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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Women's Soccer Draws Duke -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Take Second Draw in a Row

Looking at Duke's season coming into last night, one could almost guess that the game would eventually head into double overtime. Including last night's match, the Blue Devils have now drawn four of their last five matches. They've got six draws on the season and seven overtime matches. The 9th ranked Blue Devils also came in riding an 11 game unbeaten streak having not lost since an early season non-conference match against North Carolina. (The origins of that match are complicated. I asked one of the Duke representatives about it last night and couldn't follow much.) Louisville and Duke have that in common, in that their only losses on the season came against UNC. 

Louisville's toughest charge on the night would be scoring goals. We discussed it a bit in the post game interviews, but Duke is excellent at keeping the opposing team out of the net. On the season, opposing teams have scored only 7 goals against the Blue Devils. In their 5 draws before last night, four had been scoreless. They've 8 shutouts, and their goalkeeper, Brooke Heinsohn, is 20th in the country in save percentage. All of that is to say that when Duke took the lead on an 11th minute penalty, Louisville could have been in a bit of danger.

Early in the game, Louisville held much of possession. They were passing the ball well and earning chances going towards the Duke goal. As you'll hear Coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes describe, Duke's goal actually came after Louisville's best early chance. After a Maisie Whitsett miss, Duke was able to quickly work downfield and on a sliding block attempt, Ravin Alexander was unable to keep her hand down by her side. She was charged with a handball and the referee pointed to the spot. Duke's Ella Stevens stepped up to the ball, took her time, and slotted it home to Gabby Kouzelos's left side. On the kick, Kouzelos actually had the pace and the range of the ball covered, but she guessed wrong on her dive and the ball found the empty side of the net. From that point in the half, the mood turned a bit and neither team was able to gather much control. Louisville would go on to finish the half outshooting Duke 7-2, but the possession stat was equal at 50% and Duke led 1-0 into the half.

Louisville came out of the second half with a fire similar to that in the first. The Cards continued dominating possession and would go on to finish the half with an 8-0 shot advantage. The only shot that found home, though, came just 8 minutes into the second half. On a counter attack, Emina Ekic found herself with a lot of space in the middle of the attacking half. She found her spot and sent a through ball behind the defense for an on-running Brooklynn Rivers. Rivers, as is her specialty, outran the defender to set up a one-on-one in the box. Rivers took a touch or two to settle herself and fired home a shot medium height to the far post. The score was tied 1-1. 

For the rest of the game, Louisville would continue to pressure the Duke defense, going on to dominate the possession stat to the tune of 57%. Whitsett and Jessica De Filippo earned chance after chance in the half, but were unable to beat Heinsohn for the lead. Ekic and Allison Whitfield made sure to push the defense from the middle and the outside, with Alexander and Arianna Ferraro getting in on the action as well. Unfortunately for the Cards, they were unable to break through, and we headed to overtime.

As I mentioned before, Duke was quite accustomed to overtime matches. In fact, the Duke representative I mentioned earlier wasn't frustrated that the match went to overtime. He was more upset that the potential draw would not be scoreless, as the team is just one scoreless draw from tying the NCAA record. In the pair of overtime periods, Louisville would go on to outshoot the Blue Devils 4-1 and continued to win the possession battle. Their best chance may have come without a shot, though, as Whitfield sent a dangerous low cross to Rivers at the top of the box. Rivers was just about in the same situation as her goal earlier, but the Duke defender was just able to nick the ball away and prevent the shot. The two teams would go on to finish with a tie and neither will move in the ACC standings.

Louisville will now hit the road and take on a fantastic Virginia team. The Cavaliers have not yet lost this season and sit just two points behind Louisville with a 3-0-3 record in conference. Louisville will need to play the way that they did for much of the Duke game, albeit with more goals, if they want to continue winning. At 14 points on the conference season, the Cards are just four points behind last season's total with three games remaining. Ultimately, though, the point total isn't as important as the location in the standings. Louisville currently sits third, and will hope to finish in the top four to host in the ACC tournament. The Cards will take on Virginia on Thursday night at 7PM. 

McHenry Out for the Year

As was feared when she went down on Wednesday night, Melanie McHenry's Louisville career is over. The University officially announced yesterday that McHenry's knee injury suffered against Notre Dame will put her out for the remainder of the year. Louisville has already passed the halfway point of the season, making her ineligible for a medical redshirt, and as McHenry is a senior, she is done with UofL volleyball. It's an unfortunate end to a wonderful career from the outside hitter, and we'll be sure to follow the Sparkplug wherever she goes in the future.

Radio Silence

With half the A-Team at Cardinal Stadium and another member traveling the country, I would have been left all alone in the studio for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. We all decided that would be in no one's best interest and canceled today's show. We'll be back on air next week, but, in the meantime, be sure to tune in to WCHQ FM anyway for all of the best in local music.

Until next time, Go Cards!


  1. Hello there !

    Arthur here, getting ready to climb back on the bus later this morning to travel back to Clemson "Death Valley", as it is sometimes known after yesterday's football game against your Cardinals.

    Bea and I had a wonderful time tailgating with our bus-mates and many kind and friendly Cardinal fans. I wanted to give a special "shout-out" to the ailing but always jovial and accommodating Paulie.

    He brought a few of us over to the incredible place where he and the pretty Sonja pre-game party now, The House of Cards, and we had a great time. Between the mimosas, bloody mary's and big plate fulls of foods, we entered Cardinal Stadium full and feeling great!

    Wishing I could stay around today for what looks to be an exciting Field Hockey game between your Cardinals and Iowa. We don't offer the sport at Clemson, but I enjoy watching it.

    You will have a great football team in a couple of years, Cardinal fans, so don't let yesterday's loss get you in the dumps.

    I' m using an incredibly slow hotel PC to send you this note, so forgive any spelling errors. They must still be on "dial up" at this facility. I probably could have hand-written this and mailed it to Paulie faster than it took me to send it via internet.

    Your friend
    #1 Clemson Fan
    Greer, SC

    1. Thanks for stopping by to party with us "A' and "B" like it there, obviously. One of the members there was really impressed with your Clemson Football knowledge, he told me after the game.

      Safe travels home to you two and glad you and your group had fun!


  2. Hey, Arthur! I stopped by to see you guys yesterday but they told me that you, B and a couple of couples had gone to an exclusive tailgate place. You a social maven now, amigo? Ha. Ha. I did see Ken and some other guy who remembered me from last year, though, and hung out with them for awhile and, then, they offered me a ticket to watch game with them if I would weat a Clemson shirt.

    I appreciated the tempting offer but I already had a seat. Whoever made that chicken & dumplings gets a big nod of approval from me. You all must have taken over the hotel's kitchen, ha ha.

    So midway through the third quarter and my phone goes off and it's the store manager calling me in on my day off. i'm sorry I could not stop by after the game and see you guys again.

    Curtis "Clemson fans know how to party" Franklin

    1. LOL, Curtis. I heard that a couple of the Clemson guys went into the Cracker Barrel Friday night and asked the manager to cook up enough dumpling to feed 30 for Saturday morning and paid in advance.



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