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Sunday, June 11, 2023

A Gray Day in Kentucky, and a First Glimpse at Volleybal

A Brooke Gray Day in Kentucky

It's been quite a weekend for Ballard's Brooke Gray.  After being named Gatorade Kentucky Player of the Year on Friday, Gray led her Bruins to win the state championship yesterday over Henderson County, 12-4.  She then picked up the tournament MVP honor, and was also named the 2023 Kentucky Miss Softball.

All of that, in roughly 48 hours, makes for quite a whirlwind weekend for the senior

Some final season stats for Gray's senior year: 29-0 win/loss record, 0.81 ERA, and 307 strikeouts in 189 2/3 innings pitched.

The lefty pitcher will be joining an already solid pitching staff at UofL in the fall, though a staff that is losing one of the best to have done it at UofL in Taylor Roby.  Gray will be the second lefty hurler on the staff, joining Cassie Grizzard in the southpaws-in-the-circle club.

Gray and Grizzard, along with Alyssa Zabala, Gabby Holloway, and Sam incoming freshman Lindsey Mullen... should create a good pitching staff that the team can build on to hopefully see another year of improvement in performance.

A Brief Glimpse of Volleyball

Volleyball is, of course, on their tour of Brazil, and they had their first match of the trip yesterday against Clube Panaireinas do Morumbi U-21 in São Paulo.  There was a low production stream that was, I believe, posted on the team's facebook page, but it only last to 19-12 in the first set before it died due to technical difficulties.  The team has a social media person with them on the trip, but not a Sports Information Director, so most of the information available is scattered among various social media posts.

This is the first opportunity to see the assembled team that will be competing in the fall, so I tuned in with interest to see what initial thoughts on lineups looked like.  Louisville "won" the match 5-0 with scores of 25-16, 25-18, 25-12, 25-20, 25-17.

First, a couple of apparent injury notes based on what I saw on stream.  Nina Moorer is still in a boot from some stress fractures that she experienced during spring play, and Cara Cresse has some sort of cast on her left wrist and part of her hand.  I have no details of the nature of the injury prompting that.

For the lineup, keep in mind, of course, that these are friendlies, they don't count for any official record, so lineups should be expected to be fluid and experimental, but they will give us some idea of what the coaching staff is thinking about for the fall.

The biggest surprise I saw in the lineup in the first set was incoming freshman Reese Robins playing right side in place of Aiko Jones.  Robins was listed primarily as a middle blocker, but with the ongoing position battle on the squad at middle, getting Robins to the right side may give her an opportunity to see some playing time that she may not have had otherwise.  Could we see a 6-2 offense in the fall?  With Aiko Jones, Nina Moorer, and Reese Robins all having spent some, or a lot in Jones' case, of time out there, it only leaves a question of how well we can swap out setters and maintain consistency.

Phekran "PK" Kong, and Hannah Sherman were the middles for the start.  Crese was dressed and participated in warmups, but I don't know if she ended up playing during the match.  The cast is on her non-hitting hand, so it is conceivable that she played.

Another incoming freshman, Molly Urban subbed in for Reese Robins as a DS for back-row playing time.

From some social media bits, the team had 20 aces in the five sets, and incoming freshman Kamden Schrand accounted for five of them.  Allana Bankston, yes another incoming freshman, apparently got nine kills on 17 swings for either .450 or .412 hitting.  Dan Meske said .450 in the audio of his Instagram story, but the caption on it said .412.  I suspect .412 is the correct number.  Regardless, an impressive debut for the Omahan.

They Tied the Knot

We want to extend a hearty congratulations to our Cardinal Couple colleague Jared Anderson and his beautiful wife Katy Whitesell.  The two got married yesterday in a wonderful celebration with family and friends in South Carolina.  We have yet to receive Jared's pictures from the event, but expect to have them shortly.

I kid, of course.

Congratulations to the bride and groom.  And the cake.  (Check out the CCRHP, or Jared and my twitter accounts, for explanation of that one.)

Say you missed it? Fear not, the replay is online at the link below{  

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

It was a bit of a throwback for yesterday's CCRHP, with only Paulie and I on the call.  Daryl was a late cancellation having come down with a bit of an illness, and of course we hope she's feeling better soon.  Jared was at a piece of cake's nuptials, and Case will be out for various events for the next couple of weeks.

Paulie and I had a great conversation about Softball, and what it looks like for the future.  We dug into the signed class, including singing the accolades of Brooke Gray, and the prospects for the future.  We did touch a brief bit on volleyball, and speculated on potential news from Lacrosse.

We also asked the question:  What is going on with Kay Morrissette> 

For an agenda with nothing but question marks on it, we managed to find plenty to talk about and had fun.  Check it out!


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