2022-23 WBB CARDS HAVE TALENT, HEIGHT AND SCORING
It all gets underway next Monday for this 2022-23 Louisville WBB squad. They've had their media day, they'll have their annual luncheon this Tuesday and they'll play their first game of a (at least) 32 game schedule against the Cincinnati Bearcats on next Monday at the KFC YUM! Center.
There are a lot of questions out there about this squad. One that gets repeated probably the most is "is this the year that Louisville wins it all?" And...I'd love to jump in a magical time machine and fast forward to Sunday, April 2nd and see which two teams are squaring off in Dallas at American Airlines Arena for the title.
Some things that will make Louisville a contender for the title? I'll give you my top five things that I think will be helpful in building any Final Four run and appearance.
1) The Cards have scorers. It's an old joke, but Jeff Walz will tell you about the players that approach him and tell him they are shooters. And, he tells them shooters are fine, but he prefers makers. This team has makers. Let's start with Hailey Van Lith and Olivia Cochran. Let's add new-to-the-roster Chrislyn Carr, Morgan Jones and Josie Williams. And we can't forget about Payton Verhulst, Liz Dixon, Norika Konno and three freshmen that come in with impeccable high-school resumes (yes, just three) since Imani Lester will red-shirt and Alexia Mobley is recovering from a foot injury. And scoring solves a lot of ills.
2) Louisville WBB has height. Two 6'5" posts in Liz Dixon and Josie Williams. Cochran is 6'3" Louisville has four more players at 6'2". Height is a plus when it comes to rebounding. Altering and blocking shots numbers go up when you have decent height.
3) Experience is also quite prevalent on the Cardinal squad. Five graduate players and one senior. A strong junior class with Van Lith, Cochran and Russell. Players who "have been there, done this or that and won't get rattled". Road crowds can get hectic and loud. They can rattle the less-experienced student-athlete. The self-confidence and mind set of coming in to concentrate on running plays and playing defense.
4) Commitment. Being part of a all-for-one, one-for-all" mind set and philosophy. Ask the players on the team. They are committed to returning to the Final Four and winning two more game in it than last year. The new players want that magical ride also. They also know that commitment means doing the work in practice, doing it the right way and doing it as a unit.
5) Luck. You have to have a little luck on the road to the Final Four as well, The opponents' shots that bounce off the rim into your hands. A star opponent not having a great game. You "shooting the lights out" early in a contest and burying an opponent. Some say that you create your own luck. Maybe so, but a bit of unexpected good luck can be very beneficial.
Jeff Walz has a slide now that leads from his office on the second floor to the Cards WBB practice court. Besides Lola and Lucy probably loving it to death, Coach says it gets him to practice in a hurry. i wouldn't be surprised if a prankster or two has (or has had) some fun with that already, or as the season progresses. I think a small swimming pool of red jello at the bottom would make for some great fun. I told a few unsuspecting people that the start of the slide was underneath the chair where media sit to interview Walz. If he's unhappy with the questions, he pushes a button and off you go. Can The Cards slide into a Final Four? We'll see.
Here's hoping for a fun and entertaining season. Never underestimate how important you are as fan, either. Those swelling roars of approval and thunderous applause are a spark for your team and a hindrance to the opponent.
ACC FIELD HOCKEY TOURNAMENT BRACKET SET
Louisville Field Hockey is the #6 seed in the ACC FH Tournament and will face #3 seed Virginia in quarterfinal action. The Cards play at 6 p.m. and it'll be shown on the ACC Network.
UNC is the #1 seed and gets the quarterfinals "bye". #4 seed Boston College and #5 seed Syracuse meet each other at 1 p.m., #7 seed (and tournament host) Duke draws #2 seed Wake Forest and they'll take the pitch at 3:30 p/m. Per usual, the game times are approximations...although it might be interesting and amusing to see officials and security take the field at 3:29 Tuesday and force stop the Duke vs Wake match, if it's still going on.
For the record, the Cards did lose to Virginia at Virginia (Charlottesville) on 9/30/22 in regular season play by a final score of 2-0. Let's hope our Cards do better tomorrow. I expect Jared will have more on the Tournament in his column tomorrow (if we can get him away from taking selfies with anything that moves on the Belknap Campus or the playing facilities thereof).
(Jeff Walz from 2018 luncheon)
The Louisville WBB Tip-Off luncheon is at the Galt House tomorrow, beginning at noon. Always a fun affair and great to see the team in a relaxed setting. I*'ve gotten some pretty good interviews in the past from there -- I'll miss the yearly one I've done with Sam Purcell ever since he arrived on campus -- but, maybe it's time to start a new tradition.
Doors open at 11;30 AM and lunch is at noon. Hope to see you there !