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Thursday, December 31, 2020

More Changes -- 2020 Recap — THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

 2020 UofL Recap

Perhaps the craziest year on record and one that will be remembered for ages in the world of sports, 2020 has finally come to a close. Of course, it ends with another schedule change with women’s basketball.

Virginia has had some issues with COVID-19 so the game on Jan. 3 has now been postponed. The Jan. 1 game that Walz had hoped for does not appear to be happening. The Louisville vs North Carolina game has now been set for Jan. 5 at 2:30 p.m. I think most of us are a bit confused about a midweek midday game, but if the Cards get to play we can settle for it.

So let’s look back at 2020 for many of our sports including some of the highs and lows:

Womens Basketball- they had some nice highs including reaching #2 in the AP Poll. They also had a strong spring portion to last season, including hosting the USA National Team, and winning six straight at the end of the regular season that included a win at then-#4 NC State.

The lows are pretty obvious- COVID-19. There was no NCAA Tournament last season so we sadly sent off last year’s squad with an early ACC Tournament exit. The basketball team also had a stretch in February where they lost three straight games (one to the USWNT), but they did end up finding their feet.

Lacrosse- Lacrosse had a promising season going that started with a dominating performance at Cincinnati that Pauline and I enjoyed a road trip up to. Rachel Flores was on pace to set some Louisville and possibly NCAA records in goal with her 95 saves.

The downsides are far and few for lax. They still are not up to the competitive level of play that Scott Teeter wants. They took ugly losses to Denver and North Carolina.

Softball- A team that was on a hot streak when things abruptly ended was softball. They had won three straight and four of five. Celene Funke looked like she had not missed a beat, already recording three triples before conference play began.

However, softball had an ugly rough patch that put them at 10-13. Many of their losses came when they scored two or fewer runs, something we did not expect to see in this offense.

Volleyball- The VolleyCards had a solid 5-2 outing in their fall portion of the season. They were impressive with their defending that saw them high in the rankings in blocks, led by Amaya Tillman.

Both losses came in sweep fashion. Even if the sets were close it has become a rare sight to see the Cards get swept against teams we’ve seen them beat in recent years.

Field Hockey- This is a team that has plenty to praise in the “good” category. They started the year 8-0 including surprising victories against UNC, Duke, and BC. We can only assume they would have been ranked #1 at some point. They tied their highest finish in the conference at runner-up.

The lows would mostly be falling at the end of the regular season to Syracuse before falling 4-2 in the ACC Championship after not surrendering more than two goals in any prior match.

Soccer- Soccer had a solid season, even if the record showed 4-5. Emina Ekic scored seven goals in nine matches, putting her on pace to have a career high in goals in a season had it been a regular year. She’s now preparing to play pro ball hopefully in the NWSL. Gabby Kouzelos had a career season in goal, including nine saves against Florida State.

The five losses were a little rough for what we wanted. Three of those were expected against FSU, UNC, and Virginia. The Cards had the UNC game won before falling apart late in the second half, so it is enough to put as a downside.

We certainly hope 2021 is a much better year overall, but we hope many of our teams can continue their respective successes from 2020. 

Do you have any favorite 2020 moments? Please share with us as we love hearing YOUR input and experiences. We also will miss and forget things here and there, especially with reviewing an entire year, so who knows what you might have remembered that we forgot.

Don’t forget that YOU are Cardinal Couple and we would not exist without you. We appreciate everyone who follows, interacts, and contributes. 2020 was an incredible challenge for us seeing as we went months without any true UofL women’s sports, and we hope we were able to give you a good 2020 run at Cardinal Couple.

As always, we are excited for the new year and what great things the Louisville Cardinals will bring us.

Happy Thursday and Happy (early) New Year! Go Cards!


Wednesday, December 30, 2020


To UNC or not to UNC...that is the question. 

That drive from Chapel Hill to Louisville can be a killer...

The Cardinals first 2021 match has already been postponed.. but it still hasn't been cancelled.  22 hours after UofL announced it has rescheduled its previously Dec13 scheduled matchup with UNC, the TarHeels program announced they were having "traveling issues" and can't make it happen....

 ALL ABOARD the Roller Coaster Express of managing sports during a global pandemic! "We're in!", "We're out." She's here, he's there, ya dee yah! 

In the first Coach's show back since team activities resumed & the Christmas holiday..  Coach Walz mentioned that the first team practice day was on Sunday the 27th. Two-a-days for two days and then once yesterday... He said it was Christmas Eve, he was in church texting with coaches trying to get a game.  

Some quotes from the Coach Walz show Tuesday evening.

I caught the Tuesday evening Jeff Walz Radio Show broadcast, along with several other members of the Cardinal Couple columnists. Here's what I gathered from it. 

On the ups and downs of coaching/operating the program during COVID

In response to what has been anything and everything about this year, Walz said "It's COVID. So much changes in so little time".  

Coach said it was "sad how the league has handled this year (being flexible. But...some coaches have done their best.  Walz is appreciative of how UofL has handled testing/Vince's support and team doctors.  Also got honest and said it was "a little bit embarrassing how some coaches are handling it... "

( Not to point fingers or anything). 

He reiterates that UofL WBB "will continue to fight and battle through this & we will find people who want to play."  Still... not pointing any fingers... 

"That's not my team out there. It's Walz's squad."

Coach went on to answer a caller who asked what the teams been up to over this quarantine Christmas..  In between a couple technical issues with host of the show and voice of the Cards, Nick Curran (which I got a few chuckles out of; not to make fun but it made the show feel more relatable) Coach Walz said that after team activities resumed, 2 players at a time were allowed in the gym; one at each end. Then after about an hour of work the staff would sanitize, 15 min later two more players come in.

Walz also mentioned that the players were conditioning on the lacrosse field. Whether or not the Cards head LAX coach Scott Teeter was watching, looking for a draw control specialist for the 2021 UofL Lacrosse season was undetermined. We'll look into it. 

He also said he that "If you're not laughing and being flexible it can drive you crazy."  

On playing locals like Bellarmine and UK

A caller asked if there was the potential to play Bellarmine, who actually was on the schedule earlier in the season until COVID issues within the BU program..  Walz says that "If there's a date we have open and they have open we would like to make it happen". Same with UK.  He said "teams are allowed to play 25 games this year, 20 of them are conference games.  Is ACC going to reschedule the ACC games? If not, that opens the door for non-conference games.  If so, then there's no room to schedule non-conference games and you don't want to overschedule."  He said he's spent a lot of time on the phone, going through emails.  He actually said this in between yawns. 

A replacement opponent for Jan 1st? 

Walz was getting texts the entire hour-long show.. responding to them in between technical errors and commercial breaks.  At the beginning of the show I noted that he said  "Things are in the works, not 100%.  Hopefully playing on the 1st.  Not sure if it would be at home or away yet".  By the end of it, he left us with this...  

"We are going to be playing January 1. I can't tell you who it is right now. It might not be at home but we're making a conscious effort to get all the home games in this season."  

(Maybe Arica Carter, who is currently playing in Spain, has assembled a group and is trying to get through JFK customs inspections as we speak.)

 Fingers crossed, CardNation! Wednesday is a new day, let's get some good news today! Walz has called a "presser" for 12:30 Wednesday. We may find out who the New Year Day opponent is then.


Walz said that no matter who they play, the team is chomping at the bit to get out there and play again (and that he's) "gotta make sure they're not too excited, relaxed and ready to go".

Be safe and warm out there, y'all.  Go Cards! 


Tuesday, December 29, 2020


 Louisville Alters Schedule

Louisville women’s basketball has made some alterations to their schedule. The Cards will now host North Carolina on New Year’s Day.

Tip-off for the Jan. 1 game is set for noon on ACC Network Extra. The game was originally scheduled for Dec. 13, but the Cards were in COVID timeout.  Louisville, in conjunction with wholesale ACC scheduling changes,  chose to move this game to New Year's Day.

What happens on Jan. 13? My guess is we will see an announcement soon that the Cards will either add a home game or away game with a previously cancelled team. It would be tough to imagine -- in a year where every game is important to reach the 13-game requirement -- that Jeff Walz would willingly give up a weekend.

The Cards remain #2 in the AP Poll and will finally be able to play their first game since Dec. 9 against Duke.  Louisville still sits at 5-0 and still needs another eight games to qualify for the NCAA Tournament...the way things stand currently. 

I expect Paulie will be in attendance for this game. I am currently visiting Katy and her family in Fort Mill, S.C., and will not return until Friday evening. Sadly, I will miss this game but plan to watch while at the airport and I'll be back on the court for Jan. 7.

The Cards will have a quick turnaround as they head to Charlottesville to face Virginia at noon on Sunday, Jan. 3.

Officially, there are 16 games remaining on the current schedule. More likely than not, we will see about 10 of those played with the high risk of positive COVID-19 cases and contact tracing.

A day before the Jan., 1st game, which is currently the only ACC WBB contest scheduled that New Years Day, there are four ACC contests on Dec 31st, involving eight ACC schools. FSU travels to Virginia Tech, Notre Dame goes to Miami, Boston College will visit Pitt and NC State heads over to Georgia Tech

In case you've lost track of the ACC standings, NC State (3-0), Georgia Tech (2-0) and Louisville (1-0)  are the only schools still undefeated in conference games. Four teams have one loss: Clemson (3-1), Florida State and Syracuse (2-1) and Virginia Tech (1-1).  UNC is 2-2. At 1-2 are Miami, Pitt, Wake Forest and Notre Dame. Winless so faar in conference play are Duke (0-1), Virginia (0-2) and Boston College (0-3).

For now, we will hope for the best and continue to be grateful for every game that is played.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, December 28, 2020



Add another ACC WBB program to the list of schools that have postponed or cancelled women's basketball operations because of COVID  Yesterday, the Syracuse Orange announced a positive test within their program and paused all activates for women's basketball to begin contract tracing. 

Syracuse (5-1, 2-1) was scheduled to play Morgan State tonight and that game has been cancelled. Syracuse did not state whether the person that testted positive was a player, coach or someone else associated with the program. The Orange WBB program will go through the recommended isolation and quarantine protocols recommended by the CDC and ACC guidelines.

Syracuse did a cancellation of a previous game this season, when their contest scheduled against Binghamton back on Dec 13th was cancelled because of confirmation of a positive result in the Binghamton program. 

The Orange had their opening home game of 2020-21 season disrupted as well, but not because of COVID.  During pregame warmups for the contest against Lincoln (PA) water droplets were found on the floor of the Carrier Dome. Fearing a leaky roof, officials moved game was moved to the Melo Center, where the Orange practice. Further tests showed it was a condensation problem with the roof in the Carrier Dome. 

Syracuse is scheduled to bring in North Carolina to the Carrier Dome on Thursday. The way we've seen things go, this one will most likely be postponed because of isolation and tracing demands. Naturally, we hope for the best for the Syracuse WBB organization and hope they can return to hoops soon. 

 As far as action versus Louisville, the Cuse and Cards are scheduled for two meetings this 2020-21 season. Q is scheduled to bring the Orange to the KFC YUM! Center on Feb. 1st and the Cards will travel to Syracuse for a Feb. 14th game (for now).  

Kylee gets her very own basketball from Jeff Walz at last year's Syracuse game! 

The two schools met three times in the 2019-20 season. Louisville won 62-59 at the KFC YUM! Center on Dec. 29th. The Cards fell to the Orange 59-51 in the Carrier Dome on Feb 9th but took a 71-46 win in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals in Greensboro, NC on March 6th. 

There were no ACC WBB contests conducted yesterday, which has traditionally been the rule over the past few season during the XMAS break. The Cards are slated to return to action on Jan. 3rd (Sunday) at Virginia. The Cards have been on COVID delay since Dec 11...following their game at Duke. Duke has since ceased all WBB activities for the 2020-21 season due to COVID concerns. .   


There are rumors afloat that Walz, who does his own trying to re-schedule a game with UConn and maybe a game vs. UK before the UVA matchup. From what I've been able to determine, these are solely rumors at this point of time.  If we can find and confirm any substantially factual information that this is, in fact, true...we'll bring that news to you. (Thanks for the e-mails and texts on this, readers). 


Have a meaningful Monday and follow the "W's" . Wear the mask, wash the hands and watch to maintain a six-foot distance from people in public places. 


Sunday, December 27, 2020


Volleyball Community Mourns Again

The regional volleyball community has taken another body blow in 2020.

Alyssa Cavenaugh, who played a major role in WKU's emergence as a significant team on the national level passed away Friday.

While this is tangential to UofL, many Cardinals knew Alyssa, and basically everyone greatly respected her.  Alyssa was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2018, and suffered the typical difficulties of cancer treatment, including chemotherapy.  She received a bone marrow transplant from her father in February of 2019 and had announced that she had been cancer free for a year in January of this year.

While not explicitly stated by the WKU release, apparently the cancer subsequently reemerged.

Alyssa was a Louisville native, playing her high school volleyball at Assumption.  Her tenure at Assumption overlapped with UofL players Katie George, Courtney Robison, Molly Sauer and Alexis Hamilton.

Tributes from many volleyball players have been shared, including numerous UofL players.

The Louisville volleyball community was rocked earlier this year with the deaths of Lesley and Rhyan Prather, along with Carrie and Kacey McCaw when their vehicle was struck head-on in Missouri as they were travelling to a volleyball tournament in Kansas City.

Lesley Prather's sister is Sarah Petkovic who is the Louisville Volleyball Director of Operations.  Both Lesley and Sarah were great volleyball players at UofL found in the record books using their maiden name, Drury.  Lesley, who was a Louisville firefighter, was recently posthumously awarded the Louisville Firefighter of the year award.

Carrie McCaw played college volleyball at Syracuse.  UofL and Syracuse held a special honor when they met in competition this year at L&N Federal Credit Union Arena October 9th and 10th.

It has been a challenging year for all sports, but volleyball in the region has had it particularly hard.

Our thoughts are with the Cavenaugh family, her friends, teammates, and others that knew her.  WKU was a great opponent in the 2019 season, with two competitive matches including one in the NCAA tournament.  Alyssa Cavenaugh was no small part of building the WKU program to that level.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

A slimmer crew for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast, with Case Hoskins and Daryl Foust away celebrating various birthdays.  Paulie, Jared, and myself held down the fort.

We explored the implications of Duke WBB cancelling all the rest of their season.  We also celebrated the academic success of several UofL women's sports teams. With Case being off, the broadcast has not been transferred to Anchor FM yet, so the You Tube version is the only one currently available.

Check it out below!


Saturday, December 26, 2020


Cards' Game vs Duke Canceled

College athletics saw their first power program bow out yesterday when Duke women's basketball announced the cancelation of the remainder of their season. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that we made it through football season without a team doing this, and I kind of thought that since we had, no basketball programs would make this decision independently. That this would come from Duke, whose men's coach has also questioned the concept of a basketball season in a pandemic, is an interesting note. Kara Lawson, the new head coach of the Blue Devils, had previously expressed concern about having a season at this time.

Officially, the decision was made by the players, according to the statement from Duke's communications officer. Effectively, each player made the choice to opt out, as some other players did for football earlier this year, and the program had no more players to put on the court. I'm certain there were many team meetings and a consensus reached before they pulled the trigger on this. Duke has announced that no other teams within the program are impacted by the decision and all other competitions will remain as scheduled. 

With the fallout from this cancelation, Louisville's second matchup against Duke scheduled for Thursday is now off. Due to Louisville's own Covid issues, the Cards haven't competed since December 9th, and they will now have to wait until January 3rd to get back on the court when they travel to Virginia. That said, Louisville has already had three games postponed, and they now have an open conference date to try and rectify that. A team that stands out as a contender to fill the opening is Florida State. Louisville's game against the Seminoles was postponed from the 17th. Florida State last played on the 20th and is not scheduled to play again until the 3rd. They were scheduled to play Duke on the 7th. The Seminoles are the only team that Louisville has postponed a game against to have Thursday open. 

While this would have Louisville play FSU twice in two weeks -- they're scheduled to play again on the 10th -- it isn't much different than Louisville traveling to Duke for games on the 9th and 31st. As Coach Walz said earlier this season, most teams are going to be scrambling to find 13 games. With the two teams already scheduled to play twice, I'm not really sure what the difference in having an extra week between the matchups is. I would hope the ACC is working hard to redefine their schedules given the struggles that teams have already had and the openings that the Duke cancelations now present. I'm sure we'll see more news come out soon, and we'll be sure to keep you updated about any scheduling revisions here.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

The Skype room will be a little less full today, as Daryl and I both sit this week out for birthdays, but Paulie, Jeff, and Jared will still bring you the joy and excitement of UofL women's athletics. Gee, I wonder what they'll talk about. Tune in to the Cardinal Couple YouTube channel at 11AM for the live show, or check out the replay anytime after the show ends. As always, you can add the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast to your subscription list and have the show sent directly to your device when it's posted.

Until next time, Go Cards!

Friday, December 25, 2020



From all of us, to all of you -- a very merry Christmas!  

Paulie, Jeff, Case, Jared, Daryl and Sonja

Thursday, December 24, 2020


 Uhhh... Bracketology???

Normally, late December is quite a bit early to be looking at bracketology. And it is way too early to be concerned with bracketology projections. But sometimes disrespect needs to be called out.

ESPN released three different potential brackets yesterday: 64-teams, 48-teams, and 16-teams. All three are possible as the NCAA weighs the possibilities as we continue through the COVID-19 pandemic. The concern is that Louisville, the #2 team in the country, a team that other teams fear, a team that has turned every head since their annihilation of DePaul, is a projected 2-seed.

Just so we're clear, not the #2 seed overall. The #2 seed in one of the four brackets. 

Stanford is ranked first right now. They get a 1-seed. NC State is 8-0 and holds a victory over South Carolina. It's hard not to give them a 1-seed.

I'm gonna go review this, guys...

UConn is 4-0and ranked #3, one spot behind the Cards. A #3 ranking would make sense to earn a 1-seed, but the Huskies haven't played anyone noticeable. South Carolina is 5-1 and ranked #5. They have a pair of ranked wins but lost at home to NC State. They're borderline 1-seed/2-seed.

Louisville is projected as a 2-seed alongside Oregon, Baylor, and Arizona. But why a 2-seed? The Cards are ranked #2 and hold a blowout victory over a ranked DePaul team. They hold a win over another NCAA Tournament-caliber team in UT Martin.

The 16-team layout would feature just two ACC teams in Louisville and NC State. A 48-team tournament would add Syracuse and Georgia Tech. That layout would give the Top 16 teams (top four in each region) a first-round bye. Moving onto the traditional 64-team tournament we see Florida State, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech join the party.

With no home court advantage and still qualifying for a first round bye in the event of a 48-team tournament there shouldn't be too much of an issue. Besides, there is still plenty of season remaining. Still, it can be viewed as a bit disrespectful to put the Cards as a 2-seed.

We will have plenty to discuss about basketball this Saturday on air. It should be noted that our Sa
turday Cardinal Couple Radio Hour-ish Podcast will be without Case, as he celebrates his birthday and Daryl, as she celebrates her mother's birthday. 

Paulie, Worldwide, and I will be glad to still put on a show and maybe even talk about how much coal Santa left each of us.

Happy Thursday, Happy Christmas Eve, and Go Cards! You can send any unwanted Christmas gifts my way.


Wednesday, December 23, 2020



With the fall semester completed at the University of Louisville, we are starting to see some academic results from the women's athletic squads. So far, academic excellence is the headline, for both Lacrosse and WBB. 

Let's begin with Scott Teeter's squad -- Lacrosse.  They posted an eye-popping 3.650 grade-point average. They were shooting for a 3.5 when they discussed academic goals before the fall semester began, according to Coach. 

"I am extremely proud of our team for their efforts in the classroom. Prior to the semester, we set a goal for our team to achieve a 3.5 grade-point average and we are thrilled to accomplish that feat." 

Accomplished? I'd say they buried it in the back of the net for a huge score. 35 players on his squad earned the prestigious Red and Black Scholar Athlete status, for a 3.25 or better cumulative GPA and 21 players were named to the Dean's List for Fall 2020, which means they earned above a 3.5 GPA. Eight "laxers" swept the board with perfect 4.0 GPA's 

Looks like we'll really have to double down on any post-game interviews for difficulty and complexity for this group this spring. The old "What were you seeing out there today?" standard opener in post-game student-athlete interviews just won't hold would be like asking a dog to bark...


WBB wasn't sitting around playing Monopoly this fall.  They achieved a collective 3.094 GPA for the fall. This marks the 13th straight semester that WBB has topped the 3.0 mark. 

Seven of Walz's student-athletes earned 3.0 or better GPA's and eight of them were named to the Red and Black Scholar Athlete status for a 3.25 or better cumulative GPA. 

Freshman Hailey Van Lith earned Dean's Scholar status with a 4.0 semester. My guess she was studying a few more things than the Cardinal WBB playbook. Liz Dixon, Merissah Russell and Kianna Smith also got a nod from the dean, with Dean's List accolades (above a 3.5 GPA). 

Ahlana Smith, Kianna and Dana Evans all qualify as members of the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society, which recognizes junior and senior athletes with a cumulative GPA above 3.4. I'd bet those three could also beat any other three in "the society" by 15+ plus points in a friendly game of "21" as well. 

We applaud the high academics and look forward to more glittering grade-point performance reports from the other programs. It's been said many times by many people that we should never forget that these are STUDENT-athletes. To put up academic numbers like this in a 2020 that has been so topsy-turvy, un-normal and subject to change is remarkable. 

The oft-used Cardinal Athletics slogan "We, The Future" is so true and evident from what we've seen so far in academic pursuits and excellence for Cardinal Women's Athletics. Let's never forget that the student-athletes of today are the future leaders and decision-makes of tomorrow. 

It looks like we're in good hands down the road. We look forward to more academic "numbers" out of the Cardinal women's athletic squad as we start to wind down 2020.


Tuesday, December 22, 2020


 Cards Remain #2 in Rankings

Guess what we have to talk about today?! Not much. The only Louisville team (of 21 D1 teams) playing right now is our men's basketball team, which does us no good here at Cardinal Couple.

UofL women's basketball is still stuck in COVID-19 protocol a wee bit longer and their next scheduled game isn't until December 31. We did see the new AP rankings come out yesterday. Despite the Cards not having played in 16 days, they did hold the #2 ranking. Louisville also received a first place vote.

Stanford continues to dominate the rankings with the #1 spot. They improved to 6-0 on the year and have received 26 of the 30 first place votes. UConn, who has battled their own COVID-19 issues, remained at #3 and earned a first place vote. NC State has continued to impress the basketball world as they improved to 8-0 on the year to keep their #4 spot. The Wolfpack took the final two first place votes.

South  Carolina and Arizona remained at #5 and #6. Baylor and Oregon, who were tied at #7 last week, fell in at #7 and #8, respectively, as the Top 8 remained unchanged. Texas A&M climbed a spot to #9 as did Maryland, who rounds at the Top 10 at #10.

Kentucky reached the #9 spot last week but fell to #13 following a loss to DePaul. Syracuse also dropped a bit down to #23 after their loss to North Carolina, Wake Forest, and Georgia Tech all found themselves in the receiving votes category as the ACC did not see much love this week.

The SEC owns 20% of the rankings with five teams in. The Pac-12 saw four teams ranked. However, it's the Big 10 taking charge of the Top 25 with six teams in including the 14-17 spots.

Oh yeah, the next AP rankings? They come out on Dec. 28 and the Cards will still be sitting at their 5-0 record. Of course, Louisville is incredibly good this year, but how many weeks can they go without playing before the AP voters start having doubts or "forget about the Cards?

Could we just go back to Indy again? 

Now when it comes down to it the rankings really don't matter much until late in the season as teams battle for one of the top 16-seeds. Even then, with the entire NCAA Tournament scheduled to happen all in San Antonio, there isn't a home field advantage to work with. IF Louisville finds themselves dancing deep in the tournament- many things can change between now and then such as a tournament cancellation, the Cards dropping out due to positive cases, or the Cards falling to another team- don't expect any Cardinal Couple representatives out there. There are so many factors involved with that such as distance, risk of travel due to COVID-19, and the limited number of approved media due to the pandemic. We will be there in spirit though!

Anyways, make sure to finish up your holiday shopping. Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, December 21, 2020

Making the most of a second chance -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


With Louisville WBB on a COVID pause, not much to report on the Cardinal crew these days -- so I thought I might do a "feel good" story this Monday. After all, it is the holiday season, we report on 'the joy and excitement' of things and the age-old philosophy of "once a Card, always a Card" carries credible veracity in a lot of circles. 

Consider the story of Lindsey Duvall. 

You remember "Lil Duv", right? She was a Miss Kentucky in GBB back in 2017. Decided on Louisville after originally thinking "maybe UK" announcing her desire to be a Cat but then changing her mind and committing to Louisville. A 5'8" shooting guard, ostensibly -- for Chris Stallings at Bullitt East High School, but mostly played as a "4" for the Mt. Washington school.  A definitive three point threat and team player. Knee injuries, yes, they were a part of it as well. Six operations before she stepped on the court as a Cardinal. Having to sit out her freshman year because of knee trouble in 2017-18. 

I always wondered how'd she perform on the DI level, given 25-30 minutes a game  She never got that chance at Louisville, part of a very deep and talented roster that went 60-8 in the two years she did see action for the Cards, mostly in a reserve role.  Duvall was good, no doubt about it, but others were better and the scenario eventually came to the question of deciding whether to be a reserve or a starter somewhere. College time is limited. Players want to be productive -- to play. 

She chose to seek playing time elsewhere. She turned to NKU and Carmyn Whitaker, a coach she'd known since the seventh grade. In some circles, it's thought that when Whitaker left UK as an assistant coach to take the NKU head coaching job, that was the deciding factor for Duvall to switch commitments from UK to UofL.  When Duvall went looking for a new school, Whitaker made no promises other that she'd be given a chance to earn playing time and try competition on a slightly less difficult and competitive level that the ACC. The Horizon League. A mid-major in the scheme of DI ball, but, a Kentucky university that has a loyal fan base, is less that two hours from her home and had six or seven players she was familiar with from those high school days. 

She worked hard during the COVID summer, learned the system and she and her teammates began the season against an Ohio-based slate of schools in Cincinnati, Akron, Bowling Green and Ohio St. All on the road except for Bowling Green. All losses for NKU, but, Duvall a bright spot for the Norse in a reserve role -- with 11.25 points-per-game and nine rebounds in about 26 minutes a game. Nearly a double-double -- coming off the bench. 

Whitaker consulted with another "newbie" -- assistant coach Anthony Epps. Yes, that Epps -- the UK star. He had coached against Duvall when he was at Campbellsville High School. He knew the talent within. They gave Duvall the start in the opener of Horizon League play -- against Pittsburgh-based Robert Morris, and Duvall responded with 21 points, four threes, 13 rebound in 27 minutes in a lopsided win for the Norse. If there were sightings and reportings of a new star in the sky over Highland Heights, KY -- it was probably Duvall's ascension into stardom. 

The Horizon League is doing things a bit differently in 2020. (Aren't we all?)  So far, they are pitting opponents against each other back-to-back on consecutive days. So, the next day, another NKU win and a 12-point effort from Duvall. 

Saturday and Sunday found NKU at Purdue-Ft. Wayne, home of  one of Cardinal Couple's favorite mascots -- Don the Mastodon. Lindsey found Fort Wayne to her liking, in the two NKU wins over "Don's Gang" -- she put up 38 points in her 56 minutes of  time and shot 50% (6-12) from three-point range. 

We are proud of her at Cardinal Couple. She remains one of my favorite interviews of a high school Cardinal prospect. Shoot,, I've even walked around Lindsey Duvall Park in Mt. Washington to get a little exercise. 

For Lindsey, the second chance is paying big dividends. Sometimes...those second chances do. If Lil Duv is happy and productive in her new surroundings, then I'm happy for her.  I can remember her high school coach, Chris Stallings, telling me that he'd never had a harder-working player in his coaching career. He said something to the effect of "you might beat her, but you'll never out-work her." That persistence of hard work is finally paying off for Lindsey. and NKU. And, it's a beautiful thing to see.

If anyone deserved a break, a second chance -- it's certainly been Lindsey,.. after all she's been through. 

May the good days continue. 


Sunday, December 20, 2020

PAUSING, ROWING and PODCAST -- Sunday Cardinal Couple

Still Pausing


It sure would be nice to be previewing a matchup with Miami, today, but of course that's not happening due to the Covid instigated pause in operations for Louisville Women's Basketball.

There was a Men's Basketball game that happened yesterday, but....I'm not going to touch that with a 39 1/2 foot pole.

Mostly we sit quietly, waiting and hoping we don't see the basketball on the hardwood picture again that is apparently the bringer-of-game-postponements.  As of this writing, the Duke game on December 31st is still on and played, but it's still a week and a half to play, and Duke is also in a Covid pause, so we watch and wait, and wonder if we'll be playing the 2nd half of a very drawn out double-header, or if we just go ahead and put a wrap on 2020, look towards Virginia on January 3rd of 2021 and hope for better.

Rowing News

There is still some news to share, though.

Rowing announced their "2020-2021" schedule.  It is a bit of an odd moniker for the schedule to be announcing the last two weeks of 2020 and with no events actually occurring in 2020, but Rowing schedules are typically spread over two calendar years, so they're sticking with that manner of labelling, and, sure, we can work with that.

They'll start out February 19th-20th in Dallas, hosted by SMU, in an event limited to only the fours boats.  Next they'll take the first of two trips to Oak Ridge, TN, the first is a training trip for the squad from March 3rd-7th.  They'll come back to Louisville for a bit less than a week, then head back to the mountains of eastern Tennessee for the Oak Ridge Cardinal Invite, March 13th-14th.  This is the event that UofL hosts every year, a big 12-team regatta that gets a lot of attention and great competition.

Next up, they'll meet Notre Dame halfway, in Indianapolis for a single day on March 27th to close out a busy March.

Another trip down I-75 to Oak Ridge is in the cards for April 10th-11th for the B1G Invitational.  This event will have all of the B1G competitors, plus invited guests and UofL got one of the golden tickets.

Months starting with "M" seem to get jam packed.  With warmer weather hopefully arriving, the Cards will venture further north, to Ann Arbor, MI to meet up with Michigan to start the month on the 1st-2nd

Then championship season arrives.  The ACC Championship kicks off May 14th-15th, hosted by Clemson, in Clemson, and the NCAA post-season competition is listed on May28th-30th with no location listed.

This looks like a good season with some strong competition for a Cardinals program that continues to grow and compete at higher and higher levels every year.  In a crazy year of dealing with a pandemic, the Rowing schedule looks delightfully normal, and given the nature of the sport, may be some of the most "normal looking" events on the sports calendar for the academic year.  Here's to hoping that the season goes off without a hitch and we see more success for this squad.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour extension has been completed, and it was filled up yesterday with a full five participants.  Case, Daryl, Jared, Paulie, and myself were all online and participating, and fun was had, as always.

We talked more about the pause, tried to divine whether this Duke game will happen, and how much practice teams really need when returning from a pause before trying to get back into playing games.  It's Christmas week, and we took some time to celebrate some Christmas favorites...movies, songs and food.

Check it out!