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Sunday, January 1, 2023

New Year "Resolutions" - Sunday Cardinal Couple

 New Year, New Goals

It's day one of the year twenty twenty-three, a time traditionally thought of as part of a renewal of goals, and a chance to take a step forward.  So let's take a look at some potential resolutions and goals around some of our favorite sports teams.

In no particular order...

Swimming and Diving

Louisville has a solid history at this point with solid Butterfly swimmers, and the current squad continues that tradition.  Also, you know, people with the last name of Albiero seem to do pretty well, so there's that, too.  Gabi Albiero continues both of those traditions, swimming Freestyle in addition to Fly.  She finished her sophomore year last year with good finishes in NCAA championship action, and certainly will be looking to improve on those finishes this year.  I wouldn't be surprised to see her set a goal of at least making the podium at the end of the year in one or more of her events.

The Cards don't have much of a history of success in diving, but Else Praasterink looks to start to change that.  Praasterink finished in the top 10 at the NCAA championships on the platform event, and much like Albiero, will likely be looking to get on the awards platform this year.

As a team, UofL Swim and Dive has hovered around the middle to upper single digit rankings quite a bit over the past few years.  I'm sure Coach Arthur Albiero would love to see the overall team efforts step up into the higher rankings.

Field Hockey

It has to be said that Field Hockey had a little bit of a disappointing year this year - at least relative to the standard that has been set by UofL Field Hockey teams since joining the Field Hockey power conference that is the ACC.

I think Coach Sowry keeps this one simple.  A return to the 2021 level of performance.  Just to remind you, that's a 16-4 overall record, and a 6-0 conference sweep.  I know, that ends up being a big resolution, but this program has shown that it can do big things. 


Of course, basketball is right smack in the middle of their season, having just really started conference play.  Again, a program that has shown that it can compete, routinely, at the top levels of the sport, and coming off of a final four appearance last year, I think the resolution for Coach Walz and the squad is to achieve the program's first ever back-to-back Final Four appearances.

(You knew we couldn't start  a new year without a Jared selfie)

The program has made it to the Final Four four years now, in 2009, 2013, 2018, and 2021, continuing the impressive accomplishment of all players who have played at least their four years of eligibility with Coach Walz and the Cardinals have made an appearance at the Final Four.  A National Championship is always the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and while certainly no one is going to be dissatisfied with "only" another Final Four appearance, getting the big trophy is the ultimate goal, here.  We'll borrow that old Howard Schnellenberger prophecy  "The only variable is time." and apply it to the residents on the left side of the Kueber Center.


I always enjoy my visits to Ulmer Stadium on Floyd Street, particularly as the weather warms and you can enjoy the fresh air looking out over a brown infield and green outfield.  And let's shout out the amazing facilities folks at UofL for always keeping our playing venues in great shape.  That's across the board, but maybe never more visible and apparent than at Ulmer.

Coach Aprile's squad has struggled some over the past few years, though to be fair, at least last year they got hit hard by injuries.  The team looks to be back and fully healthy now, with a lot of talent on the squad and available.  Taylor Roby returns her amazing talents both in the circle and in the batter's box.  On the pitching side of that equation, the staff looks ready to back her up better this year.  Sam Booe led the squad in the fall exhibition season with 14 Ks in 13 innings, Taja Felder sat down 10 in seven innings of pitching.  Freshman Cassie Grizzard started in the circle twice, both wins with no hits on her watch, and struck out 12 batters in 11.2 innings.

So what's the goal for the team this year?  I don't think anyone is expecting a national championship, but of course, you always do your best and...well, you never know, right?  But let's shoot for being above .500 in conference (10-14 last year), at least 30 wins overall (27-25 last year), and let's get back into the NCAA tournament.  I think those are reasonable goals to show some improvement.


Volleyball...I mean, there's really only one thing that anyone can really look at to improve on the past few years.  Years that saw the program's first even elite eight appearance in 2019, the first ever final four appearance in 2021, the program's first ever national championship appearance in 2022, and an undefeated regular season in 2021.

So let's put it out there, the only real goal left for advancement of this program is to win it all, to get the National Championship trophy.  Coach Walz will point out that, regardless of the talent and effort a team puts into their play, there is always an element of luck to it.  We will acknowledge that, and a back-to-back-to-back final four appearance would be a joyous outcome to the 2023 season, but the goal at this point, and I think it's quite achievable with the team we have returning and new players coming in, is to win that National Championship.  I'll repeat it here, "The only variable is time."

What do you want to see with various programs for goals for 2023?  Sound off in the comments.

Basketball Gameday

It's a New Year's Gameday for WBB, with the squad taking on Duke in Durham, NC.  With a noon tip, let's hope the squad doesn't party too hard for New Years.

Kara Lawson leads the Blue Devils, she of "Handle Hard Better", which, to be fair, is a good slogan and approach to life.  Let's see how it translates on the hardware at Cameron, though.

The Blue Devils are 12-1 overall and 2-0 so far in the young conference schedule.  Their only loss is against a then 3rd ranked UConn in late November, which, no shame there.  UConn has, of course, been decimated by injuries this season, but on November 25th still had more to experience.

Both Louisville and Duke are at the top of the "Receiving Votes" section of the AP rankings, with Louisville just ahead of Duke, gaining 19 points from the press vs Duke's 18.  So that probably makes this game a game to see who gets to step up into the Top 25 rankings tomorrow, and who continues to hover just out of the list.

Duke is coming off of a big upset win over number six NC State that was in Raleigh, so they have already taken a step towards that ranking.

Two players score at double-digit clips for Duke, Celeste Taylor at 12.2, and former Card Elizabeth Balogun at 10.2.  Kennedy Brown falls just short of that mark with 9.2, but is definitely a threat in the post at 6'6".

TV for this one is listed as the dreaded "RSN", so may the luck be ever in your favor finding a way to watch this one.  Bally Sports South seems to be the source here in the Ville if you have Cable and Spectrum. Paulie confirms it is on his Spectrum Guide on Channel 70. at noon. (Results may vary). Of course, you always have Nick and Cortnee to listen to on 93.9 FM The Ville, which is always a great experience if you can't get video.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

No CCRHP this week as the gang prepared for New Years celebrations and Paulie declared it a "day off" since we podcasted on Christmas Eve.  We should be back next week with a fresh Youtube 2023 CCRHP playlist as well.

-- JMcA

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