances usually result in goals. Finally, for the team to follow up Sunday's solid all around game with another doubtless victory is an extremely positive sign. UAB is another middle of the road team that may not turn many heads this year, but beating the teams you are supposed to beat is one of the key marks for a successful team, especially when you beat them by a bunch. If the ladies can bring another strong showing against Toledo on Sunday, they'll be off to a very good start. The Cards take on the Rockets at 3PM in Lynn on Sunday the 28th.
Paulie got the chance to speak with head coach, Karen Ferguson-Dayes, and the goal machine, Gabrielle Vincent, after the game and you can find links to those interviews below.
Men's Soccer Battles to Scoreless Draw
When talking about the women's team, I twice said "chances usually result in goals". Any other time, I would be far more likely to say, definitively, that chances result in goals. However, the men's game gave me a reason to not speak so absolutely (because only Siths deal in the absolutes). Despite holding a 23-8 shot advantage over Butler, the Cards were unable to walk away with anything but a draw and a bit of a sour taste in their mouths following their season opener Friday night.
|Louisville looks for new life prior to extra time|
After a game full of fouls (28 total), shots (31 total), and injuries (both teams needed more bananas), I can honestly say that I walked away last night having watched the most exciting scoreless draw I could possibly imagine. Because of college soccer's goofy rules, the teams were not content after 90 minutes of hard, exciting, oftentimes chippy, play. Following the conclusion of the 90 minutes of regular time, Louisville began the first period of sudden death over time like a bat out of hell. Within the first two minutes, I thought Louisville was going to end the game on a walk-off 4 or 5 times. Most notably when they caught a break and chipped the keeper, only to have the ball bounce dramatically off of the upright. Butler seemed perfectly content to play for the tie while the Cards fought tooth and nail for a goal. Just like the previous 90 minutes, they couldn't find one. The second half of extra time began much like the first. Louisville turned up the heat once again, using their depth and Butler's exhaustion to their advantage. The efforts culminated in a wide open shot from Tate Schmitt from about 22 yards out. The shot beat the keeper's outstretched hand and... banged off of the upright. Butler proved that they had some fire of their own as they nearly scored a heartbreaking goal with two minutes left in the game. Ultimately, neither team was able to come away with a goal, and the game ended in a draw. Almost 6 hours after I had arrived at Lynn, I headed out with the elation of another women's victory and a cautious excitement after the men's draw.
Despite the result, head coach Ken Lolla was pleased with his team's performance, and I was personally impressed as well. I had admittedly low expectations, given the buzz around the team so far, but I was excited by the play I saw last night. This season may not smooth sailing for the Cardinal XI, but I'm hoping that they can prove some people wrong and that they (along with the ladies) can keep Soccerville, USA alive and well. The men will return to Lynn on Monday to take on Quinnipiac at 7:30.
Field Hockey Opens Their Season Victorious
The stick-ball girls traveled to Bloomington last night and opened their season with a 5-1 win. If you ask me, I could get used to four goal victories for the Louisville women fall sports. The Cards have now beaten the Hoosiers four straight times in field hockey, but Friday's victory was by the largest margin in the series. Louisville started the game with a bang, with Marigrace Ragsdale opening the scoring just 1:48 into the game. Indiana pulled the equalizer just 6 minutes later. The Cardinals eventually stole the momentum and held onto it with goals by freshmen (hey, that's a familiar word), Minout Mink (2) and Whena Munn, and senior Lotta Kahlert. After two hours worth of weather delays, the Cards finally cooled off, and the final 13 minutes of the game were scoreless for both sides.
Louisville field hockey stays on the road for their next contest, taking on Miami (OH) on Monday at 2PM.
Last, but not least, I'm joining Paulie in the studio for THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR on WCHQ 100.9 FM and streaming live on the Internet at Crescent Hill Radio this morning at 11 AM. We'll be talking about the soccer games, field hockey, football, and probably a lot of other things I'm unprepared for. We'll even give WorldWide a call to discuss the weekend's volleyball tournament hosted by Bowling Green State. Give it a listen. It should be fun.
Until next time, Go Cards.