Thursday, February 28, 2019
Senior Night for Louisville women's basketball -- Seniors and Walz Presser -- Lacrosse falls in O.T. Heartbreaker. -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
LACROSSE STAGES HUGE RALLY BUT FALLS IN OVERTIME 9-8
When this 2019 Louisville Lacrosse team can put together a full 60 minutes, they will be one of the elite teams in Division I Lacrosse. The process is still not quite there. Louisville looked like much the best of the two teams for 36 minutes -- and the majority of the second half -- in yesterday's match against Vanderbilt...but the gaps in continuity and team play the rest of the way proved costly in the 9-8 overtime loss to Vanderbilt at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium.
The Cards surrendered an early goal to the Commodores before putting three straight on the scoreboard to hold a 3-1 lead with 13 minutes until halftime. It looked like the rout might be on, but...
Vanderbilt used their fast-break, all-out jail break style of offense to counter against the Cards to end the half. The visitors ran their way to six straight goals in the final 13 minutes to grab a 7-3 lead. A buzzer-beater by junior Gwyn Devin with four seconds until halftime set the tally four goals in favor of Vanderbilt. For Devin, the kamikaze pilot of the Commodores attack, it was her second goal of the match and the 'Dores had the momentum going into the break.
Head Louisville Lacrosse Coach Scott Teeter delivered a "stay-within system" and play as a team halftime message and the words proved to be just what the Cards needed in the final 30 minutes. After a quick Vandy score from Devin to start the second half, the Cards applied excellent defensive pressure and two quick scores by sophomore Ally Hall brought Louisville back to a three-point deficit at 8-5.
Red shirt sophomore goalie Rachel Florek and the Cards defense were slowing the Vanderbilt squad down and finding ways to keep the Commodore off the scoreboard. Florek's second half performance "between the pipes" was one of the most impressive I've seen "in goal" since I've been following the Teeter era at UofL. 13 saves for her and the Cards were utilizing the team concept by getting scores from three different players to roar back and tie the match when sophomore Shayla Scanlan delivered her third goal of the match with 29 seconds to play on an unassisted shot to te the affair at 8-8.
To overtime the two squads went.
Overtime in Lacrosse is a bit different that most sports. It is a mere three minutes and whoever scores first wins. Vandy got the winning goal with four seconds left in the overtime session for the 9-8 heart-breaker.
Despite the loss, we may have seen the Louisville squad take a huge step towards success in the rebuilding process Teeter and the LAX girls are undergoing. This was a poised, confident and productive Cardinal squad in the second half. The defense made the adjustments and the offense was finding out that scoring could happen when they stayed in system and passed the ball.
The two game home slate ends with a 1-1 record. The Cards travel to South Bend for an Irish match-up this Saturday. Then, it's off to Butler for a Wednesday match. The Cards will need to be at their best, offensively and defensively against both.
Yesterday, the team showed a lot of heart, refusal to quit the fight and some stellar performances. Let's hope it is a continuing sign of a team that is beginning to "get it" and moving forward together in the reclamation project currently being engineered by the players and staff.
Rebuilding can take time, ask my adopted sister, as she goes through the rebuild from the fire that destroyed her beautiful house in Oldham County. This particular Lacrosse rebuild is underway and there will be highs and lows, bumps and smiles and peaks and valleys.
If these LAX girls and this staff can learn from this one and push forward...then the rebuild gains a welcome boost and step in the right direction.
Scott, Rachel and redshirt junior Brenna Shanahan talk about the match at the link below
LINK: TEETER, FLOREK and SHANAHAN POST GAME VANDY
SENIOR NIGHT AGAINST THE WOLFPACK FOR WBB
Has it really been four years since Asia Durr arrived on campus? Someone tell me I'm dreaming and she, Arica and Sam are not getting ready to play their final regular season home game in the KFC YUM! CENTER.
Maybe it's my huge fondness for these three, but it is hard for me to come to the realization that their time as Cardinals is drawing to a close. 11 possible games remain for them and this 2018-19 UofL WBB squad (counting tonight, at Pitt, three potential games in the ACC Tournament and, hopefully six in the NCAA Tournament). Where has the time gone?
The foe tonight is a top ten squad. The N.C. State Wolfpack started the season 21-0 and sits at 24-3 coming into tonight's match-up. They are #10 in the nation. Projections have them as a solid #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, so far. A win for Ms. Wuf's bunch would tie them with the Cards in conference standings at 12-3. A lot on the line for both teams as we prepare to honor and celebrate these three seniors (despite what a certain TV talking sports-head blundered out -- yes...only three seniors, not four).
This Wolfpack team has been average their last six games with a 3-3 record. It has been an arduous stretch for Wes Moore's squad, though.
The Pack fell to a rapidly improving UNC squad in Raleigh by 13. A trip to FSU produced another loss, to the Noles in a close one 75-70. Then, it was off to Syracuse an a hard-fought 77-73 win over "Q's" bunch. Hosting Notre Dame next, the Wolfpack were punished 95-72. Wake Forest came to the NC State campus next and was dispatched of 80-46. Last out...NC State got revenge at Chapel Hill for the previous loss to UNC with a 74-69 victory.
Freshman center Elissa Cunane and veteran Kiara Leslie have been the leaders of the Pack since talented Grace Hunter went down with a season ending injury after 14 games. The two combine for 30.6 points a contest and are aided in their offensive success by the heady, point-guard play of Aislinn Konig..who leads the squad with 107 assists and adds 11.4 points a game.
N.C. State holds foes to 58.6 points per game while averaging 72.2. They out-rebound opponents by 10 a night...a team effort, no N.C. State player averages more than 7.6 a contest. Konig and Leslie are the three-point threats...Konig good for 82 makes on the season and firing at a .412 success rate.
Like the Cards, they are primarily "seven deep" with Erika Cassell, DD Rogers Kai Crutchfield and Kayla Jones augmenting the main three threats of Cunane, Leslie and Konig.
Louisville has to avoid a slow start tonight, play with intensity for 40 minutes and find a way to battle on the boards with the Pack tonight. A ball-hawking defense might serve to the Cards advantage by keeping Konig from releasing the three or finding Leslie and Cunane.
The motivation should be there, with Senior Night and a crowd over 11,000 + expected. Get there early, the senior introductions begin around 6:45 p.m.
The Cards are 5-3 lifetime against the Wolfpack. A nervous, "grab-a-big-lead" and "hold on for dear life" 55-47 win last year in the conference regular season at Raleigh. Sonya and I were there for that one and I was honestly glad just to get out of a packed and crazy-loud Reynolds Coliseum seeing a Cards road win on New Year's Eve Day. Another nail-biter in the ACC Tournament semis last year in Greensboro. 64-59.
A referee contingent today that includes Eric Brewton (Jerry Abramson's favorite stripe shirt) he was one of the crew that called the Louisville vs. Notre Dame game earlier this year in South Bend.
We hope Asia Durr does "Asia-Durr type things", Arica and Sam produce at what they do well and the force of "B" and Kylee rebound and score frequently. Jazmine Jones could use a stat-stuffing night. The key tonight just might be speedy Dana Evans...her disruption of opponent's defenses and play-making abilities need to be at their best tonight to assure a Cardinal win. If Kasa is cleared from concussion protocol, any minutes she can contribute will be welcome and, hopefully, effective.
We think Dana is the ACC's "Sixth Player of the Year" and tonight would be a good time to mark her territory on that accolade.
With the tournament seedings for the ACC still up in the air, the Cards need a convincing performance tonight to solidify their claim as potential ACC Co-Champs. Let's hope the Cards can "make it so" and "Pack up the Pack" and send them home with the "L".
WEDNESDAY WBB PRESSER
The three seniors and Walz spent nearly an hour in front of the media yesterday to primarily discuss their careers and the team. It is certainly worth listening to and there were some great revelations and stories told. You need to set aside an hour and listen to it in it's entirety.
Here is the combined clip:
LINK: ASIA, SAM, ARICA AND jEFF 2/27
Sorry that the questions were mostly inaudible after my opening question. My guess is that the Courier-Journal guy asking questions turned the media microphone off. For better audio where the questions can be heard, try the two links below:
LINK: WALZ (Audio only)
LINK: PLAYERS (Audio only)
Have a tremendous Thursday!