We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Softball Clinches Series - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Second Softball Run-Rule Clinches Series Win

(Photos, as is typical, by Jared Anderson)

OK, let's be honest, Boston College is hardly the creme of the ACC crop when it comes to softball.  In fact, they're tied with Pitt for last place in the league.

(Seniors being honored for Senior Day.)
But the Cards have clinched the series for the weekend already with a pair of run-rule wins over BC and Ulmer field.  Yesterday's win was an 8-0 shutout with a walk off two run homer in the 5th, so it was definitely a win with some style points.

The squad celebrated Senior Day yesterday, doing it on the second to last home game rather than the last as some family members needed to return home today, meaning they would have missed out on the celebrations if they had been held today.  The honored seniors were a student manager Sean Mac Williams and a graduate manager, as well as player alumna, Kendall Smith.  Players honored were Elana Ornelas, Makayla Hurst, Hannah File, Taja Felder, and of course, Taylor Roby.

(Head Coach Holly Aprile happy with the
performance of her team.  Korbe Otis on 3rd.)
We saw two pitchers in this one, fittingly for Senior Day, Taylor Roby and Taja Felder, with Roby getting the start.

The offense started a little slow, but picked up momentum as the game went along.  After a blank first inning, Sarah Gordon led off the 2nd, and did so with a plonk off the scoreboard to open up the scoring.  UofL was able to get some other runners on the bases, but nothing productive came from them, including a picked off attempt to steal second base, which is unusual for this speedy UofL team.

(Daisy Hess with the sure-handed catch at
The Cards immediately gave up two outs to start the 3rd inning, but then got a bit of offense going.  Roby singled out to left field.  She then advanced to second on a Sarah Gordon at-bat.  Gordon got on first thanks to an error.  At that point, Mia Forsythe entered to pinch run for Roby.  Daisy Hess then also singled to left field, scoring Forsythe.  The score was 2-0 after three innings.

The offense really got rolling in the 4th inning.  Makayla Hurst, playing as designated player in the game, drew a walk.  She was then replaced on the basepaths by Pickle Winkler.  This was the second time Pickle came in to run for Hurst, which meant that Hurst would not be to re-enter again.  This will become important later.  Pickle advanced to second on a sacrifice by Elana Ornelas, and to third when Paige Geraghty reached on an error.  Runners on the corners, so of course Geraghty stole second.  An attempt to steal second when it's open is a virtual guarantee with this Cards team.  Korbe Otis then ripped a shot out to left field for a single, and got second when the fielder bobbled the ball.  She scored Pickle, and Geraghty in the process, pushing the lead to 4-0.

(Taylor Roby in mid pitch.  Easton Lotus playing
2nd in the background.)
Otis then scored when Easton Lotus singled, Taylor Roby singled moving Lotus to second.  Then Sarah Gordon came to the plate and had an big battle with the Eagle's pitcher...finally hitting a single to center field on the 9th pitch of the at-bat.  Lotus was able to make it home, Roby to third, and Gordon advanced to second on the throw.  That pushed the score to 6-0.

A bit of interest at the end of the inning, however, after a Daisy Hess walk, the next batter up would have been Pickle Winkler, but Holly Aprile threw everyone a curve ball by entering Taja Felder to hit.

 Folks,  Felder has been an important part of this team, but on offense?  Yeah, she's not been a factor there.  In fact, this was her first at-bat of the season!  This is also where the Hurst bit comes in to play.  This batting spot had been Hurst's for most of the game as DP batting place of Pickle who was playing right field, but Hurst was not able to re-enter after the pinch running.  It's still an interesting choice of batting options as, for example, Maddy Grant was still available to pinch hit. Felder had a look of what could be considered bemusement at the plate and she struck out to end the inning. 

(Easton Lotus sliding in to home).
Felder remained in the lineup in the top of the 5th, moving into the circle to pitch what would prove to be the final inning.  Felder would find herself in a bit of a jam with a pair of walks and a single for BC, but she was able to get a strikeout and a ground out to get out of it.  Would she remain in the 6th inning was the pressing question, that turned out to be moot.

In the bottom of the 5th, with one out, Paige Geraghty singled, turning the line-up over to the top of the line-up.  Korbe Otis decided she would end the game in style with a walk-off home run to center, scoring Geraghty, and trigging the run rule with the eight run lead after five innings.

(Korbe Otis walks it off, with Hannah File ready to
celebrate in the foreground.)
Boston College and UofL will, weather permitting, finish the series today with a noon start.  There's a small chance of rain at that time that ramps up to about a coin flip chance at 2pm, so an on-time start, and quick play may be necessary to get this one complete.  The stream should be available on ACC Network Extra.

Let's hope that goes better to play than yesterday where the game was supposed to start on ACCNX, thanks to the GT vs UNC game running long, but never actually showed up on the streaming service for some unspecified reason at the four letter channel company.  So if you tried to tune in yesterday and couldn't find it anywhere, it wasn't just you, the feed was being sent from Ulmer, but somewhere up in Connecticut, the wires got crossed.  The game did, of course, show up on ACC Network linear once GT finished off the win over UNC, but it never did show up live on the streaming side of things.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

(Can you name the former Cardinals WBB player on the right side of this photo?)

Case, Jared, Paulie, and myself made the call yesterday for the CCRHP.  We tried to stay on the positive side of things, but we did talk HVL's transfer to LSU, which did put a bit of a downer on part of the show.  We started off with Softball, though, and that has certainly brought some joy and excitement in the past couple of weeks.

As always, you can find it at your favorite podcast directory, with a direct link to the Spotify, former, site at:

-- JMcA

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Cards Thump BC to Open Weekend -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Homers and Small Ball Lift Cards to Run Rule

In the opening game of Louisville's home finale weekend, the Cards gave fans something to be excited about as they send off their seniors. Despite an early run by Boston College and a slow start offensively for Louisville, the Cards used a big fifth inning to take control of the game and earned a walk-off run rule an inning later. When all was said and done, Louisville had earned their seventh straight win with a 10-2 victory.

BC opened the scoring in the top of the first when the first five batters were able to put the bat on the ball against Alyssa Zabala. The first two both singled, and the next three grounded out. Unfortunately, those ground outs were productive, moving the runners in both of the first two instances to bring around the leadoff hitter to score. Zabala stranded the runner at third and turned the ball over to her counterpart in the circle. Louisville was also seeing the ball well early. A hard liner by Korbe Otis was caught at short, but Easton Lotus reached base on a walk. After Taylor Roby fouled out, Sarah Gordon also walked. Daisy Hess broke the trend of odd-positioned players in the order getting out and sent a double to right to score Lotus. The Cards left two in scoring position, but they tied the game 1-1.

Zabala settled in a bit, finally getting an out that didn't depend on the defense with a strikeout for the second out of the second inning. A single opened the inning, but the strikeout split a pair of groundouts for no damage. Vanessa Miller opened the bottom half of the inning with a four-pitch walk and Paige Geraghty singled two batters later to put a pair on. A wild pitch to Otis put two runners in scoring position, but she would ultimately strike out. Lotus grounded out to end the inning and leave both runners on.

The ground balls continued for Zabala until they didn't. After two more ground outs opened the third, a BC batter finally got under the ball instead of on top of it. Hannah Slike, the three-spot hitter for the Eagles, got ahold of a 1-0 pitch to send a home run over the left field wall. It was her seventh home run of the season, leading the team. A pop-out ended the top half with BC back on top by a run, 2-1. Their lead didn't last long. Taylor Roby opened the bottom half of the third with a solo shot of her own to level the game back at 2. Like Slike, Roby is Louisville's leader in home runs. Unlike Slike, Roby is also the NCAA leader in home runs. The third inning blast was her 20th of the year. The homer rattled the BC pitcher a bit, as Louisville followed it up with a walk and two singles. The second, by Hannah File, scored Gordon from second to give Louisville its first lead. Louisville went on to load the bases with one out after a strikeout, a steal, and an intentional walk. Unfortunately, a liner straight to third ended the inning when the third baseman caught it and stepped on the bag for the double-play. Louisville led 3-2. They would not yield that lead.

The fourth was relatively uneventful, with both teams getting a runner on base without the benefit of a hit. BC got a hit by pitch to split two strikeouts and Roby was pitched around to earn a walk for Louisville. BC threatened a bit in the fifth, with a single and a walk putting two runners on. Slike was unable to capitalize, though, and she grounded into a double play. 

The Cards then went to work. Daisy Hess earned a nine-pitch walk to open the inning. Needing many fewer pitches than that, Hannah File sent her tenth homer of the year over the wall on the second pitch of her at-bat to score two. Maddi Grant pinch hit for Miller, but her time in the game was short lived after she walked and Miller immediately replaced her back on the base paths. Ally Alexander bunted Miller over, and Makayla Hurst also earned a pinch hit walk, this time for Geraghty. Just like Grant, Hurst was replaced at first right away. Korbe Otis stepped up with runners on first and second and singled to center. The hit was deep enough for Miller to score, and the ensuing throw by the center fielder was off-line. Geraghty scored on the throw and Otis advanced to second. Easton Lotus hit a full-count triple to right to score Otis, and the success of batters ahead gave Roby big eyes. She was first pitch swinging for the fences but was rewarded with just a pop out. Gordon knocked a two-out double to score Lotus and the Cards officially batted around in the inning. They'd go no farther than Hess, though, as she flew out to center to end the inning. With a two-run home run and three more RBI hits, Louisville left the inning leading 9-2. One more would have ended the game, but the teams played on.

Sam Booe entered for Zabala in the top of the sixth and made short work of the Eagles. Despite needing 11 pitches to force a foul out from the leadoff batter, Booe got a one-pitch ground out and a three-pitch foul out to end the inning 1-2-3. File opened the bottom half for Louisville with a single. She was obviously in pain at first, with a nagging injury suffered at Virginia coming back to haunt her late in this one, and asked to be removed. Elana Ornelas was brought on to pinch run, and she advanced to second after Miller was hit by a pitch. Ally Alexander swatted a full-count single into left field and Ornelas came around for the walk-off run. Final score: 10-2.

Ornelas's entry in the sixth meant every senior being honored this weekend appeared in this one with the exception of Taja Felder. It's a little surprising to see her not get a nod in the circle with Louisville so far ahead, but we will see what the rest of the weekend brings. Hurst earned the pinch hit walk, and Roby and File both homered. While Roby's day was a bit light, the solo home run being joined only by a walk, File had a big afternoon. Her home run was part of a 3-4 day with three RBIs. Hopefully she's able to return to the field without pain from that leg injury.

Sarah Gordon isn't a senior, but she also found herself being honored this week. Gordon was named to the Top-25 List for the National Freshman of the Year award. Two more cut downs will happen with a Top Ten announced on May 11th and three finalists named on May 25th. The winner will be announced on May 30th in Oklahoma City ahead of the WCWS. Gordon joins Megan Hensley and Maryssa Becker as players to have been named to the list. No Cardinal has won the award. Gordon is second on the team in batting average with a .404 (Otis: .411) and RBI with 42 (Roby: 51). She's also tied for third with Otis in home runs with eight, trailing Roby's 20 and File's 10. She's one of four Cardinals with an OPS over 1.000, sitting at third with a 1.122. Joining her are Roby (1.357), Otis (1.205), and File (1.094). She has started all 47 games as a freshman.

Leading up to this series, I talked quite a bit about how these were must win games. Louisville didn't start it out very convincingly, but they ultimately picked up their seventh straight win and their tenth run-rule victory of the year. They've edged ahead of Duke into 3rd in the ACC on winning percentage. One more win would put the Cards out of reach of Virginia Tech or UNC for fourth in the conference, which would be a great result for Louisville. I think it's fair to say our expectations remain higher, though. That said, assuming Duke wins their last two against Pitt, Louisville would need to complete the sweep this weekend and sweep the Seminoles in Tallahassee next weekend to finish third in the league. Such a performance would give them a chance to win the ACC, which would be quite the coup. I'll settle for completing the sweep this weekend and letting the chips fall where they may next weekend.

The series against Boston College continues today at 2PM. The game will be on ACC Network proper. Let's hope the weather cooperates for the teams, with some light rain in the forecast.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

After taking last week off, we're back with a show this weekend. There will be four of us on as we recap the last couple of weeks for Louisville spring sports. Despite some interesting sound bites of late, we'll stay on brand and bring you the joy and excitement of UofL women's athletics. 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!

Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
RadioPublic: Link
Spotify: Link

Until next time, Go Cards!


Photos by Jared Anderson

Friday, April 28, 2023

Softball Hosts Senior Weekend -- HVL to LSU -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

We have finally reached the beginning of the weekend! The weekend brings several UofL sporting events on the women's side. Track and Field and Softball. We'll look at Softball today, plus news on a former WBB player here at the Ville. 

Softball Hosts Boston College for Senior Weekend

Louisville softball will play at Ulmer Stadium for the final time this season with a three-game series against Boston College this weekend. The Cards are set to play at 6:00 Friday, 2:00 Saturday, and 12:00 Sunday.

The Cards enter the weekend 32-14. Their 13-4 conference record places them third in the ACC.

For Louisville, five seniors will be recognized on Senior Day, which will be held before Saturday's game. Taylor Roby (pitcher), Hannah File (first base), Makayla Hurst (pinch hitter), Taja Felder (pitcher), and Elana Ornelas (third base) will be recognized.

Boston College comes into the weekend 21-25 on the year. The Eagles have had a down year and have struggled both offensively and defensively. 

Nicole Giery powers the way with a .307 batting average, the only player on the BC roster above .300. As a whole, Boston College averages .239 at the plate. Giery and Hannah Slike are both above 40 hits on the year at 46 and 41, respectively.

Abby Dunning and Susannah Anderson have split the bulk of the work in the circle. The former carries a 3.60 ERA and a team-high 10 wins while the later has a 5.43 ERA and seven wins. Dunning has struck out 134 batters..

The Cards lead the series 10-6. Tonight's game will be on ACCNX.

Hailey Van Lith Commits to LSU

Former Louisville guard Hailey Van Lith announced her commitment to LSU. After spending three seasons with Louisville that featured a pair of Elite Eight appearances and a Final Four, Van Lith will utilize her final two years of eligibility with the Tigers. She is part of the last class to be allotted an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19.

Fans and media had mixed responses to the announcement of her leaving Louisville and then finding out yesterday's news. I'm a bit on the disappointed side of how everything transpired, but have turned my attention back to Louisville in excitement for next season.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast Resumes

After taking Thunder Over Louisville Saturday off, we will be back with the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. While Daryl will be unavailable, it sounds promising to have Paulie, Jeff, Case, and myself ready to go.

We will be taking next Saturday, May 6, off. It has been traditional for us to take a break from the former radio and current podcast off in celebration of the Kentucky Derby.

Happy Friday and Go Cards!

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Softball Rankings and Records -- Carmen Griffiths to NCAAs -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Happy Thursday, folks! We inch closer to the weekend and we are almost to the point of the final women's sports with home events. Louisville softball and Louisville track and field have their final home events this weekend and then campus will go quiet for the summer for women's sports.

Softball Chasing Rankings and Records

Louisville softball has had its best season in years and arguably its best season in the Holly Aprile era. At 32-14, Louisville needs just three more wins to match their 35-win season from 2019. The last time Louisville broke 35 wins in a season before that was 2016.

Louisville, from an offensive standpoint, has been one of the best in the country. A couple individual players rank highly in various categories and the team as a whole ranks in a few.

Taylor Roby

Super-senior Taylor Roby has written herself in the Louisville record books and is trying to write herself into the NCAA record books. Roby is now the Louisville "Home Run Queen" by owning both the single-season and career records for home runs.

Roby is currently tied for first in the NCAA with 19 home runs. Her .858 slugging percentage is 13th in the country. Her 50 RBIs ranks 16th. 

Korbe Otis

Sophomore star Korbe Otis is already turning heads. In Louisville's 46 games, she has reached base safely via walk or hit in 43 of them.

Otis' seven triples places her third in the country, just two behind the leader. The center fielder scores on average of 1.22 runs per game, sixth best in the NCAA. Otis has 61 hits on the year, ranking 18th in the country. Her .508 on base percentage is 29th. Her .415 batting average ranks 38th.


Many thanks to Korbe Otis, Louisville has 18 triples this season. That mark is fourth best in the country and the top of all Power Five schools. As a whole, Louisville boasts a .323 batting average, which is 13th best in the country. Their .410 on base percentage is 15th. Louisville has a .518 slugging percentage, placing them 20th in the country,. The Cards average 5.96 runs scored per game, placing them 26th in the NCAA. 

Most bracketology polls have Louisville in the NCAA Tournament as either the 2-seed or 3-seed in a Regional. A series win against Boston College this weekend can only help improve their positioning. Pending the results against BC and how Duke fares against Pitt this weekend, Louisville can lock in the 3-seed in the ACC Tournament. The top 10 teams in the 13-team softball conference qualify for the ACC Tournament May 10-13.

Carmen Griffiths to Compete at NCAA Regionals

Carmen Griffiths has been selected as an individual to compete at the NCAA Regionals for Louisville women's golf. She will compete in the Westfield Regional in Westfield, Indiana from May 8-10.

Griffiths averaged a single round score of 72.8 this season for the Cards. Her best finish this season was a -8.

Each NCAA Regional site hosts 12 teams and six individuals on teams that were not selected for the tournament. While Louisville did not make the tournament as a team, Griffiths will be able to represent Louisville.

Happy Thursday and Go Cards!


Wednesday, April 26, 2023

UConn Series Announced for WBb

How About a Four Year Series with UConn?

UConn's Head women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma famously joked about Jeff Walz's attire, a red checkerboard shirt and that it resembled the tablecloths at his Italian restaurant.  Which one?  Good question, as he owns, or at least co-owns several.

Of course that was back in the days when the only way Louisville would get to play UConn was to advance against all expectations the national championship game.  Would UConn deign to schedule a regular season game with lowly Louisville?  Hah, of course not.

My how the turn tables.

UConn, it could be argued, is suffering a touch from their conference affiliation in the American Conference, while Louisville's WBB stock in general has soared, putting the Cardinals in routine discussion as one of the top teams in the country.

And now the two teams have agreed to a four year series of games starting this winter, sending the signal that Louisville has reached a level of respectability that puts them on the radar of UConn as a desired, and competitive team.

Let's not be too harsh on the UConn fortunes, no one is anywhere close to claiming they're a has-been of team.  They finished the season with a 9th ranking, above UofL's final poll spot of 14 in the coaches poll this past season.  UConn is still a very fine team, and Auriemma still a very fine coach.  The all time record between the two squads is still heavily slanted towards UConn at 3-18.

The series will alternate between home locations, starting in Connecticut on Dec. 16th.  Will it be in Storrs or Hartford?  That's a good question, but of course there are going to be lots of questions with this matchup, including how healthy the UConn squad will be after having battled lots of injuries in recent years.  Of course, the UofL roster is all but full of question marks at this point.  Names are starting to be slotted into place, but who knows what this team will look like, and play like, in December.

Expect this to be a hyped game, both teams have built a reputation over the years, more years in UConn's case, but enough in our case as well, of year in and year out putting a solid team together that you don't want to sleep on.  UConn is a favorite of the four letter network, so the games there are likely to be picked up on one of the linear channels, while the games here in Louisville are all but guaranteed to at least be on the ACC Network Extra.

All in all, this is a great announcement, heralding a regular series between two teams that can be counted on to play high level and competitive ball.  Call it a win-win-win.  It's a win for both teams to get the opportunity to play against the expected high level competition, and it's also a win for the sport of women's basketball to put on events that are sure to draw large viewerships.

-- JMcA

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

SB enters D1 Top25 rankings -- WBB for Team USA -- Finals Week -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Good Tuesday morning readers,

On today's edition of the Cardinal Coverage carousel, it's Daryl checking in with you early this week.  I will be out of town this weekend so we switched up the lineup. 

It's Finals Week on campus, so it's quiet on the sports calendar, and students and athletes have their heads in their studies. Good luck to everyone and happy studying!  Graduation commencement for the University of Louisville will be held Saturday, May 13, 2023. Some other programs around the commonwealth are actually holding their graduations on Derby Day, which is wild.  


The Cardinals have entered the chat for a spot in the Top25 D1 rankings. The up-trending Cards come in at the #25 Louisville spot just one spot away from displacing down-trending #24 UK as the best in the Bluegrass State.

Jared and I were thinking the last time the Cards got close to sniffing the Top25 in any poll was back in 2019... but if so, it was a brief appearance. While Louisville did earn a ranking in multiple polls in 2019, the Cards began the 2020 season at #18 in the College Sports Madness rankings. College Sports Madness current has the Cardinals at #24, ahead of unranked Kentucky.

Top25 Notes
  • Oklahoma remains at #1 in the land boasting a 42-1 record. 

  • Including UofL, there are 4 teams from the ACC represented in the poll, three in the Top10: #4 Florida State, #6 Clemson, and #9 Duke.

  • UofL is set to face Boston College this weekend at Ulmer Stadium Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with possible chance of storms in the area effecting gametimes.


The UofL women’s basketball team will represent Team USA in a four-game international tournament in Canada this summer.

The program announced that it accepted an invitation to participate in the 2023 Global Jam Tournament to be played in Toronto from July 12-16. The Cardinals will participate against three other national teams from Canada, Puerto Rico, and Africa. VCU was the U.S. representative last year and won the tournament. The Cards' Merissah Russell played in the event for the Canadian team. We have to believe she will be playing for the Cardinals in the 2023 event...

The event will provide head coach Jeff Walz a chance to gain experience for a club that will feature a number of new additions from the transfer portal. "Very excited to play in the GLOBL JAM Tournament in Toronto," Walz said. "It is a great opportunity for our team to gain valuable experience this summer and face some challenging national team squads."

The Cardinals will begin the round-robin portion of the tournament on Wednesday, July 12 against Puerto Rico at 11 a.m. ET at Toronto's Mattamy Athletic Centre. Their next matchup will be against Team Canada, on July 13 at 5:30 p.m. ET. After a day off, their final round-robin game will be against Team Africa on July 15 at 11 a.m. ET.

The Bronze Medal match-up up will be July 16 at 11 a.m. ET, with the Gold Medal match at 5 p.m. ET.

This should give the Louisville coaching staff a great gauge to see how the team can mesh for the 2023-24 season and us plenty to cover and anticipate at Cardinal Couple! 

As always, 
Go Cards!


Monday, April 24, 2023

Lacrosse Season Comes to a Close; Softball Sweeps -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Lacrosse Loses in Opening Round of ACC Tourney

After picking up their second conference win against Duke just over a week ago, Louisville found themselves seeded 8th in the conference tournament, ahead of both Duke and Pitt, the two teams they beat this season. Despite the worse overall record (Duke was 6-1 out of conference), Louisville hosted in the first round of the ACC tournament. Unfortunately, Duke was ready to get revenge for the close loss they suffered at the same stadium very recently. 

Duke got the scoring started early, and it looked for a bit like the Cards would be run off their own field. Duke scored the first three goals over seven and a half minutes, with the first coming less than two minutes into the contest. Negai Nakazawa finally put Louisville on the board with just over seven minutes remaining in the first quarter, but Duke answered to make it 4-1 a minute later. With just ten seconds left in the period, Hannah Morris scored her first goal of the game to cut the lead in half. 

Louisville opened the scoring in the second period, again with a goal from Negai Nakazawa. This time, Negai was assisted by her sister Kokoro and the Cards were within one. Duke was insistent on remaining up by a pair of goals, matching Nakazawa's second a minute later. Nicole Perroni got in on the action with 10:09 left in the half to bring Louisville back to one, and they played that way for a bit. Duke was able to extend their lead again before Hannah Morris went on a tear. With Louisville trailing 6-4, Morris rattled off three goals in a shade over three minutes to swing the advantage into Louisville's favor. Duke grabbed one more goal with 93 seconds left in the half, and the two teams entered the locker room tied.

It was the usual suspects for Louisville coming out of the break, as the first three and a half minutes saw Louisville go up by a pair on another Nakazawa double-feature to earn Negai the hat trick and a fifth goal from Morris. Duke remained focused, though, and they buckled down on defense. Louisville went five minutes before Allegra Catalano was able to score their tenth team goal of the game. In that time, Duke managed to score three of their own, with two coming just 14 seconds apart. The rest of the third quarter played tight, but neither team found the back of the net again. Just as they had started the third, they ended it tied.

To open the fourth, another Nakazawa goal found Louisville ahead by one. Kokoro was in charge this time, scoring her 22nd goal of the season. Unfortunately for Nakazawa and for Louisville, it was her (and the team's) last goal of the year. Duke tied it up with 8:43 remaining, and the rest of the game was agonizing for the Cards. After a yellow card put Louisville down a player, a second put the Cards down two with a minute left on the first penalty kill. Sara Addeche saved the free position shot created by the second foul (one of 16 saves in the complete game), but the pressure remained. Despite getting one player back on the field, Louisville played at a disadvantage for too long. Twenty seconds before the second penalty timed out, Duke scored to make it 12-11 with 3:54 remaining.

Louisville had their chances to tie it up once more, but it wasn't meant to be. A free position shot by Kokoro Nakazawa was saved while Negai had one shot go wide and another hit the post. It came down to a free position shot by Hannah Morris with ten seconds left. The attempt hit the post. It was Morris's only missed conversion of the game, and it's an extremely unfair way for her career to end. The graduate senior finishes her time at UofL with 138 goals and 19 assists in 74 games. She scored 43.3% of her shots and put 71.5% of her attempts on target.

Louisville's loss in the first round will put a cap on their season, as 5-12 will be unlikely to draw any attention for the NCAA tournament. Duke advances to the quarterfinals Wednesday to take on Boston College. We'll have plenty more to say about the lacrosse season as time goes on.

Softball Earns 9-2 Win in Finale at Virginia

After a bit of a barn-burner Saturday evening, Louisville left little doubt in their series finale in Charlottesville as they lumped the scoring on early to sweep the Cavaliers. Louisville used a mix of small ball and long shots to rack up the runs, and a couple of early Virginia runs were largely ignorable as the game went on. 

Korbe Otis got the game started off well for the Cards with a lead-off home run. Easton Lotus was first-pitch swinging after that and reached on an error. Taylor Roby singled Lotus all the way to third, and Virginia's starting pitcher found herself relieved of the ball. The new pitcher for the 'Hoos may have benefited from a bit more time warming up as she hit Sarah Gordon with the first pitch. Reaching scoring position with no outs saw Roby removed from the base paths with Mia Forsythe brought on to pinch run. The move paid off, as a Daisy Hess single scored two runs. With runners on second and third with nobody out, Louisville managed to score no more runs. So it goes sometimes. Louisville took a 3-0 lead into the bottom half.

Taylor Roby got the start again in this game and things started a bit less swimmingly for her than they did on Saturday. The first two batters singled, but Louisville halted their progress with a fielder's choice out at third to put runners on first and second with one out. Unfortunately, Roby immediately undermined the defense's efforts with a wild pitch to move both runners up. It came back to haunt her immediately, as a single scored both runners and the batter advanced on the throw to home. A ground out to first put the tying run at third base, and a full-count walk followed. Roby kept the lead alive by forcing a ground out to end the inning.

After Paige Geraghty grounded out to roll over the lineup, Otis picked up right where the top half of the order had left off in the first. She walked, and Lotus followed her with a single. Both advanced on a throwing error, and Roby helped get her runs back with a single to score Otis. Gordon was up next, and she singled as well. She and Roby both advanced an extra base as Virginia unsuccessfully attempted to throw out Easton Lotus at home. Another two-RBI single from Daisy Hess put Louisville up by five, but they would score no more in the inning. After a single and a fielder's choice that got no outs loaded the bases, a double-play ended the threat. A four spot left the Cards ahead 7-2. 

Virginia continued to put the bat on the ball against Roby. A single was followed by a come-backer right to Roby, who turned it into a double-play. Seeming to be out of a jam, she found herself right back in one with a single and a walk. Whether it was tiredness or Virginia having seen too much of her the night before, Coach Holly Aprile decided it was time for a change. Saturday's victor, Gabby Holloway, stepped into the circle and got a flyout to end the inning. 

With Otis batting for the third time in three innings, she couldn't keep the run going and Louisville quickly had two outs. Lotus kicked off a rally, though, and singled with two strikes. Roby walked, and Virginia made another pitching change before Sarah Gordon stepped in. This time, she elected to do the hitting instead of being hit by a new pitcher, and she singled up the middle to score Lotus. Daisy Hess stepped in and hit another single, this one deep enough to score Roby from second and give Hess her fifth RBI of the night. A ground out stranded a pair, but Louisville had extended their lead to 9-2. That would be the final. 

Duke managed to pick up just two hits and a walk off of Holloway over the next five innings, and they were all scattered. She earned four strikeouts and threw just 72 pitches over those five (it took her just two to get the final out of the second, bringing her total to 74). Louisville was similarly frustrated for the remainder of the game, though two of their three hits came in the same inning. The Cards were under a bit less pressure, though, playing with a seven-run lead instead of the inverse. Offensively, Louisville got perfect on-base nights from both Taylor Roby and Daisy Hess, with the pair combining for half of the team's 14 hits and two-thirds of its RBIs. 

Last night's win moved Louisville to 32-14 overall and 13-4 in the ACC. Despite some of the early losses (and some of the headscratchers later), Louisville has played quite well this season. The Cards are now 4-2 in conference series and have moved into third ahead of Duke based on win percentage. Louisville has played a series less than most teams in the league and one game less than Florida State due to the canceled game at Syracuse. Louisville has also scored just one run less than FSU and is just five behind the co-leaders in conference runs scored, Duke and Notre Dame, who have both played five more games than the Cards. The defense has been better than you might expect as well, with Louisville having given up fewer runs than everyone but FSU, Clemson, and UNC. That comes with a grain of salt, though, as the fewer games is definitely playing a part.

The Cards have the bookends of the conference remaining this season. They'll return to Ulmer to round out the home schedule with a series against last-in-the-league Boston College this weekend. On Derby weekend, as they usually do, they'll hit the road. Top-seeded FSU awaits, and Louisville will have a big chance to score some NCAA attention on that first weekend in May. A sweep of Boston College and at least one win against the Seminoles would be ideal, but they'll have to take it one game at a time.

Until next time, Go Cards!

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Thunder Was a Quiet Sports Day - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Softball Looks For a Sweep

It may have been the day for Thunder Over Louisville, with loud planes and fireworks all day downtown, but sports were relatively quiet with Softball in action being the primary draw for us here at Cardinal Couple.

Everyone was on the road, Soccer playing in exhibition in Dayton, Baseball at Duke (they lost), Track up at IU, Rowing in North Carolina, and Softball, of course, in their series against Virginia in Charlottesville.

The visit to UVA has been a successful one for the Cards, though, taking the win yesterday, 6-4.  Taylor Roby was the starting pitcher for this one, pitching most of five innings before Alyssa Zabala gave her a break.  Zabala wasn't as sharp as she was yesterday, and was lifted in the 6th for Gabby Holloway to finish out the game.

If you were on pins and needles to see if Korbe Otis was going to get another games on base streak going, you didn't have to wait long.  The sophomore took an opening pitch strike and then took the second pitch out to left field under the scoreboard.  Two batters later, Sarah Gordon, who's been seeing quite a bit of success at the plate recently, also lifted the yellow orb out the left.  Quite a good start for the Cards.

The Louisville squad would get the next mark on the scoreboard in the 3rd, with the lineup turned over, Otis returned to lead off the inning.  A bit of a questionable call as Otis ground to third, and ran into the throw as it arrived at first.  The ball popped loose and she was ruled safe on an error.  There was an argument to be made that Otis was inside the baseline and thus could've been called for interference, but that's not how the umpires saw it, and UVA didn't contest it.  Otis then stole second, which is pretty much a given for her, with that steal being her 19th on the season on 19 attempts.  Gordon again takes an absolute rip at the ball and easily gets the triple, scoring Otis, but attempted to make it an inside the park homerun but just gets caught at home.  Credit to the home base umpire who, while making the (correct, even on review) call, accidentally steps on the bat and does an involuntary splits.  Well done to blue, and no injury sustained.

UVA finally got their first mark on the scoreboard in the 5th inning with a two out solo shot.  That also saw Roby take a well earned bow from the circle and hand over the pitching duties to Zabala.

The weekend has mostly been a big ball extravaganza, but the Cards switched to some small ball for the 6th inning.  Hannah File started off with a single, Daisy Hess drew a walk, then Makayla Hurst pinch hit for Pickle Winkler and singled.  Winkler re-entered to run the basepaths.  Elana Ornelas pinch hit for Ally Alexander, and also singled, bringing Hess home after advanced around the paths one base at a time.  That would make the score 4-1 after five and a half innings.

UVA got to Zabala in the bottom of the 6th inning, however, hitting off of her for a pair of doubles, the first a two RBI, and the second a single RBI, bringing the score to 4-4 tie.  Zabala would have a seat at that point, and Holloway would get a strike out to end the inning.

In the top of the 7th, Sarah Gordon and got on base with a single.  Followed at the plate by Taylor Roby, still in the lineup as the designated player, she merely extended her season home run school record, with the shot going pretty straight out to center and clearing the outer fence of the stadium facility.  The 2 RBI home run of course scored Gordon as well, and set the final 6-4 score.

Holly Aprile's squad will have the brooms at the ready, hoping for the series sweep with a 4pm game today.

Softball will return home to host a weekend series with Boston College, starting with a Friday 6pm game.

Lacrosse Starts Post-Season

Lacrosse gets the post-season underway with a 2pm game against Duke in the ACC Championship.

The Cards come into the tournament seeded 8th, Duke is the 9 seed.  The game will be preceeded by the 7/10 matchup between Virginia Tech and Pitt, so there is a chance that it will be delayed some if the first game runs long.

Louisville and Duke are looking to advance to play the top seed in the tournament, Boston College on Wednesday.

After Wednesday's games, the semifinals of the tournament will be Friday, and the Championship game will be this coming Sunday.

No Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast This Week

With various absences and the Louisville Holidays, a.k.a The Kentucky Derby Festival, upon us, and particularly Thunder Over Louisville, the team took a break this week, but anticipate being back with you next week.  We're confident we'll have plenty to talk about.

-- JMcA

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Cards Get Opening Win at Virginia; Walz Adds Another -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Roby and Otis Deliver Milestone Homers in 5-3 Win

In a game that saw both teams hit two home runs to provide the only scoring, Louisville came out ahead with a 5-3 victory over Virginia in the opening game of their three game weekend set. As Jared mentioned yesterday, this series is critical for Louisville to stay in the hunt for an NCAA tournament bid and to stay ahead of Virginia Tech (1.5 games back) for fourth in the ACC. A win last night helps to get the weekend started in a positive way.

While things ended up positive for Louisville, it didn't look great early. Korbe Otis singled to lead off the game, wasting no time in starting a new on-base streak, but the next three batters headed back to the dugout on a sacrifice bunt, a line out, and a pop out. Alyssa Zabala took the circle for the Cards and induced a ground out to open the inning. She gave up a single to the two-hole hitter but got a foul out to give the defense two outs. Unfortunately, the number of outs is a bit irrelevant when the cleanup hitter goes yard. A pop up ended the inning, but the Hoos led 2-0.

The second saw Louisville get a runner on base but leave none stranded in a 4-up, 3-down situation. After a ground out by Sarah Gordon, Daisy Hess laid down a bunt single. Pickle Winkler hit a line shot to center field that was caught, leaving Hess on first with two outs. That's not so odd, right? Except Ally Alexander wouldn't see an official at-bat. Hess was caught stealing to end the top half of the inning. After settling in a bit during the break, Zabala sat Virginia down 1-2-3.

In the third, Alexander stepped back to the plate just as she had the inning prior. She snagged a lead off single and was bunted to second by Paige Geraghty. Otis sent another liner into the outfield, but her hit was also right at a fielder, just like Winkler's. Easton Lotus delivered a single, but it stayed in the infield, advancing Alexander only to third. A ground out ended the inning, stranding two on base and leaving the Cards down 2-0. Still going strong, Zabala retired her fifth, sixth, and seventh straight batters.

The fourth inning was the big one. Taylor Roby opened with a second-pitch solo shot to center field to cut Virginia's lead in half. Gordon followed with a first-pitch single, and Hess drew a full-count walk. That chased the Virginia starter, which looked to be a good move for the Cavaliers. Winkler popped out, but Makayla Hurst loaded the bases with a pinch-hit walk. Geraghty put the ball in play, and the Cards narrowly avoided disaster with a force out at the plate that didn't turn into a double-play to end the inning. One extra chance was all they needed. Korbe Otis stepped into the box and sent a 3-1 pitch to left center for her first career grand slam. Lotus struck out, but Louisville had done its damage. The Cards hit two home runs in the inning and put five runs on the board to flip the advantage. Now trailing, Virginia was fired up to get back into it, but Zabala made quick work of them, using just seven pitches to get her third straight clean inning.

Louisville was quiet in the fifth, earning just a walk, but it was moot with Zabala continuing her fantastic start after the first inning home run. Six pitches retired the side in the fifth inning and five pitches was all it took in the sixth. The sixth inning for Louisville showed a lot of promise. The Cards threatened by loading the bases with a two-out rally (with the help of an error), but they couldn't capitalize and the teams headed to the seventh with the score still 5-2.

Louisville got another pair of runners on base in the top of the seventh but one negated the other. Neither came around to score, meaning Virginia needed three runs to keep the game going and four to win. Zabala reentered for her seventh inning of work, having thrown only 63 pitches in the first six innings. Just as she had over the previous five innings, Zabala retired the first two batters. Abby Weaver was committed to not going down without a fight, though, and she matched Roby's fifth inning solo shot with one of her own to break Zabala's out streak at 17. The home run made it 5-3, but that was the final as a pop out ended the game. 

Alyssa Zabala, take a bow. Three runs on three hits in a complete game win. Is it great that two of those hits were home runs? No. However, it is great that she gave up no walks and had one strikeout as part of the aforementioned 17 out streak. Louisville's offense gave her the cover she needed, and she threw a complete game in only 75 pitches. In comparison, Virginia needed 122 pitches from their three pitchers to get the same 21 outs. It was a fantastic outing that would have been terribly undersold if Louisville hadn't managed to show up at the plate. But they did, so I'm giving Zabala her flowers. Zabala had been a bit cooler of late, and it seemed a bit like the college season was getting to the freshman. I'm happy to report that it appears to have been just a minor slump and Zabala is ready to keep showing her stuff in the critical part of the year.

In the win, Taylor Roby hit a solo home run to set a program record with 18 homers in a single season. Already the owner of the career home run record, Roby has eight regular season games remaining to extend her single season record. She seems likely to do so and it seems like a record likely to stand for quite some time. We talked a lot about how last season saw her struggle at the plate and in the circle due to the overwork and steep expectations at both positions. It didn't manifest right away this year, but it seems clear that Roby has thrived by not being depended on as the only arm and the biggest bat.

Korbe Otis held an on-base streak of 35 games prior to the win at Western Kentucky earlier this week. While it was unfortunate for her to miss out, she didn't let it cloud her play going forward. Otis had three hits in four at-bats in this one, with the aforementioned grand slam being the big one. Her run scored from the homer moves her alone into fifth on Louisville's single season runs scored list. She's now two behind Carmyn Greenwood's 2022 season for fourth and just 12 away from tying the record of 64 set by Melissa Roth in 2009.

Louisville and Virginia will face off again tonight at 6PM. The game will be streamed on ACC Network Extra. A 4PM start wraps up the series tomorrow on ACC Network proper. Louisville will look for a pair of big wins before returning to Ulmer next weekend for their home finale series against Boston College. The Cards wrap up the regular season on the road against league-leading Florida State on Derby Weekend, so wins this weekend and next are key.

Sydney Taylor Commits to Louisville

Another day means another roster addition for Jeff Walz and the Louisville women's basketball squad, apparently. After getting a commitment from Nina Rickards Thursday, last night saw a commitment from Sydney Taylor, a transfer from UMass. Taylor, a 5-9 guard out of Long Island, will officially be a grad transfer. She played in 17 games during her freshman year and started in all 90 games she played over the next three seasons. She was on the All-Championship team for the A-10 as a sophomore and as a junior, and she was named to the A-10 All-Conference Second Team in her junior year. As a senior, Taylor was First Team All-Conference and made the All-Academic Team as well. 

Jared mentioned yesterday that Rickards was not known for being a three-point threat. The same can't be said for Taylor. Taylor averaged 16.1 points per game and scored her 1,000th career point in November. She scored a season high of 30 points at Dayton in late January, led by a career-best seven threes. Overall, Taylor led the Atlantic 10 in made threes and threes per game with 104 (3.2 per game). Those marks were tied for seventh and tied for sixth in the NCAA, respectively. As a junior, she averaged 15.9 points and was 2nd/20th in the conference and NCAA in threes per game. Overall, her senior season saw her shoot 41% from the floor, 38.5% from three, and 81% from the line. She added 5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.94 steals, and 2.5 turnovers per game. Not a major part of any 5-9 guard's game, she had just five blocks on the year. She averaged 2.5 fouls per game, highest on the team, but fouled out just once. 

Taylor's pickup now gives Louisville enough players to play 5-on-5 in practice without the volunteer practice squad, but I expect she won't be the last addition to the 2023-24 roster.

No Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

With today being the start of Louisville's holiday season (Thunder Over Louisville), we'll be taking the week off from the show. Looking ahead, we're planning to record an episode next week before also having Derby Day off. It should be full steam ahead into the summer after that, with hopefully plenty of post-season softball to discuss.

Until next time, Go Cards!

Friday, April 21, 2023

WBB Adds Nina Rickards -- Lax Falls to Notre Dame -- Tennis Falls to FSU -- Softball on the Road -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Our musical chairs of taking over articles continues. While Paulie was originally covering for Daryl, Paulie ended up taking the day off. Daryl was working her duties at Louisville Slugger Field as the Bats recorded a rare win. Katy and I made our way downtown for the game but did not see Daryl.

Nina Rickards Commits to Louisville

Louisville women's basketball picked up another player in the transfer portal yesterday. Nina Rickards joins the Cards after four years at Florida, per her Twitter.

The 5-9 guard from Queens, N.Y. started nearly every game in her career with the Gators. Last season, Rickards averaged 12.1 points per game while shooting 40% from the floor. While not known for her three-point shooting, Rickards was reliable from the free throw line, knocking down nearly 76% of her attempts.

Jeff Walz and Co. are up to nine confirmed players for the 2023-2024 season with hopes to add a couple more before the season starts up.

Lacrosse Concludes Regular Season with Loss at Notre Dame

Louisville lacrosse wrapped up the regular season with a 15-9 loss at #7 Notre Dame. The Cards finished the season 5-11 with a 2-7 ACC record.

Notre Dame started strong, claiming the opening quarter 8-0 including a goal 14 seconds into the game.

The Cards did get on the board early into the second quarter before the Irish extended their lead to 10-1. Louisville would close out the quarter on a 3-0 run to go into the half 10-4.

Louisville closed their deficit to 12-9 midway through the fourth quarter before Notre Dame scored the final three goals of the match. Nicole Perroni was able to snag one of Louisville’s nine goals, setting a program record with a goal scored in 35 consecutive games.

The ACC Tournament begins Sunday with Louisville hosting Duke at 2:00 p.m.

Tennis Falls to Florida State in ACC Tournament

After an upset over Syracuse to close out the regular season and an upset victory over Boston College, Louisville women's tennis fell to Florida State in the second round of the ACC Tournament.

The Seminoles started off taking the doubles point. They then won on courts two, four, and six to claim the victory. Courts one, three, and five remained unfinished after it became impossible for Louisville to win the match.

Louisville finishes the 2022-2023 season with a 10-15 record. Eight of the 10 members of the roster completed their senior season so Coach Mark Beckham will have some work to do on the recruiting trail and in the transfer portal.

Softball Travels to Virginia

Fresh off a win at Western Kentucky, Louisville softball is back in action with a series at Virginia. The Cards enter the game with a 29-14 record.

The Cavaliers carry a similar record at 29-15. They took down James Madison in a midweek game but fell in a three-game series at Florida State prior to that.

Virginia is 8-10 in the ACC, currently putting them in eighth place. Louisville's 10-4 conference record places them fourth.

With nine games remaining in the regular season, Louisville needs just six wins to match their 35-win season in 2019, the highest in the Holly Aprile era.

Tonight's game is set to start at 6:00 p.m. and will be aired on ACCNX.

Happy Friday and Go Cards!

*Photos per Louisville Athletics*