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Saturday, October 15, 2022

Field Hockey and Volleyball Take Extra Time to Win -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Field Hockey Notches Season's First ACC Win

It took much longer than anyone expected for Louisville field hockey to get their first win of the season. I mean that both in terms of the season overall and last night's game. The Cards played a thriller against Duke that went all the way into a shootout. Louisville, wearing the pinkout jerseys (black with pink trim) that look so awesome, came from behind late in the game to tie it and force the extra play. While the loss pushed Duke to 1-4 in the ACC and 5-9 overall, the Blue Devils were still ranked 24th in the country coming into this one. That ACC field hockey is tough.

Louisville opened the match with the attack, earning five shots in the first half of the first quarter and taking two penalty corners. Both corners resulted in shots, but neither were on frame as one was blocked and the other missed wide. In between the two corners, Aimee Plumb worked her way into a good offensive position and forced back to back saves from the Duke goalie. The Blue Devils responded at the end of the corner, putting together a string of three shots over the final 93 seconds. Sasha Elliott was on hand for her first two saves of the night and the third was blocked.

The second quarter was more of the same. Louisville had three more penalty corners and four more shots. And yet, only the shot that led to the first penalty corner forced a save. Duke split the Louisville offense this time, instead of alternating completely. They earned a pair of back to back corners but were able to turn those into just one shot, which Elliott saved. After the half, Duke made a change at goalie. Just 89 seconds later, they put the new goalie in the position for a win. The goal came on a tapped in cross that Elliott was just unable to get to. Duke led 1-0. The Blue Devils earned a corner a couple of minutes later but there was nothing doing. Louisville returned the favor with two more penalty corners, but this time they couldn't even get a shot on both. Their only two shots of the quarter were the blocked efforts that initiated the corners. With six minutes left in the third, Duke earned a yellow card, giving Louisville a player advantage. They would go on to earn another with two and a half minutes remaining, giving Louisville plenty of opportunity to equalize, but they went to the fourth still trailing 1-0.

In that fourth quarter, Duke parked the bus. I was unable to watch the game, but given how the previous quarters went, the play-by-play makes it pretty clear what happened. 

45:00 Start of 4th Period
55:25 EMPTY NET at goalie for Louisville

Ten minutes of Duke having no intention of putting the ball into attack for fear that it would spread them too thin and Louisville would be able to get an offensive play. Similarly, Louisville couldn't get an attack going themselves because Duke was just crammed into the defensive third. Five minutes is a long time to play without a goalie, and there is every bit as good of a chance that the score will go to 2-0 as there is that it will go to 1-1. For a long time, it looked like this one was set to finish just as it had been. Louisville was unable to capitalize on a player advantage in the third, so it wasn't looking likely they'd be able to in the fourth. Just as the clock wound down and Duke thought they might escape with a huge road win, Louisville earned a penalty corner with twelve seconds remaining. Aimee Plumb put the ball into play, Kelsey McCrudden set it up, and Julie Kouijzer (who else on a clutch corner, really) fired it home to tie the game. Sasha Elliott returned to her post for the final six seconds, and the game headed to OT.

Louisville worked hard in those ten minutes to win the game outright. As a well conditioned team that likes to run up and down the field, the reduced player count in overtime gives Louisville a lot of space. They ultimately earned three shots in the period, but one was wide and the other two were saved. The second overtime saw a bit of a reversal of fortunes. Duke earned a pair of corners, and, while one was dealt with fairly easily, the other induced two shots. Sasha Elliott was there to save both, including the second from a familiar name on the wrong side of the score sheet. Charlie van Oirschot nearly ended the game for Duke in her first appearance in the play-by-play. It was a surprise to see her be so ineffective after starting and playing nearly the whole game, but there isn't too much to complain about as a Cardinal fan. Thus, the teams headed to the shootout.

Louisville found themselves in a bind quickly, after Izzy Bianco and Mattie Tabor both missed their stroke attempts and Hannah Miller split them with a make. Trailing 1-0 going into the fourth shooter, Louisville needed a stop or it was going to get even tougher. Sasha Elliott came to play for this one, knocking the ball away before the Duke attacker could even take her first shot. Katie Schneider stepped up and made it look easy, giving Elliott the chance to put Louisville back level entering the final two rounds. She did just that. 

Sitting at 1-1 through three rounds, things got weird. Kelsey McCrudden stepped up to take her shot. It was initially blocked, but McCrudden collected the rebound off the stick of the goalie and fired it home. The initial call was that it was a goal, but Duke argued it had been stopped. They had a point, as it had been, but the play hadn't been fully cleared away. The referees went in to review it. After awhile, they came out and said that there was no goal. This displeased Justine Sowry quite a bit, who sent them back in with a talking to. After another lengthy review, the initial review was overturned and the call returned to the one on the field: goal. Elliott stopped the next attempt from Duke without much drama, and Louisville found themselves with the chance to win on a goal or another stop. Emilia Kaczmarczyk was up this time, and she found the back of the cage to give the Cards the win. Or so everyone thought until it was challenged. Again, the referees took two attempts. This time, they upheld the call after the initial challenge, but still went to review again. Unlike the previous review, though, they didn't reverse themselves. The second review called the goal good and Louisville took the victory.

Louisville is back in action hosting Ball State tomorrow at 2PM. In the meantime, check out what Coach Justine Sowry and a couple of players had to say after the exciting win.

Volleyball Takes Care of VT in 4 Sets

The Hokies came in to the L&N Federal Credit Union Arena at 9-8 and just 2-4 in conference play. Everyone may have expected it to be a walk, but Louisville still needed to show up. It was an exciting night in the arena, with the promotions staff putting together a red and black "stripe out". It's a promotion that is growing in popularity, and Louisville got it right by providing the tee shirts rather than hoping people see it and wear the right color. Unlike a solid color out, where 70-80% participation gets the point across, a stripe out with such low participation would look like an oddly coincidental pattern tried to form.

Louisville came out a little flat in this one. After the teams traded the first ten points, VT took three straight to take an 8-5 lead. They weren't done, though, as they took another three after Louisville broke the run to push their lead to 11-6. A bit more back and forth moved the score to 13-8 before the Cards decided to wake up. Three kills from Claire Chaussee, two from Aiko Jones, and a solo block from Amaya Tillman later, Louisville found themselves back in front at 14-13. It was their first lead since 5-4, and it was short lived. VT won the next three points, but the Cards were undeterred. They rattled off four straight to regain the advantage, then took two more to give themselves a bit of a cushion at 20-17. The Hokies fought back, but Louisville had created just enough of a buffer to be comfortable, and they took the first set 25-21.

The second set looked like Louisville had figured it out and things could proceed as intended. After VT took advantage of another slow start to go up 6-4, Louisville broke out to take a 12-8 lead that they turned into a 19-11 advantage. The Cards didn't let up there, though, as they went on to win the set 25-13. After a 0.400 hitting percentage in the first marred by five errors, the Cards improved to 0.429 in the second. The real difference came defensively, as they pushed Virginia Tech down from 0.200 in the first set to just 0.100 in the second. Louisville appeared to be in control as the teams headed to the locker room, but they may have gotten just a tad too comfortable during halftime. 

The third saw the teams trade points early once more, and again VT made an intermediate run. This one put the Hokies ahead 12-9. No worries, right? Louisville had overcome later deficits than that already in this match. Unlike the previous sets, though, the Cards didn't respond with a big run of their own. VT kept turning the crank until Louisville saw themselves down 20-13. The Cards reacted accordingly, but it is always difficult to catch a team when they need fewer points to win a set than you do to tie them. Louisville brought it back to 18-23, but VT put themselves on a 6-point set point advantage. The Cards staved off two, but dropped the third set 25-20.

After losing the set, the urgency seemed to set in a bit. Louisville shouldn't be dropping sets to Virginia Tech, and the Hokies had been a thorn in their side all night. Better to dispatch of them quickly than to make things any more awkward as the evening went on. So the Cards did just that. The final score of the fourth set doesn't quite reflect it, as the Cards won 25-18, but the fourth was never particularly close. Almost every time they increased their lead, it was like setting a ratchet. They went up 5-2, then 8-3, then 12-5, and finally 19-10. Virginia Tech worked to close the gap a bit from there, but it was mostly academic. They won three points to make it 19-13, and then two to make it 20-15, but they wouldn't win their own service from there. After dipping to 0.267 and allowing 0.345 in the third, Louisville turned it back up with a 0.308 hitting percentage and forced seven errors from VT to hold them to just 0.118.

Louisville finished with 17 errors in the match. While the raw number is higher because the set count was greater, the errors per set value was also up last night. Louisville usually averages about three errors per set (typically one rough set and two really good ones). Last night, Louisville was consistent with 5, 3, 4, and 5 errors respectively. They still finished with a hitting percentage nearly double that of their opponent, but it wasn't the cleanest match. The blocking battle helped Louisville in this one, as they won 11-6. Despite a relatively muted serving game themselves, Louisville still won the service battle as well. The Cards were negative, four aces against seven errors, but VT had seven aces and twelve errors, giving Louisville an overall advantage of four in the category.

Offensively, Chaussee, Jones, and Tillman continued to lead the way in DeBeer's absence.  They had 18, 11, and 11 kills respectively, and Jones hit the lowest of the three with still a 0.333. Nena Mbonu joined them in double figures with 10 kills, but her 0.167 left a bit to be desired. Cara Cresse added some offense to her defense with six kills to go along with her single solo and three assisted blocks. Speaking of defense, Claire Chaussee found herself in the full rotation a bit last night, and she made the most of it by turning in a double-double. She added ten digs to her 18 kills and chimed in with a pair of assisted blocks. With two assists as well, she was just an ace away from putting a tally in every positive category. Tillman led the way at the net, adding six assisted blocks to her solo effort. She's a beast.

It's a short turnaround for the Cards, as most weekends are, as their late night Friday turns into a 1PM start on Sunday. Louisville hosts Wake Forest in this one, which will be on ACC Network Extra.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

After being out last week enjoying a birthday brunch with my wife, I'm back in the booth for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast. We should have a full house this week as the fall seasons wind down and Bats baseball is no longer drawing Daryl's attention. We'll talk about the victorious week that has been for the Cards and preview the upcoming matches. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

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Until next time, Go Cards!


1 comment:

  1. Wow, that Field Hockey match sounded really exciting! Glad Cards could pull off the win. I am going to get to one of those eventually, thanks for continuing to spur my "from afar" interest in the sport.

    We are back in Naples. Things not quite as bad as a neighbor led us to believe. Some shrubs and bushes gone but very little interior damage or water. David Watson is remaining in Gatlinburg in one of my cabins for awhile. They had a lot of their electrical appliances short out and his son and oldest daughter are meeting with the insurance adjusters.

    Thanks for checking up on me, Paulie and for the great reporting you all do here at Cardinal Couple.

    Take care!

    The Real Joe Hill


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