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Monday, August 28, 2017


Field Hockey Notches Big Win

The defending national champions, Delaware, came to town this weekend to get a look at the site for this year's tournament. While they were here, they figured they'd play a couple of games, and Louisville made them wish they hadn't. Even without starting goalie, Ayeisha McFerran, Louisville was able to hold the Blue Hens, the team that knocked them (and multiple other ACC teams) out of last year's tournament, to only one goal. The Cards scored three of their own and took down the number three team in the country, setting themselves up for quite a rise in the rankings.

Much like their game against the Hoosiers, this game came down to penalty corners, with all 4 goals in the game coming by way of the set piece. Whena Munn got the scoring started for the Cards, scoring on a corner sixteen minutes in. This one was assisted by Marisa Martin Pellegrina, who once again proved how big of a contributor she can be for this team. Delaware drew level on a penalty corner of their own ten minutes later. The Cards were sharp on the attack today but Coach Sowry did point out in her post game comments that there were still a few glaring errors that they needed to work on and they would review the contest video to correct these.

Refusing to go into the half without the lead, Louisville forced another corner, and Minnie Mink scored her first goal of the season, assisted by Marigrace Ragsdale, with less than a minute and a half left in the first. The two later hooked up again to provide the final goal of the game and make the scoreline 3-1. Once again, Louisville's corner efficiency was the difference. Louisville converted on 75% (3-4) of their penalty corners and held Delaware to a mere 1-7 effort. The teams tied on shots on goal, and Hollyn Barr was up to the task, collecting 7 saves. Yes, she's feeling the lofty expectations of Jared Anderson...but was very excited to meet her game quota today. 

This was a huge win for the Cards, and one that makes a statement this early in the season. Delaware returned a lot of their team from last season's championship squad. Even if it turns out that their win last year was a fluke, they were still good enough to be in a position to win and writers felt they were good enough for their top 5 ranking this season. Don't forget, also, that they mangled IU on Saturday, with a final score of 7-0. Louisville's opening weekend showed a lot of promise. There is still the buzzsaw of the ACC which they'll eventually have to face, and the inevitable rematches come tournament time, but this team is starting to prove that they'll be a force to be reckoned with. They return to play on Friday when they travel to Ohio State.




Soccer Drops Rough Game Against Marquette

Louisville's unbeaten start to the season came to an end yesterday at the hands of the team picked to finish 3rd in the Big East. However, we all know that preseason rankings mean nothing, since Louisville defeated the team ranked second (DePaul) earlier this season. For the first time this season, Louisville was held scoreless, with Marquette netting the only two goals of the game in the second half. 

The game was very physical and inconsistently called, much to the ire of the Cardinal faithful. At one point, while Louisville fans expressed their anger after a Cardinal was pulled down in the box during a free kick, a Marquette fan yelled "Welcome to the Big East, Ferguson!" While I understand the sentiment to mean they play physically in the Big East, that doesn't make me want Louisville to play in that league. (By the way, I'd like to extend a huge credit to the traveling contingent of Marquette fans. It sounded like they took a bus down for the game and they were very passionate about their team. They were mostly respectful toward Louisville and cheered loudly for their team rather than against their opponent.) Marquette didn't just play physically, they fouled. A lot. And they got away with it. A lot. That's not to say Louisville didn't as well, but I'll come right out and say that there's no reason Louisville should have finished yesterday's game having been whistled more often than Marquette.

From my vantage point, it became clear that Louisville should have taken advantage of Marquette's aggression. The Golden Eagles liked to tackle on the ground, and they were good at it. However, they telegraphed their slides, and I think the Cards should have been more willing to pull the ball back and take a slide to the feet in order to get the call. Too often, the ball was given away when slowing down could have resulted in a free kick and potentially even a card. Louisville allowed Marquette to play as aggressively as they wanted, and didn't force discipline which might have changed their approach.

After a physical first half in which there were chances on both sides, the teams headed to the locker room scoreless. Louisville had a few real opportunities, but only tested the keeper once that I remember, on a ball to the near post. In hindsight, and I'm sure this was noticed by the shooter as well, a shot at the back post would have been an easy goal, with the keeper already leaning, but it wasn't meant to be. Something that I noticed during the first half was that Marquette appeared to be the better team from my vantage point. They swarmed on defense, which I found strange, but it worked for them. Despite their fouling, some of which was called and some not, they made good tackles. They cut into passing lanes. On offense they were more technical with the ball at their feet and put Louisville on their heels with passes in the offensive third. Louisville still had a chance, don't get me wrong. They weren't completely outmatched, but the little things add up.

Marquette opened the scoring 5 minutes into the second half on a penalty. The Marquette winger had carried Inger Katrine Bjerke down the bench side of the field and attempted to send a cross into the center. The ball struck KB and the side judge immediately began waving his flag. Hand ball in the box: penalty. The event was pretty far away from me and there was no replay, so I didn't get a great look. However, it looked to me as though the ball played the hand (meaning it was a natural position for KB and the ball struck her) which should not have been whistled. In fact, yesterday's referee had waved off multiple similar calls in the game. Nonetheless, Marquette's Ryley Bugay stepped to the spot and Gabby Kouzelos tipped her hand far too early. Bugay had a slow run to the ball and when Kouzelos took her first jump step to her right (probably encroaching), Bugay slotted it easily to Kouzelos' left. Marquette led 1-0. 

Louisville continued their aggressive pressure trying to level the game, and the over aggression led to the second goal. It is easy to imagine the scenario where a ball gets away from the offense and it leads to an easy counter attack. However, what happened yesterday was far more frustrating. Louisville was pushed up on the attack, with the back line probably 15 yards from the midfield stripe in their own half. A ball was sent through the defense which Kouzelos came to send away. I have been frustrated by some of her choices to come out for the ball before, and yesterday helped validate those frustrations. The defense could have probably retreated for this ball, but Kouzelos went herself to send the ball forward. Rather than give it a safe clearance, perhaps due to the aggressive nature of trying to equalize, she attempted to send the ball back up to the offense immediately. It was mishit, and fell straight to the feet of Marquette's Eli Beard. Beard sent the ball towards the net from about 40 yards out and it was a clear goal from the time it left her foot. Kouzelos, who had been about 10-15 yards outside of the box when she hit the ball, was retreating as quickly as she could, but the ball sailed over her head and into the net. Louisville tried valiantly to get one back as the game wore on but were unable to find the net.

While a frustrating loss, Louisville did show promise. They seemed a bit sluggish at times in the first half but were reinvigorated at half time and never gave up when they trailed. They will face stiff competition in the ACC but they showed resilience in this game that I believe will serve them well throughout the season. The Cards are back in action Friday night in the unfriendly confines in Lexington. The game is at 7:30PM and does not currently list any viewing options. There's a lot of season left, and there is plenty of time for Karen Ferguson-Dayes to clean up some of the issues the Cards have had so far.


Until next time, Go Cards!


  1. Soccer coach none too happy in the post game, Paulie. Way to hang in there when she kept disagreeing with you. Huge win for Louisville Field Hockey. That Minnie Mink girl is delightful!

    -- The Real Joe Hill --

    1. Aw... Joe, it wasn't that bad...I was referring to the second goal when there was an obvious happens. She's a great coach, it was after a disappointing loss with a seriously horrible call that led to a penalty corner...I didn't expect Little Miss Sunshine or Mary Tyler Moore to surface during the chat. The train, on the other hand, was loud, obnoxious and boisterous.



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