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Sunday, October 11, 2020

A Winning Weekend - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Volleyball Wins

In a match that, in a normal year, would've been Senior Night, the wide net Cards finished off the complete sweep of a good Syracuse squad.  In the CCRH, we all concluded that last night's volleyball match should be closer and more competitive than the Friday night match.  While the results were still a 3 set sweep, the play was much more competitive, and the set scores show it, 25-18, 25-21, 27-25.

Amaya Tillman and Aiko Jones probably
getting a block
The Syracuse squad in L&N Federal Credit Union Arena last night was much more like the Syracuse squad we all expected to see here in Louisville.  The Orange outblocked the Cards 9-7, and held Louisville to just .216 hitting.  Of course, the New Yorkers only hit .136.  The lesson being that just slowing down your opponent's offense isn't enough, you have to generate some offense of your own if you want to win games.

Things started well for the Cards, with a jump out to a 8-2 lead in the first set before the Orange seemed to wake up a little bit.  The two team would largely trade points the rest of the way through this set, but Syracuse would not be able to close the gap.  In the end, a powerful hit by Anna DeBeer would get the Cards the early set lead.

Louisville would play from behind in the 2nd when Syracuse got a 4-0 run early in the set to pull out from a 5-5 tie to 9-5.  More even play in the set would see Syracuse maintain that lead through 16-12 when the Cards would go on a mini run of three to shrink the gap, but not close it.  Finally, the Cards had enough and went on a six point run to take the lead and stretch it out to 22-18, helped in the process by Tori Dilfer's strong serving.  Syracuse could do nothing to close the gap, and Anna Stevenson would close this one out with a bit of an awkward looking, but effective, hit in the middle.

Aiko Jones getting to the hit before the
blockers can close out
The last set was a game of runs.  It started inauspiciously for the Cards with a pair of attack errors, but they quickly composed themselves and took a 6-2 lead including a string of three straight Aiko Jones kills.  The Orange would immediately get three of those back on good serving by the Israeli member of the Syracuse team, Ella Saada.  The Cards offense was playing well, but errors, mostly from the service line, kept them from putting together the next run.  The Cards would push out a slim lead 13-9, but then the Syracuse blocking would be instrumental in an 8-1 run to eliminate a four point Cardinal lead and get out in front at 18-15.  A pair of three point mini runs by the Cards would close down that lead and push the set into needing bonus points, tying it up at 24.  Finally, Aiko Jones would say, enough is enough and with a kill, a joint block with Amaya Tillman, and another kill would put the bow on this one, and send Syracuse back home without a set win in the weekend at all.

From a subjective and stats driven analysis, the same conclusions.  Our passing and digging were better this match.  This has been the weakest link of a pretty strong chain, but the numbers look good, with 16 digs for Libero Alexis Hamilton, and 12 for full-rotation player Claire Chaussee, the rest of the squad was all in the low to mid single digits.  I'd like to see more out of the DSes that are seeing time on the court, mostly Ayden Bartlett who only had a pair, but none from Alexa Hendricks, Mia Stander, and Ceci Rush is a little concerning.  To be fair to this trio though, they are mostly being used as serving specialists right now, so their time on the floor is limited.  Credit Claire Chaussee and Aiko Jones being fully capable of playing full rotations for limiting the role of the DSes.

Freshman Anna DeBeer showing her power
In hitting, Aiko Jones led the team with 17 and a reasonable .270, the newcomer, freshman Anna DeBeer showed her power with 12 on .259.  Perhaps keep an eye out this week for a Freshman of the Week honor?  I haven't looked around the league to see what others have been up to in comparison, but I'll be keeping an eye out.  The other Anna, Stevenson, only had seven kills, but it was an extremely efficient seven on nine attempts and only a single miscue, for .667.  A trio of service aces is a decent showing, but more importantly, keeping the service errors from getting out of control with only five helps.

Louisville will take the next week off, and then finish off the season the week after with perhaps the biggest challenge of this odd-ball season by heading up to Pitt for a pair of matches.

Field Hockey Wins

Wake Forest and Hurricane (well, Tropical Storm by that point) Delta made things interesting in Winston-Salem yesterday in Field Hockey.  The Cards would get the win 2-1 with scores in the 1st and 4th quarters.

A significant discussion point around this one was the impact tropical system Delta would have on the play and the field.  It wasn't clear, even as game time approached, just how much rain would be involved, and based on the comments from the play by play and color people on the telecast, it was looking like they would get away with minimal impacts, right up until the first pass.

But the heavens would open up and a significant amount of water would fall in the 1st half of play.  Normally I would point out that turf fields are routinely sprayed down with water to improve the playing surface for field hockey, so a little bit of rain just means a lower water bill for the hosting team.  However, in this case, there was enough rain in a short period of time to cause ponding on the field and that will have a dramatic impact on passes and part of the game, even altered how injections on penalty corners were attempted by the team to try to avoid water puddles.

The rain would largely stop, or at least slow down to a very light rain, and the field drained well for the 2nd half.

Beyond Delta, Wake Forest would keep things interesting as well, equally the Cards mark for Shots on Goal with 5, keeping Hollyn Barr busy in the cage.  When you broaden to overall shots, the Cards only held a slim edge at 12-10.

The Cards scoring got started late in the 1st quarter with Erica Cooper picking up a cross from Madison Walsh and firing it home. That was Cooper's 2nd goal of the season.  Wake would press their attack in the 2nd quarter, but Barr would get a pair of excellent saves to keep the Demon Deacons off the scoreboard in the first half.

That wouldn't hold in the 3rd quarter, though as Anne van Hoof would get a score four minutes in.  And, yes, van Hoof is indeed from the Netherlands as you might have guessed from her name.  The Cards would press their attack in the later part of the quarter, with eight shots and five penalty corners, but would not be successful in any of them.

The offensive attack would pay off in the opening minute of the 4th quarter, with the injection from Alli Bitting to Meghan Schneider for the stop to present the shot to Emilia Kaczmarczyk who fired it into the cage.  That would also be Kaczmarczyk's 2nd goal of the season.

Meche Pastor lead the team in shots, with 6, but she only put one on frame.  To her credit, however, for much of the game, she was drawing two and three defenders off of other Cardinal players to contain her.

The Cards will face Wake Forest again today at 2pm, again on RSN (so look around at the various Fox Sports Channels, Fox Sports South is a likely candidate).  This match up will not count for the conference record, but will apply to the overall record of the teams, the joys of being in the ACC, the only conference in NCAA DI playing field hockey at all.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

Finally, I think it was a winning outing for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour.  With the normal full house, Case, Jared, Paulie, and myself ran through analysis and results of Volleyball, Field Hockey, and Women's Soccer in our ongoing quest to share the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports.

A fun hour, that we kept pretty close to the hour limit so we could shift our attentions over to the field hockey game starting right after.

If you missed it, of course you can join the fun below, or via the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour podcast which should be available at this point via all your normal podcast outlets and directories.


  1. I was able to watch that Field Hockey game and, man, it was wet, wet, wet! It amazed me how many penalty corners were called in the match.

    Good "w" Cards in Volleyball too. I had to miss watching that one (work) but it sounds like the Volleyball Cards are figured it out. You go. Aiko! My fav on the squad.

    Curtis "Be Kind" Franklin

  2. No Field Hockey today.

    It was wet yesterday, but they need Arthur Albiero out there today. The game has been cancelled.


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