We normally look at the Labor Day Weekend as a time to relax and enjoy the final summer holiday weekend. This was far from the case on Sunday, though, as three UofL women's sports squads were in action and provided a lot of excitement and interesting results. Let's take it from the top, to use a musical term,and look at these as they occurred:
We start our recap with the first event of the day, down on Floyd Street at the LNFCU, where Louisville Volleyball played their third match as in as many days...hosting Northern Kentucky in the Cardinal Classic. The Cards got a "sweep" over the visiting Norse 25-22, 25-25-12, 25-20 but two of the sets were far from easy.
A rather slow and ponderous start for Dani Busboom Kelly's crew in Set 1, finding themselves down 7-3 early to the eager, upset-minded NKU squad. A timeout by Louisville, arguably called to cool off the hot Norse, was effective and Louisville climbed back into the action -- gaining a 12-12 tie. NKU was not sold on climbing back on the bus and traversing 1-71, though, and held a 20-18 lead late, necessitating anther timeout for UofL. The ploy worked, with the Cards gaining three straight points, and forcing NKU to call a time out. Louisville took four of the next six points to gain a hard-fought, three-point win over the visitors -- 25-22
The Cards built on that first set ending surge and jumped out to an early 6-1 second set lead. That grew to 10-1 and NKU was unable to stop the powerful Louisville attack, the Cards hit .400 for the set and produced 12 kills in a 25-12 romp
|Jeff leads the LNFCU crows in the C-A-R-D-S cheer
After the break, Louisville started the first set well -- going up 4-0 and pushing that to 7-3. NKU had one last surge left, though, and battled back to even the set at 12-12. The action went back and forth before the Cards mustered a 3-0 run to gain a 17-15 lead, forcing NKU to stop action again and allow out writer Jeff McAdams to lead a cheer from the seats. Louisville use a 8-5 run to seal the deal and get the sweep -- 25-20.
Three Cards were named to the all-tournament squad in Amaya Tillman, Tori Dilfer and Anna Stevenson. Stevenson was named the MVP of the Classic. In the Sunday match, Aiko Jones and Stevenson ha 10 kills each, Claire Chaussee added eight and the Cards got 36 assists from Tori Dilfer and 15 digs from Elena Scott. The win pushed the #12 ranked Cards to 6-0 on the season, and that ranking will certainly rise, given the upsets in the world of DI Volleyball this weekend.
Let's jump from the friendly confines of Floyd Street to Ivy League land next, where we found Louisville Field Hockey engaged in the final game of the ACC/Ivy League Challenge against home-standing Princeton. The Cards gained a hard-fought, overtime victory over the Tigers -- never giving up against, arguably, the best squad in the Ivy League.
Princeton grabbed a 1-0 lead with six minutes left in the first quarter -- getting a score off a penalty stroke. The Cards, back-to-the-wall, remained patient and consistent in the offensive attack and it paid off when they earned their first corner of the match with barely half-a-minute left in the first quarter. Bitting-to-Pichea-to-Kouijzer proved to be the magic sequence, and the Cards junior from the Netherlands drove home the set to tie it up at 1-all.
Louisville rode that momentum as second quarter action got underway and Charlie van Oirschot intercepted a Princeton pass in the first minute of action and sent a nifty advancement to Katie Schneider. She maneuvered the ball to the top of the circle and sent the orb to Erica Cooper. Cooper's first shot was stopped by Princeton goal keeper Robyn Thompson, but "Coop" collected her own rebound and sent a second missile into the cage to make it 2-1 Cards.
That lead looked secure until the final minute of the half. The Tigers put together two passes to get a nice opening for a shot that tied it up at 2-2.
And, that's how the contest stayed in the second half. Scoreless. Both teams were employing lock-down defense and preventing the ball from getting into the net. To a seven-on-seven, overtime session.
Actually, the Cards had a 7 to 6 player advantage on the field, benefitting from a Princeton green card penalty. And, in the fifth minute of "free hockey", it paid off. The Cards earned a penalty corner and Aimee Plumb took the attempt. It was blocked, but Mia Duchars deflected the rebound and Mattie Tabor connected with the waist-high orb and baseball-swatted it into the net for the game winner. A lengthy official's review followed the score -- but the goal was allowed and the Cards were proud owners of their fourth win of the season.
Justine Sowry postgame:
What a game and gritty performance by our team. Princeton is a great team and very well- coached. We were put on the back foot at the beginning and took too long to play our game. With that being said, we had a "never give up" attitude with a fantastic work rate by our strikers defensively and we were able to capitalize at the most critical moment. I'm very proud of our team for our first road weekend.."
Field Hockey comes home for a Friday match -- hosting Indiana.
Let's jump back into the sports travel machine and return to Louisville for the third and final match of the day. Back on Floyd Street at Lynn Stadium, where Louisville women's soccer and Western Kentucky were renewing the "battle of I-65" series, on a beautiful Sunday evening.
The Tops came in undefeated and owners of a 1-0 win over Louisville last season. And, they struck early in the 2021 rivalry, getting on-board in the 12th.minute of action, putting a rebound of a blocked shot past Gabby Kouzelos and the defense to grab the lone goal of the match.
This was a defensive struggle and WKU did a little better job in that aspect of the match. Louisville did out-shoot the Hilltoppers 16-7, both teams had five shots-on-goal, but it was WKU's "bend-but-don't break" defense in the final twenty minutes that kept turning the Cards offensive attempts away. The 1-0 WKU win improved their record to 4-0 on the season
One could raise an eyebrow over Louisville lack of offensive production in their last two outing -- just one goal against St. Louis and failing to score vs. WKU. You have to consider the quality of the foes, though -- St. Louis may be the best 0-4 team in women's college soccer and WKU has a defense that dominates the mid-field and makes it very hard to put together a series of successful passes to gain scoring opportunities.
It doesn't get any easier for Karen Ferguson Dayes' "Kickin' Cards". They bring in Michigan Friday to Lynn Stadium. The Wolverines are 5-1 so far in 2021 and have allowed a scant two goals so far.
(Thanks to Jared Anderson for the "double duty" yesterday and the Volleyball and WSOC photos !)
We'll end our busy recap of Sunday news with a positive item.
To celebrate their 25th. anniversary, the WNBA came up with their top 25 player list over the 25 years. And, Louisville's Angel McCoughtry is a proud member of the group.
"McCoughtry Magic" is a well-deserved addition to the group, which includes ten current players. The names are breath-taking. Beside Angel, Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Elena Della Donne, Sylvia Fowles, Britany Griner, Nneka Ogwumike, Candace Parker, Breanna Stewart and Diana Taurasi made the list. It was a great joy and extreme honor to see six of them when the USA Women's National Team came to the KFC YUM! Center to scrimmage the Cards last February.
Some great players from the past also made the "W25" .:
Seimone Augustus, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Cynthia Cooper, Yolanda Griffith, Becky Hammon, Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie, Maya Moore, Ticha Penicheiro, Cappie Pondexter, Katie Smith, Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson and Lindsay Whalen.
Our congrats and love to "35" for the honor and a great appreciation and thanks for those magical years she thrilled us in Freedom Hall.
Have a marvelous Monday!