SO...WAS IT A GOOD FOURTH?
Just a brief diversion from today's topic to ask you...did you have a good fourth of July? Many of you may have been involved in social activities over the Fourth of July weekend, and wasn't it good to be able to do that again without the masking, distancing and less than full capacities, if you were?
I was fortunate to go to an outing over the weekend with my wife where we saw people we hadn't seen in a very long time and to catch up on their lives, their highs and lows, share our experiences and enjoy an old-fashion cookout with fireworks in the evening. Getting back to it works for now. Let's hope that we continue to slowly break away from the restrictions and limitations that the pandemic wrought upon us. We are social creatures. It's good to interact.
I hope you had a good fourth and many of you are most likely enjoying a "holiday Monday" today, getting an extra day away from the daily grind and hub-hub that can regulate our lives.
THE FALL APPROACHES -- WOMENS' SOCCER
It is getting closer, that time when our UofL fall women's sports squads will take to their various venues of competition and test their skills against competition.
Last year was weird with split schedules, limited competition and lack of fan attendance. Let's look at what might happen with Cardinal women's sports squads this fall. Maybe a "way-too-early" prognostication, but let's have some fun with it.
We'll look at women's soccer today.
Louisville women's soccer has traditionally been the first Cardinal women's sports squad to get underway in the fall, and it'll be a squad that has undergone a few changes -- roster wise and coaching cadre. No worries about the top skipper, Karen Ferguson Dayes is still at the helm and will prowl the sidellnes at Lynn, watching her crew move the ball. She's got one assistant back from last season in Hunter Norton and one new assistant in Nick Stirrett. Stirrett is a "rising young gun" in the women's soccer world, and brings in an impressive resume of previous stops at Oregon State, Illinois and Penn State to the Cardinal camp.
As far as the roster looks, it's good to have "Gabby the Goalie" (Gabby Kouzelos) back between the poles as goalkeeper and her experience and leadership will be more essential that ever this upcoming season. The line in front of the goalkeeper, the defensive backs, gets Sarah Hernandez back and a host of experienced mid-fielders in Taylor Kerwin, Maisie Whitsett, Jolene Ballard and Morgan Bentley.
When looking at potential lineups, also consider that the Cards WSOC squad has 10 freshmen coming in and it'll be fun to see which of these rise up to gain playing time
The Kickin' Cards did lose Emina Ekic on attack to graduation and the NWSL, but .do get back Delaney Snyder, Coriene Dente, Ravin Alexander and Cassie Amshoff on the front line. Scoring is where I'd like to see the Cards increase their efficiency in the upcoming season, they tallied 12 goals in 12 games last season while allowing 13.
It'll be interesting to see if the trio of Cardinal coaches can "up" the scoring output. Stirrett did it at Oregon State when he was there, as the Beavers went from six goals to 31 goals from 2018-to 2019.
I expect the Cards to improve upon last year's 5-7 record. There will be more games, I'm fully expecting, (the schedule hasn't been released yet) and Louisville should hopefully get numerous non-conference chances to work in before taking on an always tough ACC slate.
We usually let Jared stick his neck out on the chopping block here for his eye-popping season predictions on various sports here at Cardinal Couple and I'm guessing he'll get to that as the season draws closer. With Gabby in place and experience in the other slots, it won't be too much of a trial and error scenario for Louisville Women's Soccer...I fully expect the Cards to rise above.500 in 2021-22 and get some great crowds into Lynn Stadium.