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!!

Thursday, September 30, 2021


 KFC Yum! Center Upgrade

Women's Basketball is just around the corner. No, really. We're 35 days away from the first scrimmage plus another week before the season opener against Arizona.

However, the KFC Yum! Center may seem a little different this coming season. Besides the mostly-empty arena and the COVID-19 protocols from last season, the KFC Yum! Center has made a few upgrades.

The most noticeable feature will be the new video boards that hang from the ceiling at midcourt. The LED video board is actually six separate boards. One board will face each end zone with the sidelines getting two boards apiece. On the sideline, one board will face further down for the media row and court side seats up through the lower section to have a better view while the larger board sitting on top of it is designed to be viewed by the upper part of the lower level all the way up to the top row of the "nosebleed" seats. .

The video boards are a collective three times larger than the original video board that has been hanging in the KFC Yum! Center since opening day in 2010 and will have twice as many pixels. Those of us in the photo and video industry really understand the effectiveness of the increase in pixels. The image will be so sharp that you'll be able to count the number of nachos on someone's tray when they're shown on the video board.

There is also an improved audio system inside the arena. UofL, who loves to blast music loudly at games, has run into blown speakers before, but that doesn't appear to be the issue here. It looks like the new audio system will be easier to run with the controls that can also help for when concerts and other events are held at the venue.

UofL mentioned upgraded concession stands. At first thought, I assumed it was in regards to the issues from football this year, but it appears the upgrades are more for a sleek look at the concession stands as well as minor improvements where maintenance issues may have occurred in the past.

If you're fortunate enough to make it to a suite or box, you will notice a brand new carpet. These carpets are also going to be installed in some of the lounges, such as the ones that you can enter from the lower bowl. The KFC Yum! Center was still rocking with the original carpet in many areas.

Like many places, the KFC Yum! Center needed its upgrades after 11 years in service. We are glad the city and UofL have combined to continue to support it as a State of the Art facility.

Although we do not know the status of media allowance at women's and men's basketball this coming season, we hope to be back in the arena to cover UofL Women's Basketball as Coach Jeff Walz's squad is set to have another great year.

Happy Thursday and Go Cards!


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A Look at Conference Standings -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Surprise, it's Case today. Due to some wonkiness in the upcoming schedule, I've got today's write, and Paulie will take my typical Saturday. Next week you'll see Jeff on Saturday and me on Sunday. What a fun adventure it is to try and keep up with the column schedules here at Cardinal Couple.

In any case (no pun intended), I thought I would take a look at the early conference standings and how Louisville's fall sports teams can capitalize on their remaining schedules. Jared touched on Volleyball's move up the rankings yesterday, but we'll take a brief look at the national picture as well.

Volleyball Tied with Pitt in First

Louisville Volleyball is having a great season so far. As Jared mentioned yesterday, they've moved up to #3 in the AVCA Poll, behind just Texas and conference mate Pittsburgh. Texas is alone in the number one spot in everyone's eyes, as they received 64/64 first place votes for a perfect 1600 ranking score. In the conference standings, though, it is Louisville's name on the top of the line.

Is that because Louisville comes before Pittsburgh in the alphabet? Probably, but the Cards and Panthers are tied at 2-0 in conference and both carry 12-0 overall records. Joining those two at the top of the league are Louisville's next two opponents: Clemson and Georgia Tech. 

The quartet at 2-0 in conference are four of the nine ACC teams that already have double-digit wins. Of those nine, only one is below a .750 winning percentage, as Boston College has already played 16 matches. Most teams have played 12 or 13. At any rate, Louisville's rise to the top-3 nationally has not come easily, but their road ahead is nothing to slouch at either. Clemson is not currently receiving votes, but they are riding a six-game winning streak and the match is on the road

Immediately following a tough Friday night matchup, Louisville will face a Georgia Tech squad on a seven-game win streak of their own. The Yellow Jackets are ranked 18th in the current poll and would love the opportunity to knock off a top team. GT will be coming off of a match against a very down Notre Dame team that is just 3-9 so far on the season, and the Techsters will be plenty motivated to beat Louisville and dispatch of Virginia to set up a high-profile match of their own with Pittsburgh on October 10th. 

After these two tough away matches, Louisville will get a slight breather with five matches against teams ranked fifth or lower in the conference, with four of those teams currently in the bottom half of the league. The latter part of the schedule will give Louisville plenty to think about as they fight for a conference title and prepare for postseason play. On October 24th, Louisville will host Pitt in the first of their two matches. After that, they'll still have to play Georgia Tech again and take on a Duke team currently sixth in conference but at 10-3 overall. To their benefit, they'll get to take on the aforementioned Notre Dame team twice in that time, but when have Louisville and Notre Dame ever played a normal game of anything, especially volleyball?

Fortunately for Louisville, they appear to have a team ready to compete with anyone this season, as they've already nabbed three top-ten victories. Louisville remains Purdue's only loss, as they moved to fourth in the rankings, and Kentucky and Nebraska are still ranked in the top twelve. Supporting the Cards' success is the rise of freshman libero, Elena Scott. She wrapped up the weekend by being named the ACC Freshman of the Week for the third straight week. Louisville is also playing extremely well in the middle, as Anna Stevenson is ranked fifth in the country with a 0.462 hitting percentage and Amaya Tillman is fifth in the country with 1.68 blocks per set. We'll see how long this team can keep it up.

Field Hockey Alone at the Top

Louisville Field Hockey finds themselves in an interesting position. They're the only 2-0 team in the ACC at the moment, giving them the top spot alone for the first time since I don't know when, but the teams around them are almost as hard to figure out as Louisville itself. Syracuse and UNC sit behind them in the standings at 1-0, but both started their seasons in less than outstanding ways. The pair are on four-game winning streaks, but sit at 6-2 and 6-3. respectively. Syracuse has moved up to 11th in the coaches poll with their losses coming to Kent State and Rutgers, both ranked and in overtime.

UNC is all the way up to 5th, as their three losses were to the teams currently ranked 1st, 2nd, and 9th in the country. Louisville, of course, is ranked 3rd in the country with their one loss coming to top-ranked Iowa.

In RPI, Louisville is sixth and the first team not in the Big Ten. Usually we are talking about the ACC this way, but we've talked a lot about the Big Ten's rise this season and it shows. The conference has all nine of their teams in the top 26 in RPI. Duke, the lowest ACC team, is in 27th, with the other six all in the top 17. I doubt Vegas is taking such a bet, but I'd say that the 2021 National Champion coming from the ACC/B1G vs the Field is even money. 

All that is to say, Louisville's road ahead is long. The Cards have eight matches remaining, and five are against ACC or Big Ten opponents. Louisville still has top-five opponents in North Carolina and Michigan, and the three other ACC teams are all in the top fifteen. The bright spot for Louisville is that their other three games are against lower level non-conference teams. The Cards have had their share of highly ranked non-con opponents so far this year, but the highest remaining non-conference opponent in RPI not named Michigan is the 32nd ranked Miami Redhawks. While they've been strong opponents in the past, both James Madison and Northeastern should not pose much of a threat, and they are well spaced to give Louisville recovery opportunities in the midst of their tougher matchups. 

The Cards are well poised to take a conference championship outright and have their best chance in awhile to win the conference tournament as well. Coming off of their farthest run in the NCAA tournament last season, Louisville will be looking to build on that success, and the experience against Big Ten opponents they'll likely face again could prove crucial. They're back in action Friday against Wake Forest.

Hats off to Julie Kouijzer, who was just named ACC Field Hockey Defensive Player of the Week.  And, she's been pretty productive on the scoring end of things, as well. She knocked in the game-winner against Duke and has ffour goals on the season. 

Opportunity Ahead for Soccer

Louisville women's soccer is not ranked in the top three in the country. I know that may be tough to hear, but it's true. The Cards are still working to find their feet in the ACC after half a decade in the top conference in the country. You did know that the ACC was still the top league in the NCAA, right? ACC teams make up four of the top five teams (FSU, UVA, Duke, and UNC), and FSU received all but one first place vote. That vote went to Virginia. That said, Louisville is in a decent position this year. The top eight teams in the conference make it into the ACC Tournament, and Louisville is currently tied for fourth with six points. Through three matches, they are two points clear of the cut line, though the two teams on four points are UNC and Duke. 

While that doesn't sound overly optimistic, Louisville's remaining schedule is manageable. The Cards avoid UNC and top-25 ranked Virginia Tech. Two of their remaining matches are against teams that are still winless in conference (BC and NC State) and three games are against teams that are tied or just ahead of Louisville in the standings that Louisville should be able to result against. Louisville's next two matches are against Wake Forest and Notre Dame, who have six and nine points, respectively. Both are receiving a few votes, but Louisville will be looking to bounce back from the Florida State match this week against Wake and next week's ND match is at home.

Following those, the Cards get the two home matches against NC State and Boston College. Assuming Louisville can get seven points out of those four matches, they would sit on 13 with three matches to go. In the last three full seasons, 15 points have been enough to make the tournament. If the Cards manage to win three of the next four instead of drawing one, they'll be on that seemingly safe 15 point mark. 

The reason the next four are so critical is that Louisville's final stretch is brutal. The Cards hit the road to take on UVA on October 21st and their toughest peer level team, Clemson, comes right after. The Tigers received 76 vote points this week, making them the 28th ranked team, the highest remaining opponent on Louisville's schedule outside of UVA and Duke. With that being a road game as well, I believe Louisville will struggle to find points in those two. That sets up Senior Day for the Cards, when they bring in top-five Duke. If you're like me, you are trying hard to see any points out of the final three matches. Thus, the importance on the next four. 

Louisville has shown some resilience this season. It was encouraging that the Cards didn't completely fold on Sunday and get their doors blown off as the second half against FSU wore on. For awhile, it looked like they might. However, the offense persisted and Louisville managed to get a couple of good looks at goal. FSU was able to keep them out, but the Noles aren't sitting on a +29 goal differential this year for no reason. They are legit. Louisville has also shown they can hang tough against a strong team and come away with more than a moral victory, as they grabbed a draw against Michigan earlier this season. The Wolverines are still ranked 17th in the country.

The Cards are back in action against Wake Forest this weekend, along with seemingly everyone else. They'll take on the Demon Deacons Saturday in Lynn Stadium. The hunt for nine more points begins at 7 PM. 

(Jared Anderson photos featured today


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

FH Wins in 2OT -- VBall Climbs Again -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

 Field Hockey Wins at Ohio State in Double Overtime

I hate golden goal and I will continue to hate it until the day I die, but it worked in favor of Louisville Field Hockey at Ohio State yesterday. Julie Kouijer's goal in double overtime lifted #4 Louisville over #19 Ohio State.

The goal is Kouijzer's fourth of the year and second straight game winner. The junior scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory at #18 Duke Friday.

"Every time we play at Ohio State, it is a tough contest and can go either way," said Coach Justine Sowry. "We had some great periods of play but also we became too frantic and went away from our typical possession play. Hats off to their goalkeeper who came up big for them. Overtime, I was very pleased with how we controlled the play and ultimately were rewarded with a victory. It was another gritty performance by our team on the road."

For a match that featured two ranked opponents you'd think the Big Ten could manage to find a TV channel or free online streaming location to air the Cards vs Buckeyes, but it wound up being on a pay-per-view Big Ten + viewing online. I think Paulie paid to stream it, but most of us were at work and couldn't follow along other than the StatBroadcast check in.

The two foes went into halftime scoreless with very little offensive output from either side. The Cards did have three shots on goal before the break but all three looks were saved. Ohio State did not record a shot on goal in the first half.

At the 38' mark in the third quarter, the Buckeyes broke through with a goal. Louisville, who had managed just two goals over their previous three matches this season, needed to find a way to get an equalizer and a game winner if they wanted to leave Columbus with a victory.

Late in the match, with 8:02 remaining in regulation, Louisville evened the score. Originally credited to Minna Tremonti, the goal credit was later given to Katie Schneider. The scored her fourth goal of the year on an assist by Kouijzer.

With momentum now on their side, Louisville was ready for overtime. In field hockey, overtime is sudden death scoring while playing just 7x7 on the field for ten minutes or a goal is scored. By dropping a handful of players off the field for each team, the pitch really opens up and you hope for a fast break or for the other team to wear down before you.

A scoreless first overtime helped the nerves continue to build as each team traded a flurry of shots. But Louisville was able to control possession for a heavy amount of the second overtime period. Back-to-back shots were blocked and sent wide before Kouijzer took the rebound of a shot and sent it into the cage.

Louisville improves to 9-1 on the year following the win and caps off an extended weekend with a pair of ranked wins on the road. The Cards are now 5-1 against ranked teams.

With #3 Northwestern losing to #10 Rutgers over the weekend, it is expected that the Cards will climb up to that third spot.

Louisville returns home to host #16 Wake Forest on Friday at 4:00 p.m.

Volleyball Climbs to #3

Louisville Volleyball is the hottest team on campus at 12-0 on the year with 10 of those matches being "Sweeps" or 3-0 set wins. A pair of easy victories over the weekend and key losses by Wisconsin and Ohio State helped the Cards move up to #3 in the latest AVCA Poll.

The 12-0 start is the second best start in school history. In 2005, Louisville started the year 20-0 and reached a #6 ranking before finishing the year 31-3 and reaching the Sweet Sixteen. The longest win streak in school history was 2004 when the Cards won 22 straight matches (19 sweeps in that period) en route to a 30-3 season and Sweet Sixteen appearance. 

Based on all the digging I could do dating back to the first recorded season in 1976, the #3 ranking is the highest ranking Louisville Volleyball has ever received. Whether that is the case or not, Coach Dani Busboom Kelly has built a powerhouse of a program and looks to be a favorite for not only the ACC Championship, but also the NCAA Championship.

Louisville visits Clemson this Friday, in which I believe our good friend Arthur and his wife Bea will be in attendance. The Cards will head a little further south on Sunday to square off against #18 Georgia Tech.

Both Field Hockey and Volleyball have been having historic seasons. If you are able, I highly recommend making it out to see both squads this year. Watching on TV/online is fun, but there's just such a good feeling of being in person in the live game atmosphere. Field Hockey is free admission during the regular season, but Volleyball is a ticketed event.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!

Monday, September 27, 2021



Floyd Street, on the UofL Campus, was the place to be -- if you are a UofL women's sports fan. Or FSU fan, I suppose. Two of the Cardinals women's sports squads were engaged in action Sunday afternoon on campus. Women's Soccer was facing #1 FSU in Lynn Stadium and #5 Louisville Volleyball had the FSU Volleyball squad in for a match at the LNFCU. Both events began at 1 p.m. (and we heard plenty about that, from fans who wanted to watch both) but such is the way of scheduling at times. So, how did the Cardinals do? 


We'll start with the bitter pill first.

Give Louisville women's soccer credit for coming out, giving their all, and keeping the FSU squad scoreless for the first fact, the first 53 minutes of the match. Back in a defensive designed to slow down the potent Seminoles attack, the Cards were able to do just that. FSU got off only two shots in the first half, neither were "on goal" and the squads went to the locker room tied in a scoreless affair at the end of the first half. 

When you play a defensive type off game strategy like the Cards did, your chances of generating much offensive go down pretty significantly. But, the hopes for a possible transition goal were possible in that kind of deployment were possible. It just didn't happen, with the ball staying in the Cards area and FSU on attack for the majority of the first 45 minutes.

FSU was being patient and that paid off early in the second half when they were awarded a free kick. A shot toward UofL's goal eventually found the noggin of Besta Olsson, who "headed" the orb past Cardinals goalkeeper Gabby Kouzelos for a score.

When a squad sees their defensive efforts thwarted by a score, it can sometimes lead to a bit of deflation on their psyche.. And the Noles took advantage of that, adding two more scores over the next 12 minutes to build what looked like a insurmountable 3-0 lead with 25 minutes left in the contest. And, it was. That 3-0 margin held for FSU the remainder of the way. . 

The Noles ended up with 10 shots in the match, four of them on goal and three resulting in scores. The Cards had three attempts at trying to get one in the goal. 

There is certainly no disgrace in losing to #1 in the land and the Cards won't face anyone tougher than FSU the rest of the season. Virginia and Notre Dame remain undefeated in conference play, though, and Louisville has to face both of them on the road -- so tough tests do remain for Karen Ferguson Dayes squad -- now 6-2-1 on the season.


Louisville's offensive productivity needs to reintroduce themselves to the turf --the Cards have tallied just seven goals in their last six outings. 

Our Jared Anderson (with his fiancĂ©e Katy accompanying -- she's a Noles grad and fan) was on hand and got the WSOC pictures you see here today. 

Next up? Wake Forest at Lynn on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Demon Deacons are formidable as well, with a 10-1 record overall and 1-1 in ACC play.  



On the north end of campus, Louisville Volleyball put their #5 ranking and 11-0 record on the line against FSU Volleyball. The Noles looked to be somewhat formidable, with a 7-3 record and a upset win over Florida -- but this version of FSU athletics turned out to be a paper tiger.

Dani Busboom Kelly's squad got the sweep against the visitors, 25-13, 25-16, 25-19 were the set results, as the Cards got 14 kills from outside hitter extraordinaire Claire Chaussee to take care of business. 

Louisville hit .439 as a team and that's an extraordinarily excellent stat -- while FSU had 11 service errors and .186 hitting numbers. 

Chaussee wasn't the only UofL net-protector having a big time in the LNFCU. Sophomore Anna DeBeer added 11 kills and produced three blocks. Aiko Jones was responsible for nine kills and torrid Tori Dilfer facilitated 43 assists.  Freshman Elena Scott continues to impress -- with 22 digs. 

The Cards fell a bit behind in the first set, but, soon rallied and led and built a 19-10 lead. They also scored the final five points of the set for the twelve-point win. In set two, FU clawed their way to an early 7-6 lead, but saw that negated -- as UofL stretched a 15-13 lead to 21-13 late in the set.  In the final set, FSU tried to stay close to the Cards and had a bit of success with that, trailing 15-11 at one point in the action. The Cards remained steady, though, and out-played the Noles 10-8 the rest of the way to take set and the match. 

Louisville takes a southeast sojourn for their next two -- starting at Clemson this Friday and then heading to Georgia Tech for Sunday action. The Yellow Jackets are current #18 in the polls. Louisville will undoubtedly climb up from their #5 ranking, due to some upsets that happened Sunday. Penn State knocked off #3 and previously unbeaten Ohio State and #2 Wisconsin fell earlier in the week to Maryland. 

Our writer Jeff McAdams was on hand, leading the crowd in C-A-R-D-S cheers and running the steps. Sign that boy up for a marathon. 

So, the Cards went 2-1 overall against the Noles over the last two days. An impressive, if nerve-wracking football win, a domination in Volleyball and a brave, but, losing effort in WSOC.


Louisville Field Hockey was not in action on Sunday, but they'll head up I-71 for a Monday match against the Ohio State Buckeyes. 

OSU is a tough foe at 6-2, despite losing their last match to Virginia in Columbus. They #19 in the latest DI poll and seem to always give the Cards a run for their money. 

Louisville -- now #4 in the nation and sporting a 7-1 record, is coming off a 1-0 win at Duke last time out. 

This one gets underway at 4 p.m. It's available on-line at BTN+, a pay-per-view setup. Last time I checked, it's $14.95 a month. They do have a free trial available, but you can only "try" it once. I got shot down when I tried to "try" again this morning, if that makes any sense....since I access it during hoops season earlier this year and then cancelled it. Live stats are free, though, so I'll track it that way.

Have a meaningful Monday,


Sunday, September 26, 2021

Everyone vs Florida State - Sunday Cardinal Couple

vs Florida State

'Tis the weekend to be playing Florida State.  Football got the win over the Seminoles yesterday in Tallahassee, and today it's time for the women to take the field, with both Soccer and Volleyball matching up with the school from the state capital.


FSU arrives in Louisville with an 8-2 record.  They dropped an early match in a sweep to Michigan, and had a mighty battle against UCF before losing in the 5th set (15-13) two weeks ago.  The FSU schedule isn't exactly littered with wins over powerhouse teams, with one exception.  The Seminoles took four sets to beat a then-ranked 14th Florida team that was already licking its wounds from dropping two in a row to Baylor.

Florida State started receiving some votes in the AVCA rankings this week and, along with UNC, will be looking to be the fourth or fifth ACC team in the polls.

Taryn Knuth, FSU's big middle standout has finally graduated, and the team has moved on and seems to be playing quite a spread offense with four players registering more than eight kills per match so far.  Morgan Chacon leads the way with 94 kills so far in the 10 match old season.  Chacon is perhaps ever so slightly undersized as an outside at 5'11" but makes it work.  Audrey Koenig is definitely not an undersized outside at 6'3" with 88 kills on the season so far.  FSU also features a couple of well matched middles, each with 86 kills so far, 6'3" Khori Louis, and 6'2" Emma Clothier.

Freshman Emery Dupes will likely be the libero and Lily Tessier the setter.  Louisville should be wary of Tessier, as she gives up nothing on the blocking from hitters that would be in the front row otherwise, thanks in no small part to her 6'3" stature.

Louisville's vaunted blocking will be tested with FSU having numerous offensive options.  In the reverse direction, FSU's 2.22 blocks per set is respectable, though short of UofL's 3.3.  All of the data, and the eye test, suggests that Louisville is the better team, here, but FSU is one of the better teams in the ACC meaning that UofL will need to play at the level that they have shown they can.


Florida State also will be in action farther south on Floyd Street, with the women's soccer team playing at Lynn Stadium.

This game will be a tall order for the Cardinals.  While UofL is in a tie atop the ACC standings currently along with four other teams, including FSU.  That will separate further as we're only two games into conference games so far.

When you zoom out to the larger soccer landscape...yeah, Florida State is still on top with all but one of the first place votes in the most recent United Soccer Coaches poll.  Of course, the ACC is well represented with four of the top 10 teams and Clemson starting to climb into poll, currently at 22nd.

The lead FSU goal scorers are Beata Olsson, a 5'5" Swedish sophomore credited with 5 goals on the season so far; Gianna Mitchell, a 5'10" Redshirt Senior out of Massachusetts who is listed as a defender, but apparently finds her way forward with some regularity scoring 4 times so far this season; and Clara Robbins, another defender, also listed as a midfielder, another redshirt senior out of Virginia and also with four goals on the season.

Goalkeeping duties are about evenly split between Cristina Roque and Mia Justus.  This appears to be quite the position battle with the two alternating in goal each game so far.  If the pattern holds, we'll see Mia Justus on the field today.  Both have three saves to their credit in the season thus far, while Cristina Roque has one more goal against, three, than Justus does at two.  You have to credit the rest of FSU's defense for keeping all of those numbers so low.  Roque is a 5'7" sophomore from Winter Garden, FL, and Justus is 5'9" and from Lakewood, OH.


Both Soccer and Volleyball get started today at 1pm, and both should be available on the ACC Network Extra streaming.

Lacrosse Exhibition Play

Our ever-active Jared was on Floyd Street yesterday to catch some photos at Lacrosse fall exhibition play.

This was a four-team round robin tournament with Louisville inviting Cincinnati, University of Indianapolis, and Youngstown State to the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium.  The event kicked off at 10am, and wrapped up about 4pm.  Each game was four quarters of 12 minutes each with two minutes between quarters and six minutes between games.

Louisville played UIndy at 10am, Youngstown State at noon, and Cinncinati at 2pm.

No word on results of any of the play, though I suspect Louisville, having picked up a very early pre-season 21st ranking from Lacrosse Magazine, should have been victorious against these squads.

Check out more of Jared's photos below.


Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Case, Paulie, and I held down most of the CCRHP show yesterday, though Jared did manage to pop in for a bit between games at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium. Daryl, we're guessing is still wandering the grounds at Louder Than Life...looking for Snoop Dogg handing out Corona's or Kirk Hammett. 

We had a good discussion and recaps of Soccer, Field Hockey, and Volleyball, as would be expected given the fall sports in action.

Check out the Youtube replay below, or you can find the audio in podcast form at any of your favorite podcast feeds.


Saturday, September 25, 2021

Field Hockey Bounces Back; Volleyball Continues Winning -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Early Goal Holds for 1-0 FH Win over Duke

Louisville's field hockey team headed down to Durham, North Carolina on Thursday afternoon to prep for their Friday game, and, unlike the football team, their bus didn't get stuck in a ditch en route. The Cards' trip to take on Pam Bustin's team is always a nail-biter due to the familiarity between the teams, and this matchup was no different. 

Duke, while ranked 18th, is having a bit of a down year. The loss yesterday dropped them to 3-5 and they've opened the season 0-2 in conference play. Whether they remain ranked next week will be an interesting question, but the less than stellar start to the season didn't knock them out of yesterday's game.

Louisville dominated this one offensively, but Piper Hampsch was excellent between the pipes for the Blue Devils. The Cards got to Hampsch early, as they converted their first penalty corner in just the fourth minute of the match, but that would (obviously) be their only goal. This goal started like many others off of corners so far this season, with Alli Bitting playing the ball in to Charlie van Oirschot. Unlike some plays, this one was not a shot for van Oirschot. She stopped it cleanly and got out of the way for Julie Kouijzer to step up and slam the shot into the left side of the cage. It was Kouijzer's third goal of the year and would prove to be her first game-winning goal this season. 

Both teams would get a penalty corner and a shot from open play after the goal, but the goalkeepers would stand strong. Hampsch grabbed a pair of saves, while Mila de Kuijer was called to action only on the corner as Duke's other shot went wide. The second quarter saw Duke find a pair of shots, but both were off the frame. Louisville's offense stalled in the second, the only quarter where the Cards had no shots.

After halftime, Louisville came out fully intending to extend their lead. The Cards continued pushing, earning another pair of penalty corners. Both shots were blocked or saved, though, keeping the advantage at just one goal. Duke would earn a penalty corner of their own, but they were unable to get a shot out of it.

The fourth quarter was almost all Louisville. Duke grabbed the first shot of the quarter, but their only effort to tie didn't even make it to de Kuijer as it was blocked by a defender. The Cards, on the other hand, grabbed three more corners in the period. All three were saved by Hampsch. The final whistle came mercifully for Louisville before all of their hard work could be undone by a single unlucky goal by Duke. 

While Louisville only scored one goal, this was a much more impressive offensive showing than some of the Cards' recent matches. Usually it is extremely disappointing to have such a low corner conversion rate (1 of 7), but, in this case, it seems forgivable given the great effort by Piper Hampsch. Hampsch finished with seven saves, while Louisville put eight of their nine shots on frame. Kouijzer had four of those nine shots, with three on frame. As she has been typically, Mila de Kuijer was strong in goal, though she was hardly tested, with just the one Duke shot on goal

We're still monitoring Sam Minrath's potential return, but it will be an interesting problem for Coach Justine Sowry if and when she's available. 

The Cards are back in action, still on the road, on Monday. They'll travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State. The game against the Buckeye's will get underway at 4PM, and we'll have updates on how to view it in the Monday column.

Volleyball Opens ACC Slate with Sweep

Louisville returned home after their giant-killing trip in Lincoln to start their conference season, and did so on "80s Night." Jeff was quick to let us know that he was enjoying the playlist in the arena until they broke character to play "Joker and the Thief", a song released in 2005. The Cards brought in Miami, who was 9-1 coming in, but who had not truly been tested. The Hurricanes had played only USF, UCF, and Alabama as teams that would be considered strong opponents, and they dropped the match against UCF. 

It wasn't Louisville's best offensive night as they finished with just a 0.274 team hitting percentage, but that was more than enough as they held Miami to an even 0.000 on the match. The Cards' defense drove Miami to negative percentages in the first and third sets, and unsurprisingly, got their two biggest wins in those sets on their way to a 25-10, 25-21, 25-14 sweep. Though the second set was the closest, Louisville was never really in danger, using a 4-0 to take an 11-9 lead that they would not relinquish. 

Outside of the hitting, Louisville did a lot of things really well in this one. They had just five service aces in this one but they were even on the ace/error ratio for the first time in quite awhile. Elena Scott led the way with three aces of her own. Miami also had five service errors but just two aces. The Hurricanes had 27 hitting errors in this one, though a whopping 12 of those came from Louisville blocks, making this Louisville's third match this season with a 4.0 block/set mark. The Cards were blocking machines as a team in this one, as just three of their twelve blocks were of the solo variety with Anna Stevenson, Tori Dilfer, and Amaya Tillman each grabbing one. Stevenson contributed six block assists, the most on the team by three. Defensively, Scott finished with 17 digs while Anna DeBeer played well from the back row with 11 digs of her own.

Offensively, DeBeer contributed from both the front and back row as she finished with a team-high eight kills, tied with Aiko Jones. Nena Mbonu was hot on their heels with seven, though the match-high number went to Miami's Nyah Anderson who finished with nine. Tillman led Louisville in hitting percentage with a 0.556 mark, but she and Stevenson were both errorless on their way to five and six kills, respectively. 

Louisville will take on another Florida team next when they host Florida State tomorrow at 1  PM. The Seminoles are 8-2 this season and opened their ACC slate with a win over Notre Dame. Their losses came to Michigan and UCF. If the Cards can take care of business against FSU, they could be in a position to move up to third after both Ohio State and Wisconsin dropped their matches last night. Pittsburgh stands to move up to second if they can beat NC State. There is quite awhile before the Cards and Panthers are set to play, though, as their first match is October 24th. If both teams remain undefeated until then, the L&N Federal Credit Union Arena will be rocking for a top-3 matchup.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

I'm back this week, but we're without Daryl as she gets her metal on at Louder Than Life. Despite the field hockey loss to Iowa earlier, it has been a really exciting week for plenty of Louisville teams. We'll cover all of this week's action and look ahead to some big matchups on the horizon. 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!