Sunday competition smiled down upon two UofL women's sports squads and a Cardinals great got a championship ring in her first year in the WNBA. It was a "funday Sunday" if you cheer for the Red and Black -- let's jump right in to the successes.
FIELD HOCKEY BLANKS NORTHEASTERN
A weather term used in New England for in rough weather is called a "northeaster".
Basically, it means a strong storm or wind blowing through the New England area, coming out of the north east. In Dedham, Mass. yesterday , it was the #4 Cardinals Field Hockey squad playing the role of the northeaster, as they went to the Northeastern campus and accomplished a one-sided 7-0 win over the Huskies.
Sophomores Aimee Plumb and Embry Jane Imorde registered two goals each for the Cards and freshman Mila de Kuijer produced seven saves in the contest. The seven goals were the most recorded by a Louisville Field Hockey team since 2016 --when the Cards put up eight scores on Central Michigan.
A mere 22 second into the match, the Cards received a penalty corner and Plumb got her first score on the sequence. That lead was increased in the second quarter when Erica Cooper, the hero of the Friday win over Boston College with her game-winning score, pushed the UofL lead to 2-0 with her fifth goal of the season . That lead held through the remainder of the first half. -- Northeastern was actually out-shooting the Cards 7-6 and had a 3-1 edge on penalty corners -- but de Kuijer was stepping up big in net and had three first half saves.
Louisville exploded offensively in the final half. Plumb picked up her second goal of the match and Imorde added a score within a two-minute period to set the tally at 4-0. After three quarters, that 4-0 lead still stood.
The Cards piled on the scores late in the four quarter. Katie Schneider started it off, converting on a penalty stroke attempt with five minutes left in the match. Imorde followed with her second score of the afternoon and the Cards closed out the scoring late when Alli Bitting converted off a penalty corner.
The Flock's head coach Justine Sowry played "good cop, bad cop" in her post-game remarks:
"I don't think the score line was indicative of how the game was played. Northeastern was able to pierce our defense easily at times and put our deep defense under a lot of pressure. Moving forward, we need to tidy up defensively. On the flip side, we were able to to link some good on-ball passes together and we were efficient in pur circle play. Two road wins is a lot to be proud of."
And seven goals absolves a lot of sins...
Louisville Field Hockey, now 13-2, continues the road trip Friday, when the visit Karen Shelton and UNC and then to James Madison on Sunday.
The Cards should remain at #4 in the NFHCA poll, due out tomorrow.
VOLLEYBALL SHAKES WAKE IN FOUR SETS
Maybe the biggest news in #2 Louisville Volleyball's four set, 25-23, 25-19, 21-25, 25-19 is that the Cards actually lost a set for the first time in over a month.
Also of interest was sophomore Ayden Bartlett stepping in to play libero for Louisville --freshman Elena Scott out with an undisclosed (but possibly a thigh) injury.
Nevertheless, the Cards move to 18-0 on the season with the win over the Demon Deacons. Four VolleyCards recorded double figures in kills -- Claire Chaussee leading with 12, Amaya Tillman and Anna DeBeer getting 11 each and Anna Stevenson providing 10.
Wake Forest proved to be a tough "out" for Louisville at the beginning of this one. They led briefly in the first set and were tied with Louisville at 21-21 late. The Cards "called for DeBeer" though, and ran off four of the next six points to get the "W". DeBeer had six kills to lead Dani Busboom Kelly's charges.
Louisville made it look easy to start set two -- bumping a 5-4 lead to 13-4. New Albany's Ceci Rush held the hot serving hand --producing a 7-0 service run. Wake, though, refused to back down and climbed within five late at 23-18. A Demon Deacon service error and Amaya Tillman kill ended the set successfully for the Cards.
After the break, Wake came out intent on business. They held sway with the Cards early,
creating a 10-10 tie, and then went on a 5-1 run to grab a four point lead. Louisville would manage to cut that to two late -- at 22-20 -- but the Winston-Salem school closed it out with a set-ending 3-1 run to give the Cards their first set loss since Sept. 15th vs. Kentucky.
A close fourth set developed at the start and the Deacs actually held a 14-13 lead. Anna Stevenson produced a kill to tie it at 15 all, though, and then the Cards exploded on a 10-4 run to close out set and match.
Not much you can say about this one...except "hop on the bus, Gus and head it back home." Louisville has certainly looked much more sharper this season and some of that can be attributed to the absence of Scott, I suppose you could say. Wake Forest was, no doubt, buoyed from their win over Notre Dame on Friday and donned the upset hat and gave it their all. Kamryn Malloy is a legit hitter for the Demon Deacons and had eighteen kills against the Cards.
Still, road wins are always appreciated and the Cards now come home to prepare for two toughies this weekend in the LNFCU. Virginia comes to town Friday and then the highly anticipated match against Pitt will take place on Sunday.
CHICAGO SKY WINS WNBA CHAMPIONSHP
If Dana Evans is walking around with a bigger-than-normal smile this Monday, it's perfectly understandable and explainable. She and her WNBA Chicago Sky teammates are the WNBA Champs for 2021 -- knocking off the Phoenix Mercury 80-74 yesterday in WinTrust Arena to pull off the four-game series "W".
At 13-13 to end the regular season, not many had the Sky winning it all, and, considered them lucky to just be in post-season at all.
Something happened. Candace "Ace" Parker hadn't left LA to come home to Chicago and play just for the lakeshore drive and Chicago dogs. Veteran Allie Quigley had found a home in Chicago after bouncing around the league and so had Kahleigh Copper. Quigley's 26 points in the final and Copper's Tournament MVP award dwarfed the "established guard trust" of Phoenix's Diana Taurasi, Skyler Diggins Smith and
With 4:42 left in the fourth, this one looked like it might go Phoenix's way. They led 72-65 and were intent to taking the series back to Phoenix.
Not so fast, Mercury,
An 11-0 run by Chicago over the next four minutes gave Chicago a 76-72 lead. Credit Steph Dolson for the final two buckets in the run over the taller Brit Griner. Diana Taurasi drew a foul on a three-pointer and sank two of her free throws to cut the lead to two, but Courtney Vandersloot connected in the lane to seal the win and kick off a massive celebration among Sky fans.
Phoenix, on the other hand, was not so chipper. The Mercury failed to appear at the post-game presser. It was later revealed that the door to their locker room was broken and sources indicated it was one of the Mercury who did the damage. (Talk about your bitter feelings !) An "investigation" is pending. Call in Matlock, Colombo and Chief Bill Gillespie...and...aw, forget it...who cares? It's over and the Sky are your champs.
As for Evans, it's been a topsy-turvy, but ultimately rewarding season. She was drafted later than many expected and ended up in Dallas. Then, early into the season, Chicago head coach James Wade decided he wanted the Louisville great and brought her to Chicago in a trade. Evans knew her role, to be a back up guard to Sky point-guard Vandersloot. She performed her duties without any fanfare or issue.
And now....a ring in her first season. It doesn't get much better than that and all of us at Cardinal Couple are extremely happy for her. If you believe, you can achieve -- and Evans is proof of that. I can't wait to see her make a triumphant return to the KFC YUM! Center this season to watch her former Cardinal teammates play.
She's bonafide. She's Dana Evans and she'll remain one of our favorite Cardinals forever. .
Have a marvelous Monday!