Two Losses, but Promise Still
Volleyball got their season underway as Case wrote about yesterday, and on the surface it looks like opening weekend was a disappointing one, with the season sitting at 0-2, now. I see cause for excitement in this team, though.
Last night, the Cards finished off their part of the ACC/B1G challenge, and went down to defeat at the hands of #4 ranked Minnesota. UofL did win a set in this one, and they showed signs of excellence in all four sets. Minnesota was coming off a complete beatdown of UNC yesterday, and found the going a bit tougher with UofL, 20-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-20.
Most of the usual suspects provided the Cardinals' offensive firepower, albeit aligned a little differently than we were used to seeing last year. Melanie McHenry and Tess Clark privided the biggest outside firepower, with 14 and 17 kills each (.122, and .233). Amanda Green also put down 9 from the outside, which would usually be cause for accolades as well, but with 9 errors to match, it's hard to be too enthusiastic about that.
Wilma Rivera, transferred in from Penn State did, as expected, take the setting duties for the full match, with 47 assists on 54 total kills for the team. The Most Efficient award goes, as usual, to Jasmine Bennet, hitting .294, with 7 kills on 17 attempts. Defense was by committee, with Molly Sauer clearly the chair of the committee. She had 21 digs in the Libero role, while DSes Gabbie Wiley and Alexis Hamilton had 11 and 9. Rivera showed her all around skills, and how much Minnesota was targeting her as setter, by getting 12 digs.
Subjectively, this team, to exceed expectations, needs to clean up the errors. 30 attacking errors is painful, and while some of these, as always, can be credited to the opposing team's blocking, but that's still high. Similarly, 12 serving errors to 5 aces hurts a lot as well, and with serving errors, the team owns it all.
It's hard to draw too many conclusion when I didn't get to see, or even hear commentary, on this one, but to take a set off of the #4 team in the country gives hope. Combine that with Friday's play against Wisconsin, despite it being a sweep, where UofL played competitively with them (well, after the first 10 minutes anyway), and they're the #7 team in the country, and there is reason to be excited about the potential of this team.
Last year was a year mostly defined by unforced errors, and we saw some of that this weekend, so let's hope they can get that cleaned up. Otherwise, I think the weapons are there for this team to have a good year. And yes, if they can clean up the errors, I think Jared's prediction of a top 25 appearance before the year is out is within reach.
I'm certainly excited for home opener vs WKU at 6:30 Friday night at Cardinal Arena.
Field Hockey Challenged Today
Sowry's stick squad faces a major challenge in this opening weekend with defending national champions Delaware, come to Trager for a noon start. The Cards will be celebrating the birthday of Sherrill BrakeMeier, the matriarch of UofL Field Hockey during the game. This is a real treat for those of us in the press box as she typically joins us in the chair closest to the door. I have had the opportunity to chat with Brakemeier a couple of times, well, mostly gleefully listened, as she recounted tales of the very early days of UofL Field Hockey, playing on the Crawford Gym Field. It's telling of the vintage of these stories that not even Crawford Gym exists anymore, let alone the field.
The Cards did start off their season Friday with a 4-1 win over IU which Case recounted in his article yesterday. Expect a more challenging match today when the Blue Hens come calling. We'll have the recap, and audio unless things really go haywire, for you in tomorrow's article. Get the scoop by coming out to Trager Stadium for the noon start, the weather looks lovely, though you may need some sunscreen on this cloudless day.
Soccer vs Marquette
Women's Soccer continues the weekend of soccer (between them, the men, and Louisville City FC), with a match against Marquette with a 1pm kick at Lynn Stadium. The team is undefeated so far, with a 3-0 start, which is helping Case feel confident in his 12-win season prediction. If Field Hockey isn't your thing, Lynn is just down the street, but Soccer doesn't have water cannons like Field Hockey does.
I believe Case said he would be in attendance for this one, so look for his recap tomorrow, his knowledge of the game of soccer is far better than mine, so he should be able to give us more than just a statistical recap like I would probably do.
The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
I'm still not sure why they let us do it, but The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour made it usual appearance yesterday on Crescent Hill Radio. You can catch the replay, where I admit to having gotten the volleyball ranking for Wisconsin wrong, at https://soundcloud.com/chradio/cardinal-couple-20170826. There's a little less joking around and general jocularity, but the tradeoff is we get to talk about actual official sports results and play audio from Coach Walz and Asia Durr talking about their trip to Japan.