Women's Basketball vs Union
Louisville Women's Basketball unofficially opens up the 2021-2022 with an exhibition against Union University tonight at 7:00 p.m., at the KFC Yum! Center.
The Cards come into the game ranked #6 in the preseason AP poll. They are listed second in the ACC preseason poll.
Louisville returns nearly their entire team from last year. Dana Evans graduated. Elizabeth Balogun and Malea Williams transferred out.
Jeff Walz reloaded, though. Payton Verhulst, Sydni Schetnan, and Alexia Mobley join the Cards as freshmen. Mobley is confirmed to be redshirting and Coach Walz has hinted that Schetnan may follow suit. He also brought in Emily Engstler and Chelsie Hall from the transfer portal.
The starting five is up for grabs and your guess is as good as mine. However, I'll take a jab at the starting five we see: Hailey Van Lith, Mykasa Robinson, Kianna Smith, Olivia Cochran, and Emily Engstler. I could take out any of those names and replace it with Chelsie Hall and I'd feel as confident with my guess either way.
Union University makes the drive up north from Jackson, Tenn. The DII school is reigning Gulf South Conference Champions and is the favorite to repeat as conference champions. The Bulldogs fell in the Regional Semifinals last year. They are currently ranked #12 (media poll) and #19 (WBCA poll).
Former UofL WBB player Sara Hammond was their assistant coach from 2017-2021. She's now married, living in Memphis and head coach at Lausanne Collegiate School, a college preparatory school in Memphis The Jeff Walz coaching tree continues to expand.
Union is no easy team to square off against, especially at the beginning of the year. The Bulldogs will keep the Cards on their toes tonight and should be an excellent game to watch.
There is no viewing option listed for this game, but you can tune into 790-AM WKRD to hear Nick Curran and Adrienne Johnson on the call.
Field Hockey Awards
The ACC Field Hockey Awards were recently announced and Louisville dominated the awards.
Justine Sowry was named ACC Coach of the Year after leading the Cards to a 16-2 overall record and a perfect 6-0 in ACC play.
Alli Bitting was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Bitting came back for a fifth season and was a crucial part of the defense that allowed 16 goals in 18 matches. The super senior also scored a pair of goals.
Mila de Kuijer was named ACC Freshman of the Year. After Sam Minrath was still recovering from what was described as health issues, de Kuijer was immediately thrust into the starting goalkeeper and was the only active keeper on the roster for much of the year. Her seven shutouts was the best of any keeper in the ACC.
Katie Schneider was named to the All-ACC Second Team while Julie Kouijzer and Aimee Plumb joined Bitting and de Kuijer on the All-ACC First Team.
Louisville earned the 1-seed in the ACC Tournament hosted by Syracuse. The Cards earned the sole first round bye. They will play the winner of 4-seed Boston College and 5-seed Virginia. On the other side of the bracket, 2-seed Syracuse and 7-seed Duke will play and 3-seed North Carolina and 6-seed Wake Forest will play.
The ACC Field Hockey Championship is scheduled for November 4, 5 and 7 at Syracuse’s J.S. Coyne Stadium. The quarterfinal games are scheduled for 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, Nov. 4, while the semifinals will be played on Friday, Nov. 5 at 1 and 3:30 p.m. The championship game is set for noon on November 7 on ACCN. Mike Corey (play-by-play) and Leah Secondo (analyst) will be on the call for all of the games of the championship.
I'm not great at filling out brackets, as we've all seen in the famous Cardinal Couple Basketball Pick Em, but if I were had to make a Pick Em, the favorites would win all the way up to the final game. However, with Syracuse playing host for the event and having the comfort of home field advantage, I fear the Cards may fall in the final.
BUT, if Louisville were to take another loss this year, I would much rather it be in the ACC Tournament and then they go on to win the NCAA Tournament. Ideally, the Cards win out and take both titles.
Happy Thursday and Go Cards!