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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Guessing the Soccer Starting Lineup -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Paulie provided us with our first, and possibly last, Cardinal Couple quiz of the 2022 summer. We've been fortunate enough to have plenty to talk about this summer and now fall sports are just a few days away. 

That didn't stop me from pulling off a perfect score yesterday. As someone who doesn't follow recruiting heavily, the Nyla Harris question was a bit tricky. The visit to South Dakota for volleyball was another one that took me a minute. If you scored in that 40-60 range, I'll gladly take that lunch at the Melting Pot.


Women's soccer made an appearance with the bonus question. Our friends up I-71 are making a trip to Dr Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium and it will be the first time we can see the Cards in action, and we have plenty of questions on what this year's team will look like.

Karen Ferguson-Dayes is a defensive minded coach so we have seen plenty of defensive formations in the past. Most commonly, the Cards have run the 4-4-2 formation, opting not to go with the 4-3-3 look that has been popularized in the United States.

What are these numbers I mentioned? These are formations that you have. Up to 11 players can be on the field at a time typically consisting of a goalkeeper plus a mixture of defenders, midfielders, and forwards/attackers.

The goalkeeper is not included in the number scheme as the keeper is assumed to already be there. The first number (usually a four) states the number of defenders. The second number (also most commonly a four) states the number of midfielders. The final number lists the number of forwards.

So who will we see in that starting formation? We'll work our way from the back to the front.


This is the first time we've seen an opening at goalkeeper in over half a decade. Olivia Pratapas is the only Louisville letter-winner on the current keepers list. She's still recovering from surgery in the offseason and probably won't be 100% by this weekend. That leaves Erynn Floyd, a true freshman, and Alyssa Zalac, a redshirt freshman, available. Due to the COVID-19 season and a true redshirt season last year, Zalac has seen two full academic years already. Based on her collegiate experience alone, I anticipate her getting the start.


The most sound position group for Louisville is defense. Sarah Hernandez and Maisie Whitsett have handled the middle of the defense (centerback) together for quite some time and the duo both are in a fifth year option. They should have the two centerback spots locked up tight. The outside corners on defense, sometimes referred to as fullbacks or defensive wingbacks, could potentially provide experience too. Ravin Alexander is a senior and has commanded one of those positions the last two years and should retain it. Brooke Dardano saw plenty of action as the other defensive wing as a freshman and should be a front runner for that position again this year. Louisville runs a style where the defensive wings will play way up on offense.


The midfield is a bit trickier and is arguably the toughest position group to play in due to its high demand for cardio training as well as physicality. Midfielders can also have different responsibilities such as defensive midfield, offensive midfield, and sometimes playing a midfielder wing. Anouk Denton was a standout freshman at midfield last year and should hold more of a defensive midfielder position. Hayley Howard spent plenty of time in the midfield and should sit on the defensive side. Morgan Bentley has established herself as another strong midfielder and will play more on the offensive side. Savina Zamborini bounced back and forth as a forward and midfielder. I think she'll pull back and play more of an offensive midfield position this year.


That brings us to our group of forwards and attackers. Louisville doesn't play much of a style that features a true striker. Brooklynn Rivers would be the closest player we've seen to a striker in the last few years. After a strong back half of the season and several players ahead of her from last season gone, Emma Hiscock should be a frontrunner for a forward position. She was more of a right side attacker last year, but could potentially slide over depending who she's paired with.

I'd love to say Corinne Dente gets the start in the other spot, but after tearing an ACL, she tore her other ACL during the recovery process, which has now been over a year. Still, recovering from ACL tears in both legs at the same time is a tall task to ask. I see Dente playing more of a substitution role. Patricia Ward joins the Cards after four years with Minnesota, where she started 55 matches in her career and subbed in in another 10. Also being a track star in high school, Ward appears to have breakaway speed and has the potential to make an immediate impact on offense.

Note: These are just my guesses at who will get the start for the Cards this year. I haven't seen film or practice highlights on the incoming transfers or freshmen, so some of them could step up and be a bit of a surprise.

I'll also let Case come through to tear apart my thoughts on the formations and relaxed usage of position terminology as he will more than likely be able to provide a much more accurate and in depth prediction and expectation of the season.

Paulie should be at Friday's match in the press box hanging out with the new SID for women's soccer Matt Paras. Matt will also oversee women's basketball. I'll be out on the field with my camera taking selfies and catching the other Cardinal Couple members in the crowd. Both Case and Jeff mentioned that they have plans to be in attendance- women's soccer is free admission after all- this Friday. We haven't heard from Daryl yet on if she will be able to make it, but it would be awesome to have a full house to start the 2022-2023 Louisville sports season!

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!

1 comment:

  1. Will WSOC break .500 and get back to the NCAA Tournament?. Having a new-to-ACC goalkeeper makes it rough, although the defensive line in front of goalie looks very solid, experienced and capable. I get it, Ferguson-Dayes plays a defensive style of soccer, but scoring looks hard to come by, based on what Jared says.

    Nick O


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