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Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Friday (Almost) Full of Upsets -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Field Hockey Knocks Off Syracuse

It took them two overtimes and a very late score, but the 12th ranked field hockey team showed how dangerous they can be at home, taking down their second top-10 foe of the season yesterday. Syracuse came to town ranked 7th. Although Louisville has had some troubles this season, they have been almost completely confined to the road, and Louisville can be a giant killer at home, as evidenced by their win over Delaware earlier this year.

Such didn't necessarily appear to be the case yesterday afternoon. (Sidebar: It was a perfect afternoon/evening to get out and watch some Louisville athletics. I would have loved to have gotten out to the women's soccer game. However, I worked until about 6:40, which put me in a less than ideal mood to drive halfway across town. It was really sealed by a terrible error in judgement I made with regards to traffic. Had I checked a traffic app before leaving the office, I would have made it home in about 18 minutes. Instead, I listened to an entire Queens of the Stone Age album and walked through my door around 7:30. So it goes.) Syracuse scored only three minutes into the game, putting the Cardinals on their heels immediately. As the rest of the game wore on, that single goal appeared as though it may be good enough for the Orange to get a top-15 win of their own. The two teams combined for only 3 shots on goal in the first half. However, it was in the second half that Louisville put on the pressure. The Cards outshot Cuse 8-2 in the second half, but it wasn't quite enough. The clock ticked down on Louisville's hopes until an unlikely hero in Madison Walsh, a freshman, scored the equalizer on an untimed penalty corner with time expired. I know Paulie doesn't like to pull the keeper, but that's exactly what Coach Justine Sowry did with 34 seconds remaining and the extra attacker paid off in the end.

Like college soccer, field hockey goes into two golden goal overtime periods if regulation ends in a tie. Unlike soccer, field hockey determines a winner no matter what after those overtimes, as was seen when Louisville beat Wake Forest in a penalty shootout last week. Louisville didn't need the shootout this week, as a 89th minute (4 minutes into the second overtime) goal on a Taylor Stone penalty stroke sealed the game and the upset for the Cards. Louisville has now bounced back from their three game skid with a three game winning streak. They remain undefeated at home, a good omen for a team hosting the major tournaments. Louisville will continue it's homestand tomorrow against Central Michigan University at 1PM. The game is available in person at Trager Stadium or online on the ACC Network Extra.

Volleyball Sweeps FSU

After a heartbreaker against North Carolina in which the Cardinals were reverse swept after appearing to have things tied up in the first two sets, Louisville set out to finish the deal this time against Florida State. The win gave moved the Cards to 2-1 in conference and gave the number 21 Seminoles their first conference loss. 

Melanie was really excited about the win. Coach... not AS excited.
Louisville came out swinging early, hitting .349 in the first set. Louisville was crisp with only 4 errors. They had one ace and made the most of a couple of service errors by the Seminoles. The first game was tight, with neither team able to take more than a three point lead for the first 40 points. Florida State stalled at 19, though, and Louisville rattled off three straight points (the second longest run for either team in the first game) to go up 24-19. Each team scored once more and the Cards took the first set 25-20. Although Louisville hit a little bit worse in the second, and Florida State a little bit better, the second set was much of the same. Again, both teams were close until Louisville stretched to a 19-15 lead. The teams would go on to more or less trade points until Louisville finished, again, with a 25-20 win.

The third set was reminiscent of last week's tilt with North Carolina. Again, it was close early, but Louisville jumped out to an 18-14 and then a 20-16 lead. All they needed to do was finish the last few points to complete the sweep. But they couldn't. Last week it cost them the set and ultimately the match. This week, the Cards were able to stop their slide after Florida State stormed back to lead 25-26. From there, the two teams traded pairs of points until Louisville finally broke the pattern and won 31-29. The sweep, and upset, was complete.

Melanie McHenry once again led the way with 18 kills. She had five more than Louisville's second best, Jasmine Bennett, and FSU's leader had only 11. McHenry also came up huge with 11 digs. Tied for second with Wilma Rivera. Of course, Molly Sauer led the way on that one with 17, and Rivera got her stat lead in with 41 assists. Louisville looked very good against a Florida State team that maybe underperformed a bit. However you choose to look at it, this year's team is clearly playing better (if not more talented outright) than last year's. There is a lot of season left and Louisville still has time to make some noise. At 8-5, they're probably still not knocking on the door of the top 25, but a couple of more wins in a row could get them some votes. The quest continues when Miami steps into Cardinal Arena at 1PM on Sunday. This one also available on the ACCNE.

Soccer Falls Just Short to Duke

Louisville almost pulled this one off. Credit to the Cardinals for never giving up, even when facing a strong opponent. Had Louisville been able to finish against the 4th ranked Blue Devils, it would have been their second win against a top-5 team from North Carolina in as many years. As it was, Duke was able to outlast the Cards and scored the winner in the second overtime. I'll spare you the rant about college soccer post-regulation, as you've heard it before. 

As I mentioned before, I wasn't able to make it out to this one, and unfortunately it wasn't available on streaming. I was able to keep up with the great tweets by Paulie, Jared, and the women's soccer twitter page. (Jared was significantly fastest for most major events, but I'll give the WSOC twitter a pass as they usually try to make their tweets more substantial). Duke started the scoring in this one in the 24th minute, on the worst feeling goal for a keeper: a deflection off of a defender. This one can happen two ways, and I can't really say which it was since I didn't see it. Sometimes, it's just a hard hit ball that skips off of a defender and goes a different direction than you expect. I would say it's more common, though, that your defender is trying to defend the goal. A ball is hit in, a defender sticks a leg out to knock it way, instead it gets redirected the opposite way you were diving to save. This isn't an own goal because it really isn't the defender's fault, but it hurts just the same.

Louisville was able to get the equalizer ten minutes later on an Emina Ekic penalty. It was Ekic's 7th goal of the season. Some may think that having the majority of goals coming from one player shows a lack of team scoring depth, but that isn't really the case in soccer. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Clint Dempsey are all names you associate with scoring goals. These teams aren't one dimensional, it's just that players that are good at scoring will end up scoring most of your team's goals. I believe that is the case with Louisville this year. They have a lot of players that can score the ball, but the position Ekic plays in the center, lends itself to getting most of the opportunities. It's good for the Cards that she can finish them.

The Cards and Blue Devils went into the locker room tied at one, but it wouldn't remain that way for long. Louisville earned a corner in the first two minutes of the second half, and Inger Katrine-Bjerke headed home the Ekic cross. Louisville led 2-1, but a one goal lead is hard to hold for 43 minutes, especially against the fourth ranked team in the country. That proved to be true, as Louisville was unable to extend their lead, and Duke pulled level with a goal off of a cross in the 75th minute. There was plenty of time left, but neither team could score. The first overtime went off without much excitement, with Duke picking up the only shot of the period and Gabby Kouzelos saving it away. It was just a few minutes into the second overtime, though, that a Louisville foul led to another deflected Duke goal, and thus the end of the game.

A frustrating finish for the Cards, no doubt, as they looked to complete the upset, but not a loss to hang heads over. They didn't beat themselves, and they hung tough with a highly ranked team. Duke showed why they were ranked so highly last night, proving their resiliency on the road. Louisville falls to 1-3 in conference, but if they can string together performances last night against more ACC teams, they've got a good chance to finish the season at .500 or better in conference. They will get another opportunity when they travel to Clemson next Thursday.

David Padgett Named Interim Head Coach of MBB

This one can be called an upset as well because many thought other options would be a better pick or have a better shot. I'll spare you the reading of my thoughts on this week in men's college basketball and Louisville's involvement. Tune into the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour on 100.9 WCHQ, the WCHQ app, or at 11:00 AM and you're likely to hear my thoughts, along with those of Paulie and Jeff. However, you've already read the takes of four writers here, and likely seen thoughts from countless other places. So, as I said, I'll spare you. I will mention the news from yesterday, though. Louisville has named former Cardinal favorite, David Padgett, as the interim head coach. 

Although it was widely speculated that this would be the move, and even more so after it was reported the players wanted Padgett to receive the opportunity, I was surprised by this selection. Dr. Greg Postel, interim president of the University, said during Tuesday's press conference that they were attempting to clean house. I'm not sure how hiring from within shows an inclination of cleaning house. I also don't know how we can be 100% sure of Padgett's lack of involvement. I'm not accusing or speculating that he was involved. I just don't understand the thought process. Louisville wants to play this season as if nothing has happened, as I understand it. They do not want the kids on the team to be penalized. If that is the case, why put a coach that may be judged to have committed wrongdoing in charge? If Padgett is found to be involved, and I truly hope he is not because I like him a lot, this only invites more chaos after the fact. Of course, Louisville could already see the writing on the wall as far as sanctions go and just want to give the players what they want in what could and will be many of the players' final season as Cardinals. Either way, I wish Coach David Padgett the best in this upcoming season. It will be an uphill battle and he will be thrown into the fire of what is an extremely challenging schedule. I just hope they all have fun while doing it. After all, they're just kids trying to live out their dream. (Except Brian Bowen. Please get him off of the roster and stop letting him practice. His involvement in events is clear and his continued connection with the team can only hurt his *former* teammates.)

Until next time, Go Cards!


  1. Great stuff today Case!


  2. Agree with you on Brian Bowen. Clearly not an innocent. He should not be on the roster.

  3. Padgett continued connection with the team is a head scratcher. Guess it was salvage the season rather than see the players leave.
    Soccer. Would have been great if Louisville could have finished off Duke. Love to see these woman do so well in these other sports.

  4. Also, glad you explained why predominantly one player doing much of the scoring not necessarily being a bad thing with Louisville in soccer. I didn't know that.

  5. Still want to know why Ferguson-Dayes is not playing Carbin for women's soccer?

    1. Highly unconfirmed rumor out there is that there might be a "little" Carbin on the way. No official word on this, though, from WSOC...and we'll leave it at that.



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