There's no Clint Eastwood on Floyd Street, but for two of Louisville's fall women's sports teams, he's not needed. Both Louisville volleyball and Louisville field hockey have had strong starts to the year while Louisville women's soccer has had a tough first few weeks.
The Good -- Part One
Louisville Volleyball went 3-0 on the weekend, losing just one set the entire Cardinal Classic. Troy has an rpi way down towards the bottom of the league and the Cards disposed of them with little trouble. Ranked Washington State was the second time on the weekend slate. Not every set was easy but the Cards put on a show in the second set and had the volleyball world talking. Whether it was exhaustion or simply overlooking an opponent, Wright State proved to be the biggest test. The Raiders took the first set and played the other sets close.
A perfect start to the season and moving up a spot in the AVCA rankings to #3 is nice. They have another "warm-up" weekend over Labor Day weekend where UofL should be heavily favored in all three matches.
The Other Good
Louisville Field Hockey opened their season with back-to-back victories in about a 32-hour span. Friday night storms pushed the season opener against Northeastern to Saturday morning. Things were tight in the first half with a 1-1 score before the Cards cranked it up a notch with a pair of fourth quarter goals to secure the win. UofL then hopped on a bus to head up to just north of Chicago for a match-up against reigning Big 10 champs, #2 Northwestern. The defense shined (Wow! to the goalkeeping by van der Vegt) and Louisville needed just one goal to pull off the big upset on the road.
An assumed win and a surprise win showed how this Louisville team is capable of, relying on another strong defensive unit. The Cards continue their road trip for a while longer as they face #10 Princeton and Penn this coning weekend.
Louisville Women's Soccer has not been able to find a win after four games. Arguably their two easiest matches of the year came at home against Indiana State and Northern Kentucky. Both of those ended in 0-0 draws. Their road matches were a 2-0 loss to Xavier and a 2-1 loss to Dayton. Defensively, Louisville has looked decent with the exception of the occasional miscommunication on who is responsible for whom. The offense appears to have seen its shadow and gone back into hiding, something that needs to be addressed sooner than later.
Most of us believed the Cards would already have at least a couple wins on the schedule so an 0-2-2 start is surprising, disappointing and a bit frightening. The schedule doesn't get easier going forward and ACC play is never kind. Illinois is next on the schedule, when the Illini visit Dr Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium Thursday night.
Maybe it's time to hold a séance for Italian film director Sergio Leone, who was the mastermind behind THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY and several other Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns. Maybe channel a script where the Cards WSOC gunslingers actually gun down an opponent on Floyd St. Maybe even at high noon...the town-folk are waiting.
(PHOTOS FROM THE JARED ANDERSSON COLLECTION) -- except for Clint, of course...
Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!