PASTOR, BITTING, SCHNEIDER HONORED AGAIN
When I exchanged conversation and pleasantries with Louisville Field Hockey asst. SID Lori Korte Harmon earlier this month about the awards being bestowed on Louisville Field Hockey student-athletes, she assured me that there were more on the way.
And, she was right !
We found out yesterday that Mercedes Pastor, Alli Bitting and Meghan Schneider earned 2020 National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFCHA) All-American honors and that Pastor made the first team. Schneider received an additional honor -- being named the 2020-21 NFCHA National Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
This makes the fourth straight year that the Cardinals have had three NFCHA All-America selections and that matches a program record set in 2017.
As you might well surmise and guess, the head coach of Louisville Field Hockey Justine Sowry was pleased:
"Meghan garnering Scholar Athlete of the Year honors represents the first time this prestigious award has been received by a Louisville Cardinal. I am incredible proud of thse three young women and to have been a part of this truly unforgettable season."
Sowry went on to discuss the program's season:
This year, our program continued to build on last year's historic season. Despite the challenges of COVID and navigating both a fall and spring campaign, Louisville Field Hockey achieved unprecedented success both on the field and in the classroom. In a year that demanded so much, Mechi, Alli and Meghan anchored our team and demonstrated the resiliency that was instrumental in helping our program continue to reach new heights."
Yes, incredible things are happening at the facility that's sandwiched in between a McDonald's and a Speedway. Even with several seniors "opting out" for the spring, the Cards still made the Field Hockey Final Four and were runner-ups to powerhouse UNC in the fall's ACC Tournament. And, of course, a fall victory in conference play over the Tar Heels that snapped their 47 game win streak.
The obvious next questions are -- What can the Field Hockey squad do to top what has already been accomplished? And...who will be on the Trager turf to do it? The Cards return nine freshmen and seven sophomores from last season (that we know of) this fall --plus a couple of junior and maybe even a couple of senors. And, we have yet to hear about Sowry's incoming freshmen class in any great detail.
The obvious goals for the Cards FH contingent would appear to be winning the ACC regular season and conference tournament outright and then going to the NCAA Tournament and winning it.. It's not something that is a mere pipe dream or unattainable. The Cards have performed well in the toughest Field Hockey conference in DI. They return a multitude of starters, and backups who are poised to try and become starters.
I can remember looking at the the incoming freshmen last year and wondering what potential help could come from that class. As it turned out...plenty. The Cards got significant contributions from Sofia Pendolino, Charlie van Oirschot, Aimee Plumb and Paulina Mayer.
And, in the words of the late basketball coach Al McGuire -- the best thing about freshmen is they become sophomores. We saw last season the impact sophomores Sam Minrath, Julie Kouijzer, Katie Schneider and Mattie Tabor had on the squad.
The Cards could use a little depth at goalkeeper -- sensational sophomore Sam Minrath was the lone goalie on the roster this spring -- and a higher rate of success on penalty corners is every coach's dream -- and something Sowry would applaud, as long as it is her team putting up the improved numbers and not the squad trying penalty corners on the Cards. .
It'd be good to see the schedule return (hopefully) back to an elongated fall season with plenty of non-conference opponents as well as a full ACC slate participating.
Before you know it, it'll be time for me to trudge the steps leading to the Louisville Field Hockey offices and sit down with Coach Sowry to discuss the 2021 season.
I can't wait !!!
Have a wonderful Wednesday!