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Friday, December 28, 2018

2018 Grades Continued -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Grading the 2018 Squads -- Part 2

Paulie gave his grade for the 2018 year to the first half of the 12 UofL women's sports yesterday,  Today, we look at the bottom half of that dozen and give them a grade.

SOCCER Coming off their best season since moving into Lynn Stadium, the women's soccer team made it to the ACC Tournament for the first time ever and visited an old friend when they returned to the NCAA Tournament after a long hiatus (2013).

Awards flooded in for sophomore Emina Ekic, including All-American status for the second straight year.  Freshman Maisie Whitsett accompanied her on many of the awards lists.  Defensively, the Cards allowed roughly one goal per game and the offense showed some heavy firepower.

This season was far from perfect but it was a bright spot for a program that has seen fans grow impatient for results.  Next on the agenda is to move into the Top 25 and earn some wins in the postseason.  I'll give them a "B-".

SOFTBALL Trying to look back 9-10 months to remember what happened with the most recent
softball season is hard.  The Cards broke the 30-win mark again with a 33-20 record but finished with a losing record in conference play and no invite to the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Sandy Pearsall retired after building the program from the ground up following the season.  Over 19 years, Pearsall guided UofL to 718 (37.79 wins per season on average).  Holly Aprile was named the new coach, coming from conference rival Pittsburgh.

Fall play showed bright spots for the Cards with a lot of younger class players showing they're ready for a starting role.  The unfortunate season hurt the Cards with their grade, settling in at a "C".  "A" for Coach P's career with Louisville though.

SWIMMING AND DIVING. You can divide this category up into two sections: Kelsi Dahlia (Worrell)/Mallory Comerford and everyone else.  The duo of Dahlia and Comerford seem to highlight the UofL swim news constantly.  Recently, we saw some American records fall and several gold medals at the World Championships with some familiar names on it.  Give the rest of the team credit with rising stars such as Grace Oglesby, Sophie Cattermole, Mariia Astashkina, and Rachel Bradford-Feldman all looking good this fall part of the 2018-19 season.

A Top 25 ranking is all-too familiar for the women's swimming and diving team.  They're currently sixth in the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) poll.  To close out the 2017-18 season in mid-March, Comerford took home a national championship and the team overall finished fifth, their highest finish in program history.

With all of the success this team has earned themselves a well-deserved "A".

TENNIS The real action for the 2018-19 season kicks off in January after a handful of invitationals filled the fall part of the schedule.  Quite a few players received accolades in the fall.

Rewinding all the way to January the Cards started the season with an impressive 12-1 record.  They then lost 12 of their final 13 matches to close out the season.  

No NCAA Tournament appearance, an ugly exit in the first round of the ACC Tournament, a .500 finish, and no individual awards for any of the players is not the championship-caliber program fans expect at Louisville.  They don't fail, but I can't give the team higher than a "D" grade for the 2018 year overall although I can bump it up to a "C" based off of just the fall of 2018.

TRACK AND FIELD Track and field actually has two separate divisions with indoor and outdoor and the NCAA refers to it as such.  Indoor has seemed to be a little better for Louisville.

They finished this past season ranked 25th and Dorcas Wasike just set a new school record in the 5000m earlier this month.  When I say she set a new school record I really mean she shattered it.  Her time of 15:25.35 was a whopping 59 seconds faster than the record.  In terms of eligibility, Wasike is a sophomore.  She is a junior on the academic side.

On the outdoor side of things the women finished 28th overall at the most recent NCAA Championships.  Bailey Davis, now graduated, finished 24th in her individual performance at the event.

Appearances in the Top 25 for indoors and flirting with it for outdoors is always a nice way to boost your grade.  Having a player like Dorcas Wasike is like putting in a cheat code.  The Cards get a solid "B" here with Wasike an "A" for herself.

VOLLEYBALL This season either met right at expectations or fell a tad short depending on how
you view it.  Louisville finished in the first spot out of the rankings and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.

In 2017, Louisville claimed the ACC title with an 18-2 mark in conference play.  They only lost at home once the entire season.  In 2018, the Cards dropped to third in the ACC with a 14-4 record and three games out of first place.  The dropped three games at home this season including a disappointing loss to in-state rival Kentucky.

If this ends up being the 'sophomore slump' for Coach Dani Busboom Kelly then that's a sign for a good career here.  Typically, meeting expectations is considered average, but after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament I bumped the Cards up to a "B-".


Less than 48 hours after Christmas ended Vince Tyra announced head coaching decisions for two programs.

Courtney Trimble will be stepping down as women's golf head coach following the 2018-19 season.  A reason was not announced by UofL, although most assume it is to soend more time with husband and family  Assistant coach and Louisville-native Whitney Wade Young will step into the role beginning July 1, 2019.

After the announcement of Ken Lolla leaving the men's soccer program a nationwide search for his successor began.  The journey came full circle when assistant coach John Michael Hayden was announced as the new head coach.  A Kentucky-native, Hayden is married to former UofL women's soccer player Hollie Hayden (Minogue). Minogue played for the Cards from 2002-2005.

I found no need to do a weekend schedule seeing that the only game is the Louisville vs. Kentucky men's basketball game on Saturday.  The ESPN computer has the Cards slightly favored although I believe Vegas might have the Cats as the favorite.  If history serves correct the Cards should win the basketball game solely because Kentucky won the football game this year.

Happy Friday, Happy (almost New Year) and Go Cards!  I'll see ya in 2019!

- Jared -


  1. Go Cards Go! Had a fun encounter last night when a -- let's say -- "over-beveraged" shopper wandered down my aisle and wanted to know where the blue Solo cups were. I got him in the right aisle and, lo and behold, that aisle had not been re-stocked yet and there were none.

    He was quite disappointed. Being the wonderful guy I am, I went back into the stock area and got a sleeve for him. He thanked me and then proceeded to invite me to his game-watch party Saturday for Cats v Cards. Upon further investigation, I determined "the party" was going to be 99.9% UK fans and that there was a good chance I would be the only "African-American" in attendance.

    After considering the potential fun I might have in possibly "ruining" this affair, I declined.

    Can't beat the wings at "BWW" and I can wear my Cardinal gear without any fear of reprisals or encounters, so that's where I'll watch it.

    Thanks to both Paulie and Jared for their "state of the Cardinals" columns.

    Curtis "The Sheriff Is A-Near, the Sheriff is a-near!" Franklin

    1. LOL. OK, "Sheriff Curtis" (I get it if no one else does) I'd pay to see you at that party.

      It reminds me of, years ago, me and a notorious "party crashing" buddy of mine found ourselves at an away football game and staying in a pretty nice hotel. In a bit of an adventurous mood, we started "exploring" a few of the parties going on in the various meeting and ballrooms of this hotel.

      Beverages may have been involved.

      We "stumbled upon" a fraternity 30 year reunion party. We invited ourselves in. We soon found out we probably "stood out", since this was an Omega Phi Psi party and that they are a predominately "black" frat.

      But, a couple of the party "organizers" came over to us and through the process of dialogue, we revealed our party was "over", we were in search of another party, they had a fine one going on and we were invited to "party" with them, in the spirit of brotherhood and their friendly nature.

      We ended up as "one night only" honorary, unofficial fraternity "pledges" of Omega Phi Psi that "early morning" and had a great time.

      Seeing these guys a few hours later at the breakfast buffet this hotel offered was a blast. We exchanged "fraternity" handshakes and sang their "fraternity" song to a startled but appreciative breakfast crowd.

      One night in a strange hotel in a strange town...


    2. I was once recruited by a fraternity to be a "plant" in another fraternity and ruin the annual football game between the two.

      I pledged the "other" frat, made the intramural football team and threw four interceptions to allow the "recruiting" fraternity an easy win. I subsequently dropped out of the "other" frats pledge program and joined the "winning fraternity" the next semester. We won the next three years as well and I was absolutely hated by the "losing frat".

      Ah, college days.

      I see the Cards 4-0 to start January. Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes and make Touchdown Jesus lower his arms when WBB visits Jan 10th.

      Blue Lou

  2. Looks like the Louisville FC program likes "John Michael":

    John Hackworth, Louisville City FC Head Coach: “I am so happy for John Michael. He truly deserves this opportunity and I know he will do an excellent job. I look forward to continuing to grow the Louisville soccer community with John Michael.”

    I like the guy's enthusiasm. Let's hope he accomplishes whatt he thinks is possible here.


  3. Nice recaps gentlemen on the 2018 season.

    Looking ahead at UofL WBB, what a tough start to ACC play. Dangerous UNC, then at Duke and Notre Dame and returning home to face a Georgia Tech squad who had last year's team on the ropes in Atlanta. All in 10 days.

    I'll be OK with the Cards going 2-2 during this stretch quite honestly. Let's not sugar-coat it. This year's WBB squad is NOT READY to go to South Bend and get a win. Then, three days later, bringing in dark horse but very strong Georgia Tech?

    If the Cards go 4-0 in this stretch, it'll be Asia Durr who wills it and gets them there.

    Call me crazy, but, that's the way I see it.

    Nick O.

    1. OK. You are now named "Crazy", Nick.

      uNC is fairly good but the home court advantage should be enough for Cards.

      Duke is a bit below their skills from last year. Without graduated Lexie Brown and Rebecca Greenwell, they depend so much on Gorecki and Odom this year. We should be O.K. in Cameron.

      Let's not forget Walz designed a plan to beat ND twice last year. Yes, playing in the Joyce Arena is tough. Yes, the Irish look impressive. Let's tip it up and see what happens.

      Georgia Tech here will be a struggle, true, but I think the Cards want to erase that memory of last year's visit to McCamish and put it on the Jackets.

      We'll be most likely 3-1 and possibly 4-0 on Jan 14th. in the ACC. Never underestimate the power of a Walz prep for an opponent and the magic of Asia Durr.



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