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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Emina Ekic Has a New Focus -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Ekic Turns Eyes to Senior Year

This spring was supposed to host Emina Ekic's next opportunity with the USWNT as she was once again called up to play for the U-23 team in the Thorns Invitational. The Thorns Invitational is part of the NWSL spring preseason and is an opportunity for the U-23 team to test their mettle against teams in the NWSL. You may remember that Ekic was a part of this event last year as well. Unfortunately, the event fell victim to the same situation as every other sporting event around this time (did you know Wimbledon has been canceled for the first time since WWII?), and it has been canceled. Instead, Emina Ekic will now turn her focus entirely to her senior season. That is, after she gets through the semester of online classes.
Ekic took over the Louisville Women's Soccer Instagram stories yesterday to show off a day in her quarantine life. She showed off a little bit of her daily workout routine, got in some homework, went through some of her favorite highlights from the season, then graced everyone with bloopers from Louisville practice sessions. Also fun were the videos of the team playing other sports, particularly watching Lana Batson become hyper-competitive in tennis and basketball. The biggest reveal in this takeover, though, was the fact that the Ekic family has a soccer-tennis court in their basement. Emina showed a brief clip of her and her brother playing, which had me fearing for the bare light bulb over the center of the court.

As she was last season, Emina Ekic will be a critical piece of the 2020 UofL Women's Soccer Team's success. Ekic finished last year as the team leader in goals, assists, shots, shots on goal, and game winning goals. It was a big difference from the year before, when Maisie Whitsett and Brooklynn Rivers raced for the team lead in goals with Ekic providing much of the chance creation. However, Ekic filled the increased role extremely well, starting in all 20 games on the season and placing 6th on the team in minutes. She was behind only Gabby Kouzelos and the four starting defenders. 

Perhaps most important was Ekic's consistency. She finished 12-20 games with at least one point. Louisville finished last season with five losses and two draws. Six of those seven results came in the eight games that Ekic did not register a point. It is an incredible ask of a player to earn a point in every single game. However, if Ekic can continue to do so in at least half of the games, and the offense can step up to help replace some of the talent that is being lost this year as well as supporting Ekic on days when she's not all the way "on," this team could continue to be very scary next year.

This story started about Ekic's future, so I'll end it that way as well. I feel pretty confident saying that whenever Louisville plays their final game in the 2020 season, we will not have heard the last of Emina Ekic. She has been gaining invites to USWNT camps for quite some time and I can't imagine why that would stop. I'm excited to see what she will bring to the table for Louisville in 2020, and I'm even more excited to see what the soccer world beyond college holds for her.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

We're no longer on the radio but I've decided I'm not giving up calling it that any time soon. We can throw the word podcast onto the end of it and call it a day. Anyway, the show is back today. We'll have Jared on board as well which gives us a full house. Tune in to the Cardinal Couple YouTube Channel at 11AM for this week's show, or catch the replay on the YouTube channel any time after the show ends. 

Until next time, Go Cards!

1 comment:

  1. Emina will be a force for the Soccer Cards. I wonder how delayed the start of the season will be and certainly hope the virus is gone by then.

    Seeing a lot more masks, bandannas and gloves in the grocery starting yesterday. I'd like to thank you for that, because you are helping protect my health as well as yours.

    Curtis "We're all in this together" Franklin


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