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!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

ACC Volleyball Awards -- Lax News -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

 ACC Volleyball Awards

The ACC announced their postseason awards for volleyball yesterday, and to no surprise, Louisville Volleyball's presence was felt. Dani Busboom Kelly was named ACC Coach of the Year, Tori Dilfer was named ACC Setter of the Year, and seven Cardinals were named to the All-ACC Teams.

Going undefeated in the regular season and winning the ACC by a whopping three matches (!!!) should make the ACC Coach of the Year decision unanimous. Coach Dani Busboom Kelly was given the award for the second straight year. DBK is the second Louisville coach to win ACC Coach of the Year after Anne Kordes received the honor in 2015.

Tori Dilfer also retained her award from last season, ACC Setter of the Year. Similar to a football team running their offense through their quarterback, the setter is crucial in order to run your offense efficiently. Wilma Rivera won the award back-to-back seasons in 2017 and 2018, meaning a Louisville player has held the ACC Setter of the Year title in four of the last five seasons. Katie George won the award in 2015, extended the Cardinals' streak to five of the last seven years.

Anna Stevenson and Anna DeBeer join Dilfer on the All-ACC First Team. All three repeated the honors from last season.

Claire Chaussee, Aiko Jones, Amaya Tillman, and Elena Scott were named to the All-ACC Second Team. Jones and Tillman were All-ACC honorees last year while Chaussee and Scott join the ranks for the first time. Scott was also named to the All-ACC Freshman Team.

Mabrey Shaffmaster (North Carolina) was named ACC Freshman of the Year, Mackenzie Cole (Duke) was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and Julia Bergmann (Georgia Tech) was named ACC Player of the Year.

All 15 coaches in the ACC participate in voting for the awards.

Louisville is one of six teams from the ACC represented in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Pitt (2-seed), Georgia Tech (8-seed), Miami, North Carolina, and Florida State are the other five teams.

The top-seeded Cards will open the tournament on Friday night at 7:00 p.m., against the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC). Their match will follow the conclusion of Michigan vs Ball State (4:00 p.m.). The winners will face each other on Saturday at 6:00 p.m.

Season ticket holders have had an opportunity to put a request in for tickets already. The remaining availability for tickets will go on sale on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., ET. We do not know how many tickets, if any, will still be available. We've had some issues with hyperlinks not working on the mobile browser recently, but the link to purchase those tickets Wednesday morning is listed below.

Although the NCAA does not require masks to be worn at their events, the University of Louisville requires masks to be worn indoors on campus, including sporting events. Please don't make the mistake of showing up without one as they will turn you away at the door.

Allison Daley to be Named to Canisius Hall of Fame

Louisville Lacrosse assistant coach Allison Daley has been selected to be a part of the next class to be inducted into the Canisius Hall of Fame. Daley is currently in her first season as a part of the Louisville coaching staff.

Daley was a four-year letter winner as a goalkeeper and holds the record at Canisius with 662 career saves. In 2011, she was named the MAAC Championship MVP. She was also named the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.

Following her playing career, Daley played for Team Canada before becoming the associate head coach for them. When Coach Scott Teeter took the head coaching position at Louisville, Daley took over the head coaching duties at Canisius.

The Hall of Fame induction will be held Feb. 6, 2022.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, November 29, 2021

WBB downs CSU 71-56 -- Volleyball opens NCAA against UIC -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



Louisville WBB finished their three-game western swing with a convincing win over Colorado Stare by 15 on Sunday afternoon in Fort Collins. 

It was the "Smith out western" weapons of Ahlana and Kianna Smith who led Louisville in scoring with 11 points each and Emily Engstler added ten to raise the Cards record to 5-1.


Louisville eliminated any doubt early by jumping to a 24-10 first quarter lead. The Cards had three threes in the initial quarter as well, and were never seriously challenged in the game. Walz was able to go deep into the bench early and get everyone significant playing time. 

The Cards went 28-53 from the floor for 53% and got 32 bench points in the win.  it was 41-25 at halftime and Louisville had held the Rams to 10-24 shooting. 

No Card saw more that 24 minutes (Olivia Cochran) and all 13 on the trip played at least four minutes. 

Wins like this back up what we thought to be true at the start of the year, Louisville is a very deep and talented team that uses their defense to create scoring opportunities of the offense and has shown very good passing skills this season. The Cards had 14 assists on the 28 made shots and Olivia Cochran had six of those assists.

The Cards led 57-40 after three quarters and finished the win with a 39-22 rebounding edge over Colorado State, who was undefeated coming into the contest. 


(No rollercoaster ride for Cards vs. CSU) 

The Cards were 10-13 from the charity stripe (76.9%) and Cochran scored all five of her points from the free throw line. That's good for a CAPITAL "F" --surpassing the 70% efficiency we like to see/ 

REBOUNDING -- A strong showing on the boards for Emily Engstler with eight and Kasa Robinson following with six and Norika Konno grabbed five. When you out-grab a foe a 17, that works for a CAPITAL "R" in the carom category.

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- Cardinal turnovers were a bit high, with 15. The Rams were face-guarding Hailey Van Lith but she sank all three shots she attempted. 20 points in the paint is good, but the main thing about the effort was that the Cards won the offensive boards battle 7-2.  I'll grant the CAPITAL "E" 

DEFENSE -- Another solid effort with eight steal and allowing the Rams just 38.9% shooting success. Colorado State had to work very hard in their offensive sets and didn't score more than 16 points in any quarter. We'll go with a CAPITAL "D" to close out the Fred Report.


The Cards come home, to face Michigan on Thursday in the ACC/BIG10challenge. A good team effort on Sunday for Louisville, against a CSU squad that I feel might make a little noise in the Mountain West Conference this season. 


Louisville Volleyball begins their quest to win the NCAA Volleyball Tournament with a Friday 7 p.m. match against University of Illinois-Chicago in the LNFCU. The Cards are the #1 overall seed in the tournament 

Texas got the #2 seed, Pitt the #3 seed and Wisconsin rounds out the top four. 

Ball State and Michigan are the other two teams that will compete in Louisville for a chance to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. 

To see the entire bracket, go here

Kentucky will start at home also, hosting SEMO and WKU made the 64 team field -- they'll open against South Carolina down at Georgia Tech. 

We'll have much more on this in the upcoming days, be sure to check back!


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Basketball Faces CSU; Volleyball to Learn Fate -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Late again! This week I'm over a day late. Let's hope the trend doesn't continue. After the sleeping restlessly Friday night, my body needed last night to recover, setting me up to sleep until nearly 10AM. Everything should be back on track next week.

WBB Travels to Fort Collins

Having taken their Thanksgiving holiday break on the road, the Louisville women's basketball team has one more stop before returning back to the Ville. The Cards will take on the Rams from Colorado State today at 2PM Eastern. CSU is part of the Mountain West Conference, who hosts their own "network." Today's game will be available for streaming via the site, which you can find at this link. The Rams host most of their games via that service, so we'll hope for a higher quality production than the jumbotron feed from Washington that didn't even include a shot clock.

Louisville is coming off of their 40-point romp against Cal Poly, while CSU's last game saw their largest margin of victory since the opener. The Rams beat Lipscomb 81-55 last Sunday, which is second only to their 35-point stomping of Colorado Christian on November 9th. Lipscomb is just 1-3 this season with their only victory coming against Shorter University, a private Baptist university in Georgia with an enrollment of about 2,000. Colorado State is undefeated, though, having also beaten Northern Colorado, Oral Roberts, and Denver. Colorado Christian does not compete at the Division 1 level, and CSU's four D1 opponents are a combined 6-14 so far this season.

Louisville doesn't have a ton of room to talk, as their victories boast a 7-14 record, while Arizona, Louisville's lone loss, brings the overall opponents' record to 14-14. Colorado State went 15-6 last season and were picked to finish 4th in the MWC this season. The Rams return just seven players from last year's roster, but one is McKenna Hofschild, a junior guard who was named to the Preseason All-Mountain West Team. Hofschild was the POTW last week in the MWC, averaging 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists over three games.

Last season, the Rams ranked well in categories that could spell trouble for the Cards. CSU was a top-ten team in ATO (5th), defensive rebounds (6th), 3-point percentage (6th), and they turned the ball over at the second lowest rate in the country. So far this season, in the same stats, the Rams rank first, third, twenty-third, and first. Louisville must be disciplined on defense and make their own shots on the first try. With five players listed at 6-1 or taller, CSU is bound to make it difficult to find second chance points. Louisville is 48th in turnovers forced, 21st in three-point field goal defense, and do not rank in the top-30 in offensive rebounds per game (for some reason, this stat is not populating beyond that top 30). 

The statistical matchups aren't ideal, but with then season being so young and the strength of opponent varying so wildly, it is hard to draw too many conclusions. Louisville does have the better team on paper, despite the cherry-picked stats, and the voters think so as well. However, Louisville has appeared sluggish at times. With CSU being on longer rest and playing at home in front of a white-out crowd, the Cards cannot afford to come out slow or they may find themselves playing catch-up. In a momentum game like basketball, that can make all the difference.

Louisville will be looking to even up the series history between the two teams, as they have played three times, starting in 1990. The Cards won that first matchup, played in the Seelbach Hotel, but lost both games that followed. The last time the two teams played was in 2001, so there isn't much in terms of recent history to cause bad blood. The biggest question is: Who will Sean Moth be rooting for?

Once again, today's game gets underway at 2PM ET and is on the Mountain West Network site.

Volleyball Selection Show Tonight

Typically, the selection shows for non-revenue sports are at extremely late hours on Decision Day because the NCAA doesn't expect them to be much of a spectacle and there isn't network pressure to finish any Decision Day games well in advance of the show as there is in basketball. Volleyball will be a bit different, as they'll get this one underway at 8:30PM. So long as they don't over-dramatize it, the show should end at a reasonable time. The show will air on ESPNU, which is another improvement over some of the other sports which just see their shows relegated to a live stream on the NCAA website. The 6:30 slot holds Miami vs Alabama in basketball, and there is no buffer between the events, so there is a chance that the show either starts delayed or on some other viewing platform.

As Jeff mentioned yesterday, there shouldn't be very much anticipation as far as Louisville's seeding goes. The Cards have been the top-ranked team in the AVCA Poll since November 8th and are currently receiving all but two first place votes. Louisville is also ranked number one in RPI, three spots ahead of Texas. If you're a Longhorns fan, that's got to be more concerning than the AVCA ranking. Pittsburgh takes the second slot there, followed by Baylor, before Texas comes in at fourth. I don't expect Texas to appear with a four next to their name tonight, but we'll see what happens. 

The real question becomes which teams will be headed to Louisville next weekend. The Cards will certainly hope they don't have to face Western Kentucky, a team they are very familiar with. The Hilltoppers are on the fringe of getting a seed of their own, but it will be tough. They're ranked 16th in the current AVCA Poll and sit at 19th in RPI. WKU went 27-1 this season, with the lone loss coming at home against Ole Miss. Ole Miss is ranked 50th in RPI, so that's not a great loss. 

The most recent projections for the bracket came out over two weeks ago on November 11th, so they may not hold a ton of value, but they sent WKU to Purdue, giving the Boilermakers the 12 seed. Purdue sits at 6th in the AVCA and 8th in RPI so they may be a bit higher up, and WKU may find themselves getting the opportunity to take on an even lower (higher?.. worse) seeded team. 

That same projection had Louisville hosting Morehead State, Dayton, and UCF, with all three being automatic qualifiers and the Cards facing Morehead State as, officially, the 64th ranked team. Dayton and UCF did their part and earned those AQ bids, but Morehead State did not. The Eagles were toppled by Southeast Missouri last week in the OVC Championship match. SEMO is ranked 87th in RPI, so it may be as simple as just swapping those two teams in the bracketology.

All of our questions will be answered tonight and the Cards will welcome their challengers to L&N Federal Credit Union Arena on Thursday.  

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

The show was hosted by just a trio yesterday, as I sat out, but Paulie, Jeff, and Jared took good care of the listeners. If you want to check the show out on YouTube, or subscribe to the channel, the two links below will take you to the channel page or directly to this week's show. If you're more the podcast type, links to various platforms are included, or you can find the show on your platform of choice by searching for "Cardinal Couple Radio Hour."

Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
11-27-2021 show; 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!

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Volleyball Perfection - Saturday Cardinal Couple

 A slight schedule change as Jeff takes the Saturday write for Case who is a bit under the weather thanks to a Covid booster shot.  Case expects to be back for the Sunday article.

Volleyball Perfection

Dani Busboom Kelly's volleyball squad has run the table for the 2021 regular season.  A perfect 28-0 season, a feat that hasn't happened in the NCAA since Missouri pulled it off in 2013.  The Cards finished the accomplishment against Notre Dame last night in a four set win, 24-26, 25-13, 25-23, 25-13.

Mia Stander caught in the act of vandalism

Notre Dame came into L&N FCU Arena last night with a 13-14 overall record, 10-7 in conference.  They needed the win last night to even be eligible for post-season play with the criteria being an overall .500 record.  With the Irish's crazy schedule and unpredictable play, if they had gotten the win, there was actually a chance that they would have gotten an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament...a slim one, but one nonetheless.

Louisville, of course, entered the game with the ACC Championship already clenched and maybe a bit of a Pitt hangover.  The Wednesday match against Pitt was the top ranked match nationally, of the season in NCAA volleyball.  The second highest ranked match nationally of the season was the earlier matchup between the two when the Cards were ranked second, and Pitt fourth.

Neither team set the court on fire in the first set, Notre Dame hit .143, and the Cards only swung for .098.  12 of Notre Dame's 26 points in the set came on UofL miscues.  Pitt hangover, indeed.

#20 Rachel DeMarcus being the first onto the
court to celebrate with her teammates
One of the advantages of having such a senior laden squad that has played together with minimal lineup changes for the better part of two seasons is having the poise and confidence to put that sort of an opening set behind them and correct course.

In the second set, the Cards basically said, "No, that's not how this regular season is going to end." and asserted their dominance.  Anna DeBeer set the early tone in the set, being responsible for five of the first eight UofL points to lead out to a Cardinal 8-2 lead with four kills and a service ace.  The Cards then cruised to the 25-13 win in the set.  The Cards hitting improved to .400 for the set, with the Irish cooling off slightly to .114.

The Irish weren't quite ready to go quietly, though.  Sophomore Aubrey Hamilton started the set on a hot streak and would get four kills in the set to lead Notre Dame out to a 9-7 lead.  Buoyed by four Cardinal service errors, they would push that lead out to 20-15.  Again, UofL would say, "Nuh uh." and roared back to tie it at 21 and then push into a 23-21 lead.  Trading points the rest of the way, UofL took the third set to take the 2-1 set advantage.  UofL hitting cooled slightly to a still good .300 in the set.

Tori Dilfer with parents Cassandra and Trent
Dilfer.  Trent, of course is a SuperBowl
champion quarterback.  Cassandra was a standout
swimmer at Fresno State.
Notre Dame opened the fourth set with a big Caroline Meuth swing right into the waiting big block of Aiko Jones and Amaya Tillman, and it really felt like the Irish pretty much deflated from there.  The Cards pulled out to another early 8-2 lead, including two kills by setter Tori Dilfer and would cruise to the set and match win, and finalizing the undefeated season, from there, exemplified by the .533 hitting for the Cards in the set.

UofL led in every stat category, with the biggest impacts coming from having five aces to Notre Dame's one, and nine blocks to Notre Dame's five.

Anna "Steve" Stevenson celebrating with the
ACC Championship trophy
Tori Dilfer was attack-minded last night, putting down another three kills in addition to the two mentioned above for an error free five of eight in hitting for .625 average.  I usually don't include Tori's hitting numbers because it's typically a pretty small sample size from the setter.  Anna DeBeer led in kill totals with 16 at a .231 clip, with fellow left sider Claire Chaussee being the most efficient of the main attackers tallying a .400 average out of 13 kills.

Aiko Jones has struggled of late on offense, but seemed to get back on track last night with nine kills in 20 attempts reaching a quite respectable .300.  Anna Stevenson also reached double digits with 10 for a .304 clip.

A good blocking night for the Cards.  Dilfer and Jones both got solos, but if you believe sharing is caring, then Amaya Tillman had four shares, Jones, Stevenson, and Dilfer each got a part of three, and Chaussee kept the number even with a share of one.

Freshman year manager turned team member
Jamie Vasilou getting ready to jump out of the
Digging and passing was led by super surprise freshman Elena Scott with 17 digs, but good contributions came from DeBeer with 14, Jones with 10, and Ayden Bartlett with nine.

The Cards chose to celebrate senior night with post-match festivities rather than the traditional pre-match approach.  They did take a moment just before the starting lineups to recognize the Notre Dame seniors, always a nice touch when teams do that, I think.  I wasn't able to quite catch all of the seniors recognized for Notre Dame.  I didn't catch all of the names, but it included much of the core of Notre Dame's team, including Charlie Niego (who didn't play in the match, she was on the sideline in a boot), Sydney Bent, Lauren Wenzel, Lexi Saulney, and I believe Zoe Nunez, and surprisingly, I think Caroline Meuth as well?  She is listed as a junior on ND's roster, but I believe she was recognized as well, perhaps she's graduating early and will be a transfer for graduate studies?

Emily Scott pondering whether she can Fosbury
Flop over the net.
In the post-match ceremony, Louisville recognized seniors Mia Stander, Emily Scott, Jamie Vasilou, and Rachel DeMarcus, along with super-seniors Tori Dilfer and Anna Stevenson.  We will still get a chance, here at Cardinal Couple, to report on Emily Scott beyond the volleyball season as she will be competing with Track and Field in the spring in the high jump competition.

A quick side note, I don't think I've ever seen an intro video garner a standing ovation until last night.  Without regularly going to UofL sporting events, you might miss that for the past few years, the intro videos in various sports have changed throughout the year, incorporating new clips from games and matches during the season.  Credit for the volleyball videos over the season goes to Asaad Ali, and he knocked it out of the park with the updates for the video last night, focusing on the seniors, including clips from as recently as the Pitt match on Wednesday night.  I'm not sure when he sleeps.

UofL 2021 seniors with their families, coaching
staff and AD Vince Tyra
Also in post-match festivities, UofL celebrated, and got to hoist the trophy for, the outright ACC Championship for the season.  They also brought out a bucket of scissors to cut down the net, a fitting tribute to such an amazing season.

Of course, with the ACC 'ship, UofL does officially get the ACC's automatic qualifier bid to the NCAA tournament, not that UofL's presence in the tournament was in any sort of doubt at all.  The only real suspense for the Cards in the selection show might have been whether they got the one seed if they had lost to Notre Dame, but with the win, and the undefeated season, I think it would send shock waves through the volleyball world if they are awarded anything other than the top seed.

Oh yeah, and that Missouri team that went undefeated in the regular season in 2013?  They were the four seed in the tournament that year, highlighting the need to have a good strength of schedule for tourney seeding, and went on to lose to Purdue in the second round.  Let's hope for better for the Cards.

We will find out officially what the draw is in the NCAA D1 Volleyball Selection Show on Sunday evening at 8:30 on ESPNU.  UofL Athletics will have to replace that net as the top 16 seeds get to host first and second round matches, which according to the NCAA page at will be Thursday and Friday December 2nd and 3rd, though there has been some confusion about those dates.  The top seeds that advance in each region to the Sweet 16 will get to host Regionals, rounds three and four.

UofL's hosting plan includes rounds one and two at L&N FCU Arena, and rounds three and four, presuming UofL advances will be at Freedom Hall.  The Regionals are currently listed on the above page as occurring on Sunday and Monday December 9th and 11th, so clearly there is still some confusion there, as well.

The Volleyball Final Four will be held at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH, Thursday and Saturday December 16th and 18th.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

We'll at least have a trio on the call today for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast.  Paulie, Jared (maybe a bit sleep deprived), and myself will be on the call.  The Covid-booster-recovering Case is a game-time decision.  Daryl, as mentioned yesterday, has family obligations.

Expect plenty of discussion of Volleyball, of course, but I'm sure we'll get some basketball talk in there as well.

You can find the live stream at the Cardinal Couple Youtube channel (as soon as I get the stream scheduled).

Friday, November 26, 2021

#1 VB Senior Day vs Notre Dame -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Happy Holiday weekend, readers.   I do hope you got the opportunity to spend some time with family and friends yesterday.. and if you do venture out into the retail world today, be patient and kind with staff and fellow shoppers.  

I want to use the opportunity to say thanks and recognize a few things in my life that I am grateful for.  First, I am grateful to have my family.  My parents live close to me and have been together for more than 30 years and my sister for making me an aunt this year!  Today is also my dad's birthday!!  My dad is a HUGE reason I am such a big Louisville fan.  I am also thankful to have such a supportive and well informed gang at Cardinal Couple.  Its comforting to have such a welcoming crew who have your back no matter what! 

The Women's Basketball team is on holiday break until Sunday so with that, we've got the Volleyball to cover today.  

The #1 ranked VolleyCards (27-0) are closing out the regular season for Senior Day when they welcome Notre Dame (13-14) to L&N Federal Credit Union. 

Time: 5:00 p.m.
TV: ACC Network Extra

UofL swept the Irish (25-18, 25-18, 25-18) in South Bend back on November 15th.

The Cards hit .206 with 42 kills, five aces and 14 blocks. Anna Stevenson had eight kills and eight blocks.  Senior Claire Chaussee added eight kills and a block and hit .368. Setter Tori Dilfer had 34 assists, an ace and two blocks. Libero Elena Scott had 12 digs and three aces.

Notre Dame hit .021 with 26 kills, an ace and seven blocks.   ND played without their leading scorer, Charley Niego.. she has not played the last couple matches for the Irish. Caroline Meuth steped up in her place and had nine kills and five blocks. Setter Zoe Nunez had 20 assists and eight digs.

ND is coming off two 3-0 wins over Virginia Tech and at Florida State.  

Coming up... 
NCAA Tournament Selection Show
The 2021 DI Women's Volleyball Selection Selection Show is on ESPNU at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 28. That's when the field of 64 teams will be announced for this season's championship. Of the 64 teams, 32 teams receive automatic qualification while the remaining 32 teams will be selected on an at-large basis by the Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee.

The first and second round will be December 2-4 in a single-elimination first round competition. 
Regionals will take place from December 9-11.  The National Semi's will be held December 16, at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The National Championship will take place December 18, at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The championship will be held in Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH.

The gang should be on schedule for podcast this weekend.  I will still be on hiatus, spending time with the fam. 

As Always, Go Cards 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

VBall Downs Pitt -- Happy Thanksgiving -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Happy Thanksgiving, Cards fans! Normally we take today off from posting any articles... buuut we have a good reason to post a story today.

Louisville Volleyball Remains Unbeaten, Downs Pittsburgh

#1 Louisville Volleyball had the attention of the entire volleyball world last night when they traveled up north for a match with #3 Pittsburgh. The match was a rematch from a five-set thriller when the two ACC rivals were ranked second and fourth, respectively, at LNFCU Arena.

This match certainly lived up to the hype as the Cards took down the Panthers 3-1 (25-19, 25-19, 17-25, 25-21) at Fitzgerald Field House.

The two powerhouse programs through haymakers at each other all night, never giving the other a chance to get comfortable on the court.

Set One: 25-19

The Cards and Panthers traded points back-and-forth for the first half of the opening set all the way up to 14-14. Louisville managed to break through with a 5-0 run highlighted by the 'Anna Show' with Anna Stevenson logging a pair of kills and Anna DeBeer earning a kill and an ace in the run. A mini run of three straight Claire Chaussee kills gave the Cards a 23-16 cushion before a DeBeer kill claimed the first set victory.

Set Two: 25-19

Pitt found themselves ahead 5-2 following a 4-0 run early on. Louisville used their own small run to tie the score at five apiece after Stevenson earned her first two kills of the set. Louisville and Pitt would continue to fight back-and-forth up to a 13-13 tie. Similar to the first set, a mid-set run helped the Cards pull ahead. Two straight Chaussee kills, a Pitt error, and a kill by Amaya Tillman allowed Louisville to take a moment to breathe. Ready to extend their lead, another 4-0 run late in the set pushed the Louisville lead to 22-15. Pitt never got closer than within five the rest of the set as the Cards took a 2-0 lead into halftime.

Set Three: 17-25

When playing the #3 team in the country on their Senior Night, you expect them to battle back. And that's what Pitt did. Much of the set involved Pitt building a one-to-two-point lead and Louisville having to play from behind. Up 18-16, the Panthers were ready to close the door on the third set, using a 6-0 run to go up 24-16. The run was disrupted by an Amaya Tillman kill, but the Cards could not muster up a rally and surrendered the set to the Panthers.

Set Four: 25-21

Allowing a home team to build momentum is never good, and Pittsburgh was ready to run with their momentum. Louisville held an early 4-1 lead, but things seemed to crash and burn right after. Pittsburgh got hot and went on a 9-0 run to build a commanding 10-4 lead. Anna Stevenson was able to put an end to their run with a kill. The two teams would traded points until Louisville went on a mini 3-0 run started by a Pitt service error and ending with an Ayden Bartlett service ace. Not ready to relinquish their lead Pittsburgh scored a quick point and went up 14-10. However, Louisville didn't become #1 by sitting down and quitting. A 5-0 Louisville run that featured a little help on some poor Pitt attacking, gave Louisville a one-point lead.

 Once again, UofL and Pitt traded points until they came to an 18-18 tie. A service error sparked a mini 3-0 Louisville run that ended in controversy. Pitt challenged a kill by Jones, stating that the kill was long. Replay appeared to agree with the Panthers, but the officiating crew stuck with their initial call before awarding an arguable make-up call the next point. Following the theme, it was another series of trading points until Louisville found themselves at match point and a 24-21 lead. It was only fitting that one of the best blocking teams in the country win the match on a block by Stevenson.

The sold out crowd of 3052 was silenced... well, there was a fairly decent Louisville fan base present celebrating, as the Louisville squad rushed to the middle of the court celebrating the big victory. The win secured the sole ACC title for Louisville as well as extended their undefeated season to 27-0.

Three Cardinals were in the double-digits in kills- Claire Chaussee (16), Anna DeBeer (15), and Anna Stevenson (12), with all three hitting north of .380. Nearly all of those kills were credited to Tori Dilfer's game-high 45 assists.

On the serving side, Louisville committed nine service errors as opposed to 10 from Pitt, but Louisville did come up with six aces. Aiko Jones and Ayden Bartlett each had two aces while Elena Scott and Anna DeBeer contributed one apiece.

Louisville's blocking wasn't the difference maker in this match per se (11-10 advantage), but the blocks came at opportune moments. Anna Stevenson was apart of seven blocks (five solo blocks). Aiko Jones was a part of five blocks and Amaya Tillman got in on four.

Louisville will wrap up their regular season at home against Notre Dame this Friday at 5:00 p.m., ET. The match is sold out.

Louisville is also guaranteed to host the opening two rounds of the NCAA Tournament a LNFCU Arena (sold out, but that could change based on the number of tickets each team receives) and they're in good position to host the NCAA Regionals at Freedom Hall. The Final Four will be held in Columbus, Ohio.

Happy Thanksgiving

We normally like to take today off to celebrate and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. A day off from work and Louisville women's sports is needed every once in a while. Don't forget that we cover 12 UofL women's teams throughout the year as well as try to stay up-to-date with Louisville Alums around the world in their various professional teams.

I think Jeff gave a wonderful Thanksgiving article back on Nov. 14 (it may be on the second page for most devices) and there's no way I can top that. But I do want to go ahead and give thanks.

First, I want to thank everyone that is a part of our Cardinal Couple Crew that allows us to continue to run smoothly (usually) and to stay up-to-date with so many Louisville happenings. Seriously, have you tried knowing everything about every Louisville women's team at the same time? It's definitely not a one-person job. Between our daily coverage, recent photos, personalized player and coach interviews, and a unique and one-of-a-kind podcast, it feels like we have a full army keeping this ship upright.

Secondly, I want to thank YOU. Whether you check out Cardinal Couple to see how one specific sport or player is doing, or you like to get caught up on all the happenings, or you want a unique perspective on many sports, or you enjoy a judgement-free zone to post your thoughts, we would not be able to function without our readers/fans/engagers.

Third, I would be remiss if I did not thank Louisville Athletics. Without Louisville Athletics we have no teams to cover and no purpose here. They bring us great joy (and the occasional frustration) and allows us to do what we love. Included in this would be the terrific Sports Information Directors who provide us with media credentials and all of the resources we need to do our job efficiently.

I am also thankful for the opportunity to continue to grow and share my photo abilities here. Cardinal Couple was the first place to bring me on for photos. Looking back at my early work, I appreciate that Paulie ttook a chance on me when he agreed to bring me on. Over time, my work has improved and I've been able to provide better quality work to share here.

On a non-UofL note, I am also thankful for my family. My parents and brother live no more than a couple minutes from me so I am able to see them regularly. Much of the rest of my family is nearby as well, including aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, so I get to see them too. Of course, I am absolutely blessed to have such a fantastic and amazing fiancé in Katy. She has been my biggest cheerleader and supporter and I have no idea where I would be without her.

From our Cardinal Couple family to You, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Cards!


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Cards WBB Bounce Cal Poly 72-32 -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Defense was the name of the game for Louisville women's basketball Tuesday night in the 72-32, 40-point win over Cal Poly and Liz Dixon came off the bench to score 15 points in the win. 

It wasn't the best of starts for the Cards, falling behind 4-0 early, but a 10-0 Cardinals run put them ahead to stay. 6-20 shooting won't win you many contests against good opponents, admittedly, but Olivia Cochran gave the Cards five first quarter point as the Cards ended the first ten minutes ahead 14-9. Louisville held the Mustangs to 25% shooting in the first session. 

Louisville got a nice boost from the bench in the second quarter and Ahlana Smith and Norika Konno hit threes to help the Cards start to pull away from the Big West opponent. The defense was still spot on in shutting down the Mustangs offense and UofL used a 20-7 scoring margin in the second quarter to build a comfortable 34-16 lead at the half. The Cards were a little sloppy, honestly,  in the offensive execution at times in the first 20 minutes, committing 11 turnovers, but Walz had already used 10 of his 13 players in the contest and, as a team, they had held Cal Poly to 19,4% shooting. 

The Cards guards got untracked in the third quarter and came up with 12 of Louisville's 18 third quarter points as Louisville continued to increase the lead. Haliey Van Lith had five of her nine points in quarter three and Louisville shot 61.5% in the ten minutes after halftime. After three quarters, Louisville held a 52-23 lead and Cal Poly's shooting woes continues with just 2-14 shooting in the third quarter. 

Walz rested Van Lith, Engstler and Hall in the final quarter, the Cards got 10 minutes from Merissah Russell and nine minutes from Payton Verhulst and coasted in with a 20-9 scoring advantage in the final 10 minutes to win 72-32. Russell nailed a three and Dixon added four more points to give her a team high 15 points for the game. And, she did it in just 13 minutes on the court. Verhulst, Schetnan, Russell, Konno and Parker closed the game out for the Cards, the crowd gave homecoming Kianna Smith a nice round of applause when she departed the game and Louisville had accomplished a convincing 40-point win...winning the 4th quarter 20-9. 


(The late Fred Rogers is our Fred today. It was a beautiful win in California-hood) 

FREE THROWS -- Not a lot of free throw chances for either team in the contest, Louisville went to the line just five times and made three of the attempts. The 60% foul stripe shooting falls below our 70C% mandate for a letter, so, no letter here. 

REBOUNDS -- The taller Cards held a 49-36 edge on the boards overall, but only a 24-22 edge at the end of the first half. Engstler led the way with nine grabs and Cochran recorded seven. Outrebounding your opponent by 13 is good for a CAPITAL "R" by my reckoning.

EFFORT/EXECUTION -- 20 turnovers against a team like Cal Poly is too many, but 47% shooting is a nice effort on the road. Three pointers are still a quandry, the Cards made just 7 out of 26 (26.9%) but Kianna was hot, hitting three of her six. 19 assists on 31 baskets isn't bad, but Louisville missed way too many layups. I award a small case "e" here. 

DEFENSE --  This is where Louisville shone Tuesday night. They held Cal Poly to 20% shooting, forced 23 turnover and had 12 steals and seven blocked shots. No problem in awarding a CAPITAL "D'' for the defensive effort. 


So, a game that I thought the Cards would win easily and they di, after a bit of a sluggish start. The Cards are in mid-season form defensively and that's good to see. The offensive could still use a bit of work, but, wins are wins and this was a good one Tuesday night.


highly anticipated re-match between Louisville Volleyball and Pitt takes place tonight at Pitt's Fitzgerald Fieldhouse today at 5   

The match will be shown on the ACC Network. #1 vs. #3. 

We've talked about this one at length, basically since the Cards took the first contest between the two that Louisville won in the LNFCU. 

It's a match that has nationwide interest and should be a fun one to watch. Let;s hope our Cards can leave Pitt with the "W". I expect a five set thriller. Jared will recap it Thursday. 

Let's play...


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

WBB at Cal Poly -- Volleyball Tournament Locations -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

 Women's Basketball Visits Cal Poly

Remaining on the west coast, Louisville Women's Basketball is set for a Tuesday night game against Cal Poly. Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m., ET, and will be aired on ESPN+. Yep, get ready to spend some money to watch this game if you aren't already paying for ESPN+. You can also tune into 790-AM radio to hear Nick Curran and AJ on the call. .

Cal Poly hails from the Big West Conference. They went 13-11 last season and fell in the Big West semifinals. The Mustangs opened up their season this year with a 91-77 loss to Santa Clara.

The Mustangs return eight players from last year's squad. The other half of their roster consists of six freshman and a pair of transfers from Ole Miss and San Francisco.

From 6-21 in the 2018-2019 season to 13-11 last year, Cal Poly has progressively gotten better each year. Coach Faith Mimnaugh is in her 25th season as head coach. Since 2009, her Mustangs have gone 122-88 in conference play.

Similar to the Bellarmine game, it's safe to assume that this game should be heavily in favor of the #10 Cards. Louisville has given us early glimpses of potentially one of the best defense under Jeff Walz. The offense has been rather inconsistent, but there are enough weapons that Louisville can post 80 points fairly easily.

This is the first match-up between the Cards and Mustangs.

Sticking with women's basketball for just a moment, we had a trio of games yesterday involving ranked opponents.

#1 South Carolina used an impressive 16-3 fourth quarter to beat #2 UConn in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. At 6-0 and a statement win over the #2 team in the country, the Gamecocks are clearly ahead of the rest of the country right now, and by quite a bit.

#23 South Florida downed #9 Oregon 71-62 in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament game. The Ducks dropped their second straight game, the other to South Carolina, but a 3-2 record this early in the year should drop them out of the Top 10.

#13 Michigan defeated Oakland 69-58. The Golden Grizzlies outscored the Wolverines in two of the four quarters but a 19-6 first quarter in favor of Michigan was the difference maker.

Thanksgiving Day this year offers a few women's basketball games with a pair of games to keep an eye out.

#5 NC State and #3 Maryland square off at 11:00 a.m., ET., in the Bahamas. #4 Indiana and #7 Stanford will play on the same court following the first game.

Louisville partners with Bellarmine for Volleyball tournament locations

With the NCAA Volleyball Tournament looming nearby, we were bound to find out where Louisville Volleyball would host their matches, assuming the Cards get seeded high enough and continue to advance far enough.

Louisville and Bellarmine were able to work a deal out to allow Louisville Volleyball to host the third and fourth rounds of the NCAA Tournament at Freedom Hall. The first two rounds will be held at LNFCU Arena.

With Louisville taking over Freedom Hall for a few days, Bellarmine's men's basketball team was going to be displaced for a couple games. Part of the agreement allows Bellarmine to relocate to the KFC Yum! Center for a home game.

Here is the list and location of the events at the KFC Yum! Center and Freedom Hall:

Dec. 8 NCAA Volleyball practices at Freedom Hall

Dec. 9 NCAA Volleyball matches at Freedom Hall

            Bellarmine Men's Basketball vs Asbury at KFC Yum! Center

Dec. 10 Louisville Men's Basketball vs DePaul at KFC Yum! Center

            NCAA Volleyball practices at Freedom Hall (first half of day)

            Bellarmine Men's Basketball vs Midway at Freedom Hall (evening)

Dec. 11 NCAA matches at Freedom Hall

            Pentatonix concert at KFC Yum! Center

Dec. 12 Louisville Women's Basketball vs Kentucky at KFC Yum! Center

Granted, Louisville Volleyball will need to be one of the top four remaining seeds and will need to advance to host. We certainly hope to see the Cards winning and hosting.

In the event Louisville does not host the third and fourth rounds, the rest of the schedule will remain the same with game days and locations.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, November 22, 2021



As Louisville women's basketball continues their westward jaunt Tuesday with a game against Cal Poly, I thought today might be a good day to take a look at the top 10 rankings in two polls -- the AB WBB Poll and the NCAA Committee Top 10. The USA Today Coaches Poll hasn't been released since pre-season -- you know how busy the coaches are these days, and, in this one, a lot of coaches assign their vote to an assistant or other staff member. 

In the AP Poll, we find the Cards ranked #10. Here's the rundown, as of Week 2: 

1) South Carolina

2) UConn

3) Maryland

4) Indiana

5) NC State

6) Baylor

7) Stanford

8) Iowa

9) Oregon


Here's the way the NCAA Top 10 Committee sees it: 

1) UConn

2) Stanford

3) Texas A&M

4) South Carolina

5) NC State

6) Maryland

7) Arizona

8) Baylor


10) UCLA

The difference between the two polls is striking. Despite being ranked higher in the NCAA Poll, Louisville will watch both closely, as Oregon went 1-1 over the last two days, beating Oklahoma but falling to South Carolina...and Baylor took a loss against Maryland. Hopefully, the pollsters will just look at Louisville's eight point win over Washington and not explore that the Cards had a 16 point lead shrink to three in the fourth quarter on Saturday. The Cards could move up in both polls because of the losses by teams ranked higher than them.

Despite a loss to South Carolina, NC State is still #5 in both polls. That raises an eyebrow. And Arizona, ho handed Louisville their lone loss so far, made the NCAA Committee Top 10 at #7, but is unranked in the AP Top 10. Another bit of a surprise is Texas A&M checking in at #3 in the NCAA Committee Poll but not making the AP Top 10. The Aggies are 4-0...

Iowa makes the AP Poll at #8, but is not in the NCAA Poll. The biggest discrepancy is South Carolina at #1 in the AP and #4 in the NCAA Committee Poll. 

Looking at it by conference the AP, three Big 10 schools are ranked, the ACC and PAC 12 have two schools each and the Big East, SEC and Big 12 one school each

In the NCAA Committee Poll, the PAC 12 has three schools, ACC and SEC two schools, Big East, Big 10 and Big 12 one member each. 


My poll is a combination of what I, Sonja, the nice lady at the Gas N Go, my pizza delivery guy, two squirrels scurrying about my back yard and a disinterested phone solicitor who called me this morning when I was doing the article. Hoo, boy !!!

I give you my Paulie Poll Rankings: 

1) South Carolina (5-0)

2) U Conn (3-0) 

3) Maryland (6-0) 

4) Indiana (4-0)

5) NC State (4-1) 

6) Iowa (4-0) 

7) Arizona (4-0)

8) LOUISVILLE (3-1) 

9) Stanford (3-1) 

10) Baylor 3-1

Let's point out  a couple of things. Iowa is on COVID pause. South Carolina and UConn meet today in the Battle 4 Atlantis on Paradise Island, Bahamas  The AP delayed their weekly poll a day to consider the outcome of this one. It'll be on ESPN at noon. 

Louisville returns to the court Tuesday against Cal Poly. Jared will get you ready for that one in Tuesday's Cardinal Couple. 




Sunday, November 21, 2021

Cards Fly Away from the Huskies - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Women's Basketball vs Washington

After much hand-wringing over how CardNation would get to watch the game last night, it ended up being available by way of the PAC-12 Now setup (app, or website) for free.  That's a pretty solid comparison to how the game went as well, with plenty of hand-wringing over the Cards performance eventually resulting in a 61-53 win over the Washington Huskies in Seattle.

Washington started the game looking like the clearly better team.  Shots weren't falling for UofL, the Cards had errant passes, and a number of moments of, "What was she trying to do with that?" let Washington take the lead 15-13 at the end of the first quarter, and that includes the point that UofL had on the scoreboard for the game even tipped off.

An administrative technical foul was assessed to the hosting Huskies team due to a non-functional clock.  The assessed penalty was a single free throw for the Cards, with Hailey Van Lith stepping up to the stripe and draining it.  After the now-not-quite-game-opening tip-off, Kianna Smith would get a layup.  That would be the last time the Cards led in the first quarter.  The Cards would only shoot 6 of 19 from the field in the first quarter with none from beyond the arc.

The good news is that UofL did turn it around before the second quarter.  After an opening score by UW, UofL would put together a 6-0 run that really set the tone for quarter, outscoring the Huskies 20-8 in the frame.

After halftime, the Cards would maintain the control of the game, and extend the lead by another six points, finishing the quarter 54-38.

Then the fourth quarter happened.  Starting with that 54-38 lead, UofL would not score at all in the quarter until about two and a half minutes left, letting UW close the lead down to three.  Hailey Van Lith pried the lid off the basket with a pair of free throws, Emily Engstler would follow about a minute later with the only UofL field goal of the quarter, and the Cards would close out the fourth quarter, and game, with a pair of Mykasa Robinson free throws, and one by Kianna Smith.

So the Cards start their tour of the west with a win, but a win that showed that this team still has a lot to improve on. A homecoming for Hailey that almost turned out bittersweet. 

Kianna Smith and Liz Dixon led the Cards with 13 points apiece.  Emily Engstler wasn't the dominant force that we enjoyed last week at the KFC Yum! Center, but she did get eight points with eight rebounds.  Add in a trio of blocks, and that makes for a good night of play, even if it wasn't contributing as much in the points column.  Hailey Van Lith was the only other Card in double digit scoring with 11, while Olivia Cochran matched Engstler's eight, but didn't contribute as well in other aspects of the game.

(Frederick Douglass - his words describe the Louisville debacle last night) 

FRED Report

F - Free Throws - 7-11 from the charity stripe tallies to a 63.6% which doesn't achieve our 70% benchmark.  No letter.

R - Rebounding - Neck and neck between the Cards and Huskies, but UW did outrebound the Cards 36-35.  The Cards snagged nine offensive, and 26 defensive boards.  35 is a decent total, but the goal here is to do better than the other team.  Alas, I can't award a letter here either.

E - Effort/Efficiency - Liz Dixon led the way here with 6-8 shooting.  There is some partial credit here for the effort involved in digging out from a 1st quarter deficit with a dominant 2nd quarter.  I don't think we can go with the full capital letter in this category because of the flagging 4th quarter.  I will give the e, though.

D - Defense - Four blocked shots, most of those by Engstler, and eight steals are good totals in those columns.  I'll also give some partial credit on the eye test.  The Cards took some frustration and kept playing.  With shots not reliably falling, it's easy to let the intensity drop, but UofL didn't do that.  A full D here.


_-_-e-D, certainly a mixed bag.

The Cards continue their western assault on Tuesday visiting Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, roughly halfway between Los Angeles and San Jose.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Four of us hit the court yesterday with the CCRHP.  Case, Jared, Paulie, and I made the call in between lots of activity on campus this past week.

Volleyball and Basketball, during this period of fall and winter sports overlap, easily filled the hour.

You can check it out on Youtube at:
or at it's home for the pure podcast version wonderfully engineered and edited by Case at: