We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Friday, September 17, 2021

#5 FH opens ACC hosting #11 Virginia -- WSOC opens ACC at Miami: FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


(taps mic...)

Is this thing on? Check. Check. 

*She dusts off the spot in the rotation with the gang. 

Happy Friday Readers.  Finally some weekend luster.  As summer reaches the end, I look forward to an opportunity to recharge. Fall sports in full swing in the Ville.  Some very impressive teams have emerged into the national spotlight...


The Field Hockey Cards have reached 6-0 for the third consecutive season.  The team will open conference play Friday afternoon when they welcome #11 Virginia to Trager Stadium.  It'll be the second #11 ranked squad from Virginia that UofL will have played this week as they just topped Liberty (Lynchburg, VA) on Sunday when the Flames held the eleventh spot.  The Cards are wrapping up a 4-game home-stand with two ranked opponents, #11 UVA and #2 Iowa. 

The Cavaliers have won 4 in a row beating Miami (Ohio) 2-0 a week ago.  For what its worth, Virginia topped Liberty in their exhibition on August 20th. UVA has beaten its opponents by a combined total 15-4 goals this year (I'm not including the exhibitions).  They're lead by Senior Virginia native, Peyton Tollaksen.  She has 4 goals on 10 shot attempts. The Cavs average more than 24 shots per game while holding opponents to just 7.6 per game. The Cards are also holding its opponents to just 8 shots per game while averaging almost 14 of their own. UVA leads the series 8-7 with Louisville winning the last four meetings.



Coming off a tie and a loss for the WSOC Cards, the squad is ready to get back in the win column with a victory at Miami in the ACC opener.  This will be the sixth conference opener on the road for the Cards out of the last 8 seasons.  UofL is 4-3 in ACC opening matches.  The Cardinals opened the 2020 ACC schedule with a 3-0 win at Miami.  The Hurricanes are coming off a 1-0 loss to South Florida on Sunday.   WSOC is averaging 2.5 goals per game while allowing opponents an average 1.17 goals a game. 

Miami has scored just 5 goals on the season and have gone 3-3 on the year, 2-2 at home. Louisville is 5-1-1 all-time against Miami. The Cardinals have won four straight matches and have outscored the Hurricanes a combined 8-0 in the last four. The last time the Cards lost to the Hurricanes was October 20, 2016.  Both Juniors, Maria Jakobsdottir leads the Hurricanes with three assists and Melissa Dagenais in the net at goalkeeper this season, compiling 21 saves and a .840 save percentage. Last season, Miami finished the season with a 1-11-1 record, including 0-8 in ACC play.


There are plenty of UofL athletics to occupy your time with this Friday!  Whether its on Floyd Street or the ACCN/E, cheer loud and proud for our Cards!  These squads are something to be very excited about :)

I'll be on The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast this Saturday to discuss the joys and excitement of UofL womens' sports.  I look forward to discussing the VolleyCARDS huge win over the Cats at LNFCU Arena on Wednesday as well as the fun weekend events the athletics department has planned.

Case is off, and someone has to watch Jared...join us at 11 a.m. !!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Cards Beat the Cats -- WBB ACC Schedule -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Take Down Cats in Five

Everyone good? Heart rates back to normal? Recovery mode is much easier following a win!

#5 Louisville Volleyball defeated rival and #8 Kentucky in five sets (17-25, 25-20, 25-22, 20-25, 15-9) last night at L&N Federal Credit Union Arena in front of 1258 fans.

Louisville broke a seven match losing streak dating back to 2013. The Cards last won at the KFC Yum! Center in 2012, 3-1. Prior to last night's match, Louisville last won a set in 2015.

The first set started anything but great for the Cards. It appeared that nerves got to the Cards early with attack errors and service errors coming in from left and right. UK doubled up the Cards 16-8 about midway through the set before Louisville went on a 3-0 run to help close the gap some. The Cats responded with a 4-1 run to push their lead back to eight. Louisville never got closer than five points the rest of the set as Kentucky cruised to an opening set victory, 25-17.

Louisville seemed to have calmed down and focused better in the second set. The teams played a game of seesaw for much of the set, often trading points as we got midway through the set at 13 apiece. Led down the stretch by Team Anna and assisted with a pair of UK errors down the stretch, Louisville would pull away for a 25-20 second set win.

A freshly energized crowd welcomed the Cards out for the second half, and Louisville wasted no time riding on their momentum to push ahead to an 8-2 lead. UofL spread the wealth with four different Cards earning a kill for the first four points. Louisville held a 16-10 lead and was feeling good, but the reigning national champions weren't ready to go down in the third set without a fight. Kentucky won the next four points and seven of the next nine to pull within one. A quick pair of points for the Cards gave them a 21-18 edge, but Kentucky fought back to even the score at 21 all. A kill and a little help on an attack error gave Louisville a two-point cushion before the Cats cut it back to one. A timely service error for the Cats put Louisville at a set point and the Cards capitalized to take the 25-22 win.

UK pulled a reverse card (in UNO terminology) out with the fourth set, pulling out to an early 10-5 lead. Five of Kentucky's points came from Louisville attack errors as it appeared the first set might repeat itself. A few mini runs helped UofL pull within one at 17-16. However, a 4-0 Kentucky run featuring an ace and a pair of UofL errors gave the Cats room to work with down the stretch. Louisville would not get within more than three the remainder of the set as the fast-paced Kentucky offense sent in a volley of attacks to win the set 25-20.

What's a rivalry without a close game, right? The two foes geared up for a fifth set in front of a rocking L&N FCU Arena crowd. If there were ever time to see ping pong scoring the fifth set would be it. UofL and UK would trade points up to a 6-6 score. Back-to-back attack errors by the Cards gave Kentucky a two-point edge. The Cards and Cats traded the next two points, and with Kentucky holding a 9-7 lead, things seemed to be slipping away for the Cards. Cue the Disney movie script. Down to the wire with their backs against the wall, everything seemed to go right for the Cards. A solid attack with several blocks helped Louisville to an 8-0 run to claim the set, 15-9.

Game, set, match! The Cards bench ran onto to court to celebrate with the active rotation, hugging each other and jumping into each others' arms, the crowd went wild, the lights flashing on and off, and the Louisville fight song played over the speakers. This is the point in the Disney movie where you see the credits start rolling. What we're hoping for here is one of the feel-good sports movies where you see a freeze frame with "Louisville would go on to win the national championship in an undefeated season" moments happen.

Louisville put up some impressive numbers on the night. Amaya Tillman, the block queen, recorded nine blocks. Many of Tillman's blocks came down the stretch in the fifth set in crunch time. Claire Chaussee led the Cards with 18 kills. Chaussee came alive in the third set to help power Louisville to a win that set and then she played a crucial role in the fifth set. Team Anna (DeBeer and Stevenson) recorded 14 and 12 kills, respectively. Kentucky actually had three more kills the Cards on the match.

Despite being a five set match, aces seemed to be far and few between. Louisville had four aces (three by Aiko Jones and one by DeBeer) while Kentucky finished with three.

The big difference of the match was blocks. Kentucky recorded eight blocks, but were no match for one of the best blocking teams in the country. Louisville tallied 15 blocks on the night, nearly doubling up UK, mainly from the big night by Tillman, Jones and Stevenson each having strong nights on the blocking end.

Tori Dilfer powered the Cards in the middle with 44 assists as well as recording nine digs and a pair of kills. ACC Freshman of the Week Elena Scott led the back row with 18 digs. DeBeer added 10 digs.

Improving to 9-0 on the year, I think we can thank the blazer for the win. Coach Dani Busboom Kelly pulled out the red blazer for the match.

Louisville now travels to #6 Nebraska for a match on Saturday, Sept. 18. It's the second straight Top 10 match-up for Louisville and their third in the last four matches.

WBB ACC Schedule Announced

This dynamic duo has been everywhere lately

Louisville Women's Basketball announced their ACC schedule yesterday. The 15-game schedule features two games against Boston College, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse.

ACC play begins Dec. 30 when Boston College comes to the KFC Yum! Center. The conference schedule runs all the way through Feb. 27, with the season finale coming at Notre Dame. Senior Day is set for Feb. 20 against Virginia Tech. 

Louisville had two conference losses last year- at Florida State and at home against NC State. The Cards travel to Raleigh on Jan. 20 and host the Seminoles on Jan. 27.

We will go over the the schedule more on Saturday on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podast and in the weeks to come.

Happy Thursday and Go Cards!


Wednesday, September 15, 2021



Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd (I had a hat just like his...) 

Does it surprise you with the news that UofL and UK have played in Volleyball against each other 56 times since 1976?  45 years worth.  Some of you dear readers weren't born when the rivalry started. As for me, ol' Paulie was a dapper dude down on the Belknap campus, making the conversion from disco, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and leisure suits to Lynyrd Skynyrd, blue jeans and "Free Bird". 

The long-standing series is currently in the Cats favor 31-25. And, slipping back to 2019, UK won the last matchup between the two Volleyball squads 3-0 -- up in Memorial Barnyard Coliseum. Both squads are top 10 ranked coming in to tonight's battle...the Cards (8-0) sitting at #5 in the latest poll and UK (6-2) is at #8, according to the coaches who vote on such. 

The incomparable Katie George 

Tonight's venue is the LNFCU, affectionately still called Cardinal Arena  and, no, not a new vegetable soup option, but the L&N Federal Credit Union Arena. The showdown is sold out, but will be available on ESPNU. And, Katie George comes in for the color analysis work tonight, with Eric Frede on mic as well. It's set for a 7 p.m. E.T start. 

It'll be Cardinal VB hed coach Dani Busboom Kelly's fourth attempt to best the Cats.  They'll  no doubt be buoyed by the news that Louisville libero Elena Scott was just named ACC Freshman of the Week. She put on the hard hat went went to work in the Cards last two outings, getting 16 digs against Purdue and 13 against Xavier. In case your Volleyball terminology is not real proficient...a "dig" is the first contact made after an attacker from the offensive team sends the ball over to the defensive team. Basically, you're keeping the ball from hitting the floor -- and we can dig that. 

(We love DeBeer ! ) 

Weapons? Yeah, the Cards have an arsenal full. 

Anna DeBeer, Aiko Jones, Tori Dilfer and  Amaya Tillman were all named for ACC pre-season honors. Anna Stevenson, Claire Chausee and Elena Scott have impressed and played well for the VolleyCards this season, too. And, the Cards have been a dominant force in sets. Consider that the Cards have played 26 sets in eight games -- and won 24 of them. And blocking? (No. not the gridiron kind) It's been superlative as well. The Cards 3.21 blocks per set is tied for first in the country. And, the .335 hitting percentage ranks second in DI. 

The Cards eight wins have been against Cal Poly, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, Arizona State, Missouri, South Dakota, NKU, Purdue and Xavier. 

As for the visitors, they still have Cardinals nemeses Madi Skinner (98 kills), Alli Stumler (79 kills and eight service aces), middle blocker Azhani Tealer. The Cats battled Creighton  University early Saturday morning on Sept 4th and inexplicably suffered a straight-set loss (in Lexington) to the BlueJays. They also fell, in four sets, to #2 ranked Wisconsin five days ago in Madison. Wins have come against Texas St., Dayton, Cincinnati, N. Iowa, So. Cal., and Marquette...and they've all been straight-set, 3-0 sweeps. 

I'm not seeing either squad taking tonight's match in straight-set fashion. The only thing you can depend on is that it'll be loud (and very warm) in the LNFCU. When the facility was upgraded a few years back and Volleyball moved from the KFC YUM! Center to their current home, someone forgot to call a HVAC company in to upgrade the A/C units. At least there are none of those annoying fans that grace the ceiling of UK's home court. I always wondered if a high "set" were to get clipped by one of those fan blades in Memorial, how the officials would react? 

Our Volleyball expert Jeff will be "in house" cheering the Cards on and probably too busy to tweet. Ace photographer Jared will also be in the LNFCU. taking "selfies" with attendees and snapping photos of student-athletes jumping. He'll also recap the results in the Thursday Cardinal Couple and we'll add plenty of his excellent photographs to the article. 

As for me, I'm content to rest these old bones in my recliner and watch the proceedings on my TV. It should be a great evening of Volleyball action, let's hope the VolleyCards can win the blocks, kills and aces battles and break the seven-game UK win streak. The Cats will come in with mucho attitude, after all, they are the defending National Champions and very, very talented. Hopefully, it won't be a "Wildcat Win Wednesday" and they go back on their bus back to Lexington on I-64 East tonight with an "L" levied by Louisville. 

What could be a better birthday gift for L/DS senior Mia Stander than a UofL win? 

Have a Wise Wednesday! 


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Vball Rankings Shakeup -- Guessing the FH Rankings -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

 Volleyball Rankings Shakeup

In anticipation for tomorrow night, we saw the NCAA Volleyball rankings look like a Chinese fire drill in what is nearly impossible to follow.

The good news is that Louisville shot up to #5 after sitting at #10 last week. The Cards improved to 8-0 on the year after sweeping then-#6 Purdue and Xavier. Louisville has brought the brooms out on seven of their wins so far with the only two sets they've lost in being to Arizona State.

ACC rival Pitt sits one spot ahead of the Cards at #4. The Panthers improved to 8-0 with a trio of wins last weekend. Louisville hosts Pitt on Oct. 24, and travels there on Nov. 24.

Georgia Tech is the other ACC team in the Top 25 coming in at #18. The Yellow Jackets are now 7-1 following three wins at the Georgia Tech Classic over the weekend.

Texas and Wisconsin remained in the top two positions without any reason for argument. Ohio State climbed to #3 with Pitt and UofL rounding out the top five.

Nebraska dropped to #6. The Huskers swept Creighton before falling in five sets to Utah. They play #16 Stanford tonight before hosting Louisville on Saturday.

Washington moved up to #7 and Kentucky remained at #8. The Wildcats dropped a match to Wisconsin before sweeping Marquette right after. UK comes to town Wednesday night.

Purdue fell down to #9 following the Cards' victory over them. Utah jumped from #20 all the way up to #10. Then, Utah fell in four sets to Boise State last night so their visit to the Top 10 probably won't survive the next poll.

Based off the current rankings, Louisville has six ranked opponents remaining on the schedule: Kentucky, Nebraska, Georgia Tech (2x), and Pitt (2x).

Jeff and I will be in attendance for Wednesday's match against the Cats. UK has had the Cards' number in recent years, but with a great blocking team and a sold out L&N Federal Credit Union, we hope to see the streak switch in favor of Louisville.

Sticking with volleyball for a moment longer, we have a couple stats to highlight. Louisville's 3.21 blocks per set ranks second in the country behind Penn State at 3.31.

Amaya Tillman is third in the country in individual blocks per set at 1.83. The two players ahead of her are at 1.85 blocks per set so it's a tight race. Tillman also ranks nationally in another category with her .473 hitting percentage ranking eighth.

Aiko Jones' .65 aces per set ranks eighth nationally. Louisville's .335 hitting percentage ranks second in the country. 

The season is still incredibly young to look at finalists for individual and team statistics, but it's a hot and promising start!

Field Hockey Rankings Coming Soon

Michigan, Iowa, and Boston College all remained undefeated and should hold the top three spots when the latest rankings get released later today.

However, #4 North Carolina got upset for a third time this season. Saint Joseph's shocked the Tar Heels 3-2 on Friday before UNC bounced back with a 7-1 win at Drexel. The 3-3 Tar Heels may drop several spots following a loss to an unranked opponent.

Northwestern is on a hot streak with three straight wins against ranked opponents and should be moving up to the fourth spot.

Louisville, who somehow fell to #6 in last week's rankings, is now 6-0 on the year following wins against Indiana and #11 Liberty. There is no doubt they should move back up to #5.

We will have more with those rankings and news later this week.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, September 13, 2021

Give Me (a 3-1 win over) Liberty -- Vince offers an apology -- MONDAY CARINAL COUPLE


Another top 15 opponent, another Louisville Field Hockey win Sunday, as the Cards defend Trager Stadium Sunday by putting out the Flames 3-1. 

Louisville Field Hockey is now 6-0 and got goals from three different student-athletes on a bright, clear and warm day down on Floyd Street. 

The two squad engaged in a score first quarter, both getting a shot on goal but no score. Both defenses were getting the job done and Louisville freshman goalkeeper was turning any Flames attempts away -- she ended up registering a career-high seven saves in the contest. 

Louisville struck first in the first minute of the second quarter. A stolen Liberty pass attempt by Mattie Tabor resulted in a shot across the circle and into the goal. It was the third goal of the season for the Louisville Sacred Heart junior midfielder and the Cards increased the lead a few minutes later to 2-0 when Mackenzie Karl followed up on a Aimee Plumb shot attempt and sent the rebound into the net for the senior midfielder's first career goal. 

The 2-0 lead held up to halftime...the Cards holding a 5-1 shot advantage. 

A defensive third quarter ensued with Liberty trying six shots but not finding any success.


The fourth quarter proved a little more successful for the visitors, as they capitalized on a Cardinals error in the attacking circle and the Flames cut the Cardinals lead to 2-1. Louisville had the response, though, midway through the final session when they earned a penalty corner and Plumb added a score for her first goal of the season. That concluded the scoring for the match. 

Jared Anderson was there representing Cardinal Couple and got these great photos you see here thoday, plus catching up with Louisville Field Hockey head coach Justine Sowry after the match for comments. You can hear them below: 


Jared also got the opportunity to interview Mackenzie Karl after the match as well, and you can hear those comments at the link below: 


Sunday's effort was a hard-earned win for the Cards and leads way now to an upcoming weekend that will be one of the toughest that the Cards will face this season. A pair of top ten ranked opponents visit Trager, starting with #10 ACC Conference foe Virginia on Friday. It doesn't get any easier for the Cards, as #2 Iowa visits on Sunday. 

(Today's photos from Jared Anderson) 


Yes, we are a Louisville women's sports website and 95% of our coverage falls into that category. We do realize, though, that some of our readers follow other Cardinals sports, including Football. 

If you attended Saturday night's game vs. EKU, you may have experienced some concession stand or other difficulties. I know that it took my wife a half hour to get two bottles of water and a system malfunction failed to accept her debit card three times. 

She wasn't alone, according to other fans' comments at other websites.

Vince Tyra address the issue with a Monday morning e-mail. Here it is: 

Dear Cards Fans,
I want to apologize to you directly for the profoundly unacceptable issues we experienced last night at Cardinal Stadium, in particular, excessive concessions wait times and ticket scanning. 
Simply put, last night did not meet your standard or expectation, and certainly did not meet ours.
We share your frustration and are working with immediacy to address these issues within our department and with our operational partners, Centerplate and CSC. We are actively working thorough operational solutions today regarding everything from technical device failure to labor voids. 
You will hear from me again within the next 48 hours to communicate those outcomes and changes to ensure a much-improved, aligned and positive in-venue fan experience for this Friday’s game.
Thank you for candor, your passion and continued support of Louisville Football. 

I'll be back in touch soon.

(We'll let the words stand as is, with hopes that the assurances come to fruition Friday if you attend football.)   


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Volleyball Finishes the Weekend Sweep - Sunday Cardinal Couple

 Volleyball Shoots Down the Musketeers

The wide net Cards spent the weekend in the Queen City and came away with a full sweep.  Six sets of volleyball and six wins.  They finished off the feat last night, beating Xavier University 25-16, 25-12, 25-10.

UofL jumped on XU quickly, going on a 4-0 run to start the match, then extending the lead to 10-3 before XU would show a bit of life to narrow the lead a bit to 13-10.  That was about all of the life there was for the Musketeers in the first set though, as the Cards cruised away to the 25-16 win.

The second set started with a bit more back and forth.  The Cards never trailed, but XU kept it close through the opening points, getting to only a single point deficit at 6-5 before Emily Scott and Nena Mbonu both put down kills and a couple of attack errors from XU pretty well ended the challenge in the set.  UofL would again cruise on to the a 25-12 win in the set.

Finally, the third set was pretty much a UofL sprint to the finish line.  The best stretch for XU would be from 18-6 to 21-9, and that was only exchanging points.  XU would not get a single point out of their own service in this third set, and the deed was done, 25-10.  

Let's be fair, here.  Xavier is a good mid-major team, but is for sure a mid-major.  Meanwhile, Louisville has silenced any doubters that they are a Top 10 team, and are making arguments for Top 5.  I don't believe anyone truly expected a Xavier win, here, but there was some concern of a let down match after UofL handily knocked of 6th ranked Purdue Friday.  Even with a bit of a shuffled line-up, it was clear that UofL was a finely tuned machine and in another class of play from Xavier.

We did see a bit of a line-up adjustment in this one, giving Amaya Tillman and Anna DeBeer a bit of a rest before the mid-week game against rival UK.  This means Nena Mbonu and Claire Chaussee were both in the starting line-up at the same time, a combo we haven't seen yet this year.  It also brought Emily Scott into the starting ranks.  The Wisconsin connection between Chaussee and Scott worked well with two getting together for a huge block on XU in the 2nd set.  Scott also got several blocks shared with Aiko Jones on the right side.

The hitting was gaudy, but the cheeseheads reigned with Chaussee leading the charge.  She put down 17 kills on 24 attempts for an eye popping .667.  Emily Scott was close behind in percentage with .636 from an error-free seven kills.  A quick shout out for Jamie Vasilou, the former manager now walk-on, who came in and served several vicious serves in the 2nd set, picking up a pair of back-to-back aces in the process.  We also saw Rachel DeMarcus come in to set for the last third or so of the third set and Brooke Smith got a chance to play in front of a number of family, friends, and former coaches.

All in all, a great weekend for the Dani Busboom Kelly's squad.  The big win on Friday over Purdue made the volleyball world sit up and take notice, but the win last night was just a fun romp in the midst of a really tough section of schedule.

Next up is, of course, the big battle with defending National Champions, and huge in-state rival Kentucky on Wednesday night.  The first sign of danger for the Cats was getting swept last weekend by Creighton, but this weekend didn't help their ranking prospects.  A loss on Friday night to, admittedly 2nd ranked, Wisconsin will likely drop them a little further when rankings are updated tomorrow.  And while it was a UK sweep, last night's match against unranked Marquette was a battle, 25-21, 30-28, 26-24.

After UK, the Cards will do battle against a very good Nebraska team Saturday night in Lincoln.  Nebraska is ranked 3rd currently, but will drop after 20th ranked Utah pulled off the reverse sweep in Lincoln, 18-25, 24-26, 27-25, 25-22, 15-13.  I was listening to the audio stream of this one on the way back from Cincinnati, arriving home very late in the 3rd set and turned it off thinking NU was going to finish it off.  As the great quote machine Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

Today's Action

Two women's teams are in action today.

Softball hops on the bus to head down I-64 to open their fall exhibition schedule with a double header starting at 1pm against Eastern Kentucky.

Our 6th ranked Field Hockey squad will also be in action at 1pm today, but at home in Trager Stadium.  They'll play host to 11th ranked Liberty.  The Cards and the Flames each have a single win in the series with Louisville winning the last one 3-1 in 2015.

The Flames are coming off their only loss of this young season so far against 5th ranked Northwestern.  They have wins over UC Davis, Cal, and 25 Stanford.

Keep an eye out for Jill Bolton, who shared the preseason Big East Offensive Player of the Year award, and Azul Iritxity Irigoyen is expected to do great work in the Liberty cage, picked as the preseason Big East Defensive Player of the Year, after winning the 2020 same postseason award.  Irigoyen is from Buenos Aires, and of course, Louisville knows all about the skill Argentinians can bring to the game.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, again for the CCRHP, with Case, Jared, Paulie, and myself on the call.  We miss having Daryl on the show and hope she will be able to join us again soon, but she has button pushing duties that she has to attend to.

As you would expect from the mid-fall timeframe, we spent out time talking Volleyball, Field Hockey, and Soccer.  This show was engineered live from the lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn Cincinnati Midtown and I don't think you can hear the Muzak in the background behind me at all.

Check out the show below on Youtube, or you can pick up Case's slightly edited and tweaked version from your favorite podcast location, a number of which are listed below.

Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Breaker: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
RadioPublic: Link
Spotify: Link

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Fall Sports Snag Three B1G Results -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Volleyball Sweeps No. 6 Purdue

UofL Volleyball hopped on the bus yesterday to head to Cincinnati (with Jeff following closely behind in much less of a buslike vehicle). Their destination was a weekend event hosted by Xavier in which Louisville was set to play Purdue and the hosting Xavier team. These are two of Louisville's four major tests before conference play, as this weekend will be followed by a midweek matchup against UK and a final preseason weekend match against Nebraska. Xavier is not receiving votes, but they always field a competitive team. On the other hand, the AVCA's 9/6 poll had Purdue at 6, Kentucky at 8, and Nebraska at 3. Louisville is tenth in the poll.

The first match of this murderous end to the preseason showed that the rankings may not quite tell the whole story so far this preseason. Louisville came out against the Boilermakers and showed themselves to be quite a formidable opponent. The Cards' defense came to play in this one, as the team finished with 12 blocks and 56 digs. Neither team committed very many hitting errors, as Purdue had just six (18 total minus 12 blocks) and Louisville had only seven (14 total with seven blocks). That put both teams' defenses to work and the Cards came out ahead. Anna DeBeer and Tori Dilfer tied with 12 digs apiece while Elena Scott, who appears to have locked down the libero role, finished with 16. From a blocking perspective, Louisville had an extremely efficient blocking match. Their 12 blocks in the sweep gave them 4.0 per set, a pace that, if it could be consistent, would break BYU's 3.85 per set accomplished in the 2014 season. Amaya Tillman led the way with seven block assists and one solo with Aiko Jones hot on her heels with six assists and one solo. Anna Stevenson had two solo and one assist while DeBeer and Dilfer added a single block assist each.

From a serving perspective, Louisville continued to trend the right direction, finishing with five aces compared to only seven errors. They're still on the wrong side of that ratio, but Purdue finished with one and six so the Cards won more points than they lost overall. Offensively, it wasn't the showiest statline, as Louisville finished with just a 0.257 hitting percentage, but some of the top offensive leaders got it done as expected. DeBeer added to her 12 digs with 12 blocks. She and Jones tied for the team lead in errors with five, but they combined for a total of 20 kills on 51 attempts so you'll take the good with the bad. Stevenson showed back up after being a bit quiet offensively recently as she hammered 11 kills on 18 attempts with no errors. Tillman finished with five kills and Dilfer with three.

In the match, Louisville was never really threatened throughout. The match was close toward the beginning of each set, but Louisville was able to put a five point cushion between themselves and Purdue by the time they got to the 20-point mark in all three sets. They won the first two sets 25-19 and 25-16. Purdue's biggest push came when they were up against it in the third set, fighting to not get swept as a top-10 team. The Cards once again hit the 20-15 scoreline (how weird is that?) but Purdue held tighter this time. The Boilermakers went on a 4-1 run to make 21-19 in favor of the Cards. Louisville snagged one extra point in the remaining trades to win 25-21. 

The Cards are back in action tonight, looking to move to 8-0 on the season against the host Musketeers. They'll take on Xavier at 6:30 tonight. This one, like last night's match, is on FloSports, so you'll have to fork out a bit of cash if you want to watch it live. Otherwise, Jeff will have his report from live inside the arena when he writes it up tomorrow.

Soccer Draws No. 16 Michigan

Well, it's not a big win over a ranked team, but it's not a crushing loss either. As much as you all know that I hate college soccer overtime rules, it is good to escape with a draw against a Michigan team that looked absolutely defeated when they were unable to secure the win. Louisville moves to 4-1-1 with the 1-1 draw and gets a bit back on track after the disappointing showing against Western Kentucky earlier in the week.

It was a defensive battle for Louisville, as they were on their heels from the moment the opening whistle blew. Michigan is a strong offensive team and loves to get numbers forward in attack. Casey Whitfield on the commentary noted that Louisville's best chance in this one would be to sit back and counter attack hard on turnovers, much in the same way JMU did against the Cards earlier this year with reasonable success. Michigan had scored 13 goals already entering the game and had only given up two. Their only loss came 1-0 against USC in overtime. Louisville had their work cut out for them.

Right out of the gate, Michigan was ready to attack, picking up an offsides call just 27 seconds into the match. Their first shot didn't come until the seventh minute, but they would go on to put up 24 shots in the match, with eight of those being on frame. The Wolverines had more shots on goal than Louisville had total shots, as the Cards finished with just six. Fortunately for Louisville, Michigan squandered a number of opportunities, as they found themselves in great shooting positions more than once and put the ball off line. It can be great to have 24 shots in a game, but if only one-third of them are on frame, you may find yourself in a 1-1 draw at the end of the day. 

The first goal of the game came in the 19th minute, when one of Michigan's searching crosses finally found a home. The goal was by Nicki Hernandez, her fifth of the season, and it appeared that they might smell blood in the water. Louisville didn't flinch, though. The Cards responded just under two minutes later as Nina Nicosia pushed forward and found herself an unassisted goal. It was her third of the year and tied the game at one. From there, Louisville returned to parking the bus. Toward the end of the first half, Louisville once more found themselves attacking. Twice within a minute, the Cards found open looks but both shots were off target.

The second half play-by-play indicates a lot of action on just one side of the sheet. Louisville found two opportunities in the half, but both shots were easily saved by the UM goalkeeper. Gabby Kouzelos, on the other hand, found herself and her defense were quite busy, as the Wolverines piled on another eight shot attempts in the second half. The Cards escaped and headed to the worst part of collegiate soccer: golden goal overtime.

Once more, Louisville was on the back foot. The Cards were unable to find any footing offensively and actually finished the first overtime with as many fouls as Michigan had shots. Michigan's best chance came in the 97th minute with a flurry of activity. With so many Louisville players back on defense, the goal was congested and a shot toward goal was blocked by a defender. Since Michigan likes to put so many players forward, they recovered the ball once more and fired another shot. This one was the type of shot that is in the books as off frame but in reality couldn't be more on it. The shot ricocheted off the crossbar and stayed out of goal. The Cards got lucky again. 

The final ten minutes were chaos. Michigan finished with five shots in the last OT period and Louisville returned the favor on the other end. The Cards could only manage one shot in their final effort but threatened to find space more than once. The defense, on the other hand, had to hold on tight as Michigan's early onslaught put up three of their shots in the first five minutes. The ball stayed in Louisville's defensive end for the majority of the period and most of their touches were attempts just to clear some breathing space.

A draw is hardly ever a satisfying result, but it is safe to say that Louisville was pleased to get away with this one. If not for a touch of luck more than once, they could have found themselves in a hole they would have been unable to dig out of and a draw against a top-25 team is certainly better than a loss. Louisville will take the momentum from the strong defensive performance into conference play as they open the ACC season against Miami on Friday at 7PM.

Field Hockey Blanks IU in Sowry's 200th Win

It was a night of celebration for Louisville field hockey after a hard fought victory over the neighboring Hoosiers. Justine Sowry earned her 200th career coaching win in the 1-0 shutout for Louisville. After the game, our own Jared Anderson got to talk with Coach Sowry, where she lauded the improved Indiana side, indicated that their pressing style gave the Cards fits, and noted there was a lot to learn from the game. You can hear the whole interview here. 

Coach Sowry was also a bit disappointed in her offense, as they managed just two shots on goal. IU was 4-1 entering yesterday's game but had given up six goals on the season, four of them in their only loss against Lafayette. Given Louisville's offensive prowess, it would have been nice for the Cards to see a bit more success against what wasn't the most stellar defense they will play this season. As Coach said, there's plenty to learn. The goal Louisville did manage was scored in a way that will make followers of Louisville field hockey over the last few years happy: a converted penalty corner. The Cards and Hoosiers each earned two in the first half, and Louisville made the most of the Alli Bitting pass on their first with a Mackenzie Karl stop and a Filippa Niebuhr goal. 

Coming out of halftime, IU was determined to get on the board and make it a new game. They put up four shots in the quarter and earned four corners. Two of the shots managed to find the frame, but Mila de Kuijer was up to the task and nabbed two saves. They were Indiana's only two shots on goal of the game. After weathering the storm, Louisville earned two more corners of their own in the fourth quarter but they were unable to make them count.

The Cards escaped the tough matchup with a 1-0 victory, and they live to fight another day. Despite Coach Sowry's disappointment, a win is a win, and the team moves to 5-0. Louisville gets right back into it with a matchup against Liberty tomorrow at 1PM. Admission is free at Trager and the game will be on ACC Network Extra.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Another Saturday means another Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast, and it has been another exciting week. Unfortunately, the fall sports are no longer undefeated after Louisville soccer dropped their match against WKU earlier this week, but the teams have still be extremely successful so far. We'll cover all of the matches that were as well as any other news that has come out this week. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Breaker: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
RadioPublic: Link
Spotify: Link

Until next time, Go Cards!

Friday, September 10, 2021



(Daryl has run away from home and left a note instructing me to do her Friday article while she books passage on a steamer to Singapore. Just kidding, her Bats duties have her tied up and last night and you get me, Paulie, to fill in. Any complaints should be sent to Bill The Goat, c/o Cardinal Couple, who will eat them after Timmy the Intern reads them to a fairly uninterested Cardinal Couple Lunch Room contingent.) .   

For many years, ACC Field Hockey has been widely considered the "top of the mark". The best Field Hockey conference in DI NCAA  and the standard for excellence. This season, at least in the eyes of the NCAA DI Field Hockey coaches, there is a changing of the guard. We find three BIG 10 schools in the top five of the early rankings (#1 Michigan, #2 Iowa and #5 Northwestern) and just two ACC schools (#3 Boston College and #4 UNC). And the mighty, seeming untouchable TarHeels are an unimpressive 2-2 on the season -- taking losses to both Michigan and Iowa in the ACC/Big 10 challenge in Iowa City. 

Our Louisville Cardinals Field Hockey squad is re-knocking at the top five door at #6. The Cards were #5, won two games at Princeton against the Tigers and Penn, and then dropped a spot in the latest coaches poll. Yeah, go figure. 

The Cards are 4-0 on this young season and face their first Big 10 opponent this evening in IU. A 6 p.m. match at Trager Stadium, that'll be shown on the ACC Network Extra.  IU is the first of four Big 10 opponents the Cards will face this season -- and our neighbors to the north aren't having a bad, at all, start to their season with a 4-1 record. 

This series is known as the "Battle of the Border" and the Cards lead the series 15-7. Louisville has won the last seven matches agains the Hoosiers. They did not play in 2019, but the Cards took a 5-0 decision in 2019. 

IU and the Cards have a similar opponent this season -  sort of -- in Bellarmine. Louisville scrimmaged against the Knights early in the schedule and won 10-0 before the teams practiced 7v7 and post-game, tie breaking shootouts. Bellarmine won the latter two, so I suppose you could call the final 10-2. Whatever you want to name it, it was a dominating Cardinals performance. IU hosted Bellarmine on Monday and defended the home turf with a 3-0 win over the Knights. 

IU's lone loss this season was at the hands of Lafayette, up in Columbus, OH .on Sunday. .The Hoosiers took a 4-0 beating from the unranked Leopards (5 bonus points if you previously knew their nickname). I'll offer another 10 bonus points if you know where Lafayette is located with "googling" it. (Answer at the end of today's column). 

One could say that IU might be the Louisville Field Hockey's squads toughest test of the season so far. I'd certainly say that you need to consider Princeton in that category, too --  the #13 ranked Tigers took the Cards to overtime. 

This Cardinals squad has been proficient without all-world, graduated Meche Pastor. They hold a 15-3 scoring edge in their four wins and are doing it with a freshman goal keeper in Mila de Kuijer. The Cards do have 18 players (nine of them starters) back from that Final Four 2020 team and they certainly enjoy the home turf advantage of Trager. Louisville has won nine in a row there, going back to last season.  

Looking at the top 25 in NCAA DI Field Hockey Coaches Poll, we find six Big 10 Field Hockey programs in the rankings and seven ACC schools. The top 10 of the most recent coaches poll is either ACC or Big 10 affiliated schools. 

I fully expert IU to arrive in Louisville today with an "upset-minded" attitude and to try and erase the bad taste of the Lafayette loss from their system. A win over Louisville could easily propel them into the nation's top 25. 

It'll be a homecoming, of sorts, for two IU players, Mary Kate Kesler is a senior midfielder who played her high school hockey at Louisville Sacred Heart High School. Meredith Lee is a freshman midfielder whp went to Louisville Assumption. Kesler has started all five games for IU, has not scored but has n assist. Lee has seen action in one game for the Hoosiers.

It should be a good battle today at Trager. Admission is free if you want to join in the fun. 


Let's not forget that two other Louisville Fall Sports squads are in action today. WSOC brings in Michigan to Lynn Stadium for a 5 p.m. match. This one is also on the ACCNX, if you want to watch, could head out to Lynn and view it. Remember admission is free. Our Jared Anderson will be running back and forth from the soccer and field hockey venues taking pictures and having fun. Unfortunately, I won't be atending either event -- some mobility issues have me on the sidelines. 

And, in the Queen City, Louisville Volleyball faces #6 Purdue in the Xavier Tournament. Our Jeff McAdams is attending this one. If you wanna watch, FloVolleyball will be showing the match on-line. It's a "pay for" site and a month of coverage will cost you $29.95. 

(Easton, PA is the location of Lafayette College) 

Have a fulfilling Friday! 


Thursday, September 9, 2021

Looking Ahead to the Weekend -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

 Looking Ahead to the Weekend

We aren't to the weekend yet, but with no games tonight and a weekend slated full of events, I thought it best to look at some of the upcoming events today. We'll let Daryl break down some of the previews tomorrow. The Bats are home this week so she may have to back out, but we'll see how things go.

Friday night is going to be a busy night on campus. Women's soccer will start things off with their 5:00 p.m. match against Michigan. The #16 Wolverines enter the match with a 5-1 record. This is part of a double header with the men who play Wake Forest right after.

The double header at Lynn Stadium is part of the annual Noche de Familia y Amigos (Family and Friends Night) as part of the Hispanic Heritage partnership with the UofL Cultural Center. Admission is free during the regular season at Lynn Stadium.

With it being a Friday evening, perhaps we will get some of the Cardinal Couple Crew (*cough Case cough*) out in attendance?

More Friday evening events on Floyd Street include field hockey, who plays at 6:00 p.m. against Indiana. Unlike their football team, the Hoosiers field hockey team should have jerseys with correct spelling on them. Okay, that was just a little trash talk jab there, but Indiana carries a 4-1 record including a win against a ranked Miami (OH) team..

Like soccer, Trager Stadium offers free admission during the regular season. Paulie has made his way to field hockey a couple times so perhaps he visits again.

Volleyball also plays on Friday, but they're the odd one out by not playing at home. Instead, the VolleyCards will make the trip up I-71 to the Cincinnati area to face #6-ranked Purdue. The Boilermakers are 4-0 on the year currently. Xavier will play host to the match.

With volleyball being nearby this weekend, I wouldn't be surprised to see Jeff and his mom make the short road trip up and back.

Campus will be jam-packed on Saturday as football has their first home game of the season. Looking to bounce back after a rough outing against Ole Miss, the Cards host EKU at 7:30 p.m.

The VolleyCards continue their road stint with a match against either Xavier or Lipscomb at a time to be announced later.

Moving onto Sunday, field hockey is the only team at home with a 1:00 p.m. game against Liberty.

Don't you just love these full schedules we have again? I certainly do. It's A LOT of work, especially on the photography side, but I wouldn't ask for it any other way.

Happy Thursday and Go Cards!