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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

THE PAULIES -- Wednesday Cardinal Couple



As University of Louisville women's fall sports start to wind down toward ACC Tournament times or a brief hiatus until the spring, let's take a look at a few of the key student-athlete performers for the Cards in three sports. 

I'll be awarding "The Paulies" today...for Women's Soccer, Field Hockey and Volleyball. The categories are Most Valuable Player, Most Improved Player and Rookie of the Season. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, I have been advised I can't do the awards in a public setting with a large crowd in attendance. I briefly considered shouting out the winners in the press box at the home WSOC game against Notre Dame this Sunday or from my seat at the FSU Football game this Saturday...but have decided to just do them here in my office, in my puffy pants and Motor City Bowl sweatshirt. The squirrels in the front yard are the only audience besides Sonya...they don't seem very interested in the event, but, hey -- it's 2020...I'm used to the scenario. So with no further adieu, I'll use a little sanitizer, wash my hands in hot water and put on my mask as we head into...The Paulies !!!  



This one was a toughie, with two prime candidates in Emina Ekic, who leads Louisville in goals scored and Gabby Kouzelos, who stops everything but traffic on Bardstown Road during rush hour. The Kickin' Cards have allowed just three  scores in six games, though, and Gabby has keyed a stingy defense that has gone under the philosophy of "if you can't score on us, you can't beat us" 

The Paulie goes to Gabby Kouzelos, who will probably promptly dive for it, catch it, set it on the pitch and kick it out to mid-field... 


Keeping in line with the philosophy of you can't win if you can't score, midfield-back Sarah Hernandez has been an integral part of what the Cards have been doing defensively. Not flashy, but -- oh, so consistent -- she just puts on the hard hat and never leaves the field. We had questions about Louisville's defensive prior to the season starting, Sarah has been a mainstay in making them look very impressive, so the Paulie goes to Sarah Hernandez, who most likely prevent me from getting the award to her and send it out to another midfield to start the attack. 


We didn't know a lot about freshman Atlanta, GA native Morgan Bentley before the season started, but, she's rapidly become a name to get to know. Ask Virginia Tech, Bentley scored the lone goal in the Cards last outing against the Hokies and has been an integral part of the Cards offense this year. The Paulie goes to Morgan Bentley and I'll have Emina Ekic send it in to her on a corner kick and let her drive it into the net. 



Getting to 5-0 this season has been a wonderful and impressive surprise for Justine Sowry's squad. The player the opposition keys on has been Mercedes Pastor. "Mechi" leads Louisville in goals scored and is the clear choice to me for the MVP designation Mercedes Pastor gets the Paulie and I'll set it in one of the corners of Trager Stadium and let her work her stick magic with it to get it in position for a shot on goal or take back to her locker. 


Following a legend is tough to do. Last year, Hollyn Barr won the battle to replace sensation Ayeshia McFerran in goal. All she did was help take the Cards to the NCAA Tournament. That being quite the accomplishment, she's come back even more impressive this season and allowed just four goals, while creating 14 saves. The red-shirt senior stops the ball from going in the net and I give her the most improved player. I'll try to leave "the Paulie award"  in the middle of the net for her, but, most likely she'll get a pad on it during my attempt and knock it out of danger. 


Several freshmen have made an impact on the pitch this year at Trager, but the most impressive to me has been the girl from Haarlem. No, that's not one of the seven boroughs of New York, it's a city in The Netherlands and the Paulie award winner is Charlie van Oirschot. She's scored twice for the Stick Girls this year and shown a ferocity on the Trager turf that really impresses me. We'll just put the award out on the field somewhere, knowing full well Charlie will find it, take control of it and advance it toward the opponent's goal. 



I go with Aiko here. The redshirt sophomore from Jamaica leads the Cards in kills and her arena rattling slams have been heard from Boston to the L&N Federal Credit Union Arena.  She's an outside hitter that draws the attention of any defense she faces and she's got some pretty nifty dance moves as well! She began her career playing Volleyball on the concrete. That's a rough go of it, especially if the need to dive for a ball comes into play 

The PAULIE GOES to Aiko Jones and I'll just toss it up in the vicinity of the net in the LNFCU and have no doubts she'll drill it past me, in bounds, for a point. 


This one is really a tough one to assign and award. I look at it like this. At Boston, the Cards were with senior setter Tori Dilfer. They went with South Alabama transfer Rachael DeMarcus and won six of the seven sets in Beantown. Granted she was outstanding while in the Sun Belt Conference as a freshman, but to step up in the ACC and turn in a performance like that -- with 81 assists -- showed me a lot. The Paulie goes to Rachael DeMarcus...I'll send it over the net and let her perform her magic with it. 


One of my favorite lines this season while watching Louisville Volleyball this year  has been "Bring on DeBeer!" and I'm not asking Sonya to bring me a cold, chilly, frosty from the fridge. The Assumption superstar hasn't disappointed at all this season for the VolleyCards and is second on the roster in kills. Anna DeBeer earns the Paulie in this category...she'll run onto the court from the sidelines to accept it and then probably send it whistling back over my head at me. 

Got a different take on any of these nine awards? Well, let me know in the comments section

 Have a wise Wednesday,



  1. I agree mostly with the Paulies but I'd pick Ekic as my WSOC MVP. She's the one the opposition keys on stopping.

    Nick O

  2. Nice to see you giving Hollyn Barr a little recognition. There was so much hoopla and frenzy over Ayeshia McFerran but, was Louisville ever #1 in the nation when she was here? Barr just gets it done. No fancy, no frills -- just hard work and knowledge.

    I've been quarantined again (starting back on Monday) Went to a cookout last week and several people there came down with Covid. I feel fine, so does Delores, still waiting for this pandemic to "turn the corner and go away" like the moron in the White House says it will.

    The Real Joe Hill


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