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Saturday, September 21, 2019


It was a bit of a rough day for Cardinal women yesterday.


Golf had arguably the best result at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Tennessee.  After the first round, the squad swung their way to 14th.

One thing this golf squad does have is consistency among the players.  The best result for the day came from Lauren Hartlage who finished the round 3 over par in 42nd, with 3 other Cardinal golfer one stroke behind;  Lauren Thibodeau, Mairead Martin, and Hana Ryskova.  Just one more stroke behind is Delaney Shah.

The Mason Rudolph Championship continues today and tomorrow.

Field Hockey

The Field Hockey squad opened conference play against nationally top ranked North Carolina in
Chapel Hill.  The Cards came into this match sitting 8th in the national ranking.

UNC is obviously a great squad, and dropping this game 4-1 is nothing to be ashamed of.  The ACC, however, is composed of lots of teams at near this level of caliber, so the Cards will need to up their play in order to see conference success.

The shots on goal stats were equal, but UNC just did a better job of finishing.  The Cards had a pair of back-to-back penalty corners early in the first period, but couldn't convert on either, which has been a significant sticking point for this Cardinals squad, extending back into last season.

UNC would get 3 of their scores in the first two quarters, taking the 3-0 lead into halftime.  There is a bright spot here, however.  After UNC came out and scored a quick goal 3 minutes into the 3rd quarter, the Cards were able to step up to the level of play and blunt further UNC attacks, and tack on a bit of a redeeming goal with under 2 minutes left in play.

The Cards will work to get back to their winning ways with next weekend's trip to Boston College.


The 25th ranked Volleyball squad traveled to Lexington to tangle with the 16th ranked (and likely to drop) Wildcats.  Kentucky came out of this one with a 3 set sweep, 25-15, 25-14, 25-21.

Kentucky was coming off of a pair of 5 set losses to lower ranked or unranked teams.  Their loss to unranked Indiana is already accounted for in their 16th place ranking, but Wednesday's defeat at the hands of Purdue (and both of these were in Memorial Coliseum), hasn't been reflected in the rankings, yet.

The Wildcats were hungry, and they showed it.  The Cards were able to get Kentucky out of system at times, but by and large, Kentucky was in control of this one.  Again there are some bright spots, mostly towards the end of the match to suggest that the Cardinals squad is figuring out their team and how they can be successful.

Anna Stevenson
Louisville started with the 6-2 offense that they have been playing most of the season, with Piper Roe and Anna Stevenson in the middle hitter/blocker positions.

Alexis Hamilton
Let's just lay it out there, Louisville didn't pass well to start the match.  Some of this can be credited to Kentucky's powerful attack (I'm really ready for Leah Edmond to graduate.), but the defense has to be able to dig and pass shots like this to turn the play back towards the Cardinals offense.

Stat wise, a bit counter-intuitively, the Cards best hitting set was the 1st at .207, when, honestly, I thought our play looked the worst.  Of course, it was also Kentucky's best hitting percentage set at .469.

The 3rd set was, I think, the bright spot for the Cardinals.  Coach Busboom Kelly rolled out a few changes for this set, and it's hard to say which were effective, and which weren't.  We switched back to a more traditional 5-1 offense, with Tori Dilfer running it in the setter position.  The allowed more defensive specialists to get into the match, so we got to see more of Mia Stander, who I always think is a positive influence on the play of the team based on her extremely solid passing ability.  In one set, Stander was able to get more digs than Alexa Hendricks who we saw play all 3 sets.

Tori Dilfer serving
Another shift was to bring Amaya Tillman in as a middle hitter in place of Piper Roe.  Tillman has been playing right side all season, but she has traditionally been a middle hitter, so this isn't that radical of a change for her.  Tillman is a considerably more athletic player than Roe, so I subjectively felt like she has a bigger impact on the game by being involved in more blocking.  The stats aren't particularly conclusive on this, but stylistically, Amaya has more mobility and is able to get into a position where she has more of an impact on the opponent's swings.  Piper isn't able to get out and get into that position as quickly, though when she does get involved in a block, she tends to really makes it count.  In my mind, the advantage goes to Tillman on this one.  I also think this same sort of comparison applies between Roe and Emily Scott.

How good is Kentucky?  That's really hard to say.  They've taken 4 losses this season, all of which were pretty substantial upsets.  Having watched them play, however, they are very definitely a team that plays well and can present a challenge to just about any team in the country.

Melanie McHenry being Melanie McHenry
So far, the Cards have avoided any disastrous upsets, with only the loss to Purdue being able to be labelled an upset at all.  They have yet to show that they can play on a "black banner" level, however.  This is a team that is still finding its identity, and it's shaping up to be a little bit of an unusual one.  Will they continue to play the 6-2?  That's not something you see often.  They elected a redshirt freshman as their captain (Aiko Jones), and that's certainly not something you see very often, though I think it does show a depth of consideration, and certainly a demonstration of trust in the leadership of Aiko.  We'll see what develops, it should be a wild ride.

Volleyball will be back in action tomorrow at Cincinnati, a team that is receiving votes in the national polls, and sports US National Team member Jordan Thompson.  Don't take this team for granted.

On Tap Today

Two events of note today.

Jared, Paulie, and myself will be on the radio in under an hour on WCHQ for the weekly Cardinal Couple Radio Show.  All three of us were in Lexington last night, so expect some good dissection of the Volleyball match, and certainly coverage of Soccer and Field Hockey as well.

Speaking of Soccer,  they are getting their conference season underway this evening at Lynn Stadium at 7:30 p.m. against 4th ranked North Carolina.  The Cardinals are sporting a 20th ranking and are coming into the match up undefeated.  This will be a real test of the Cardinals



  1. Any insight on WBB recruiting?
    Thoughts on Gony and Williams dropping out of favor after a summer of love by the staff.

    1. Recruiting is a funny game. You never really know just how the process is going to turn out with teenagers. I'll take you back to the Mercedes Russell pursuit. Louisville did everything but set up a lemonade stand in front of her house and, in the end, she went where she indicated she would all along.

      Nebraska had the lead on Gony early on and it panned out for them. Williams and Syracuse is a bit of a surprise but sometimes players develop a bond with a coach and squad and that appears to be what happened here.

      As a wise old fisherman once said: "You can't catch all the fish in the lake, all you can do is keep baiting your hook and hope for the best."



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