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Saturday, September 9, 2023

FH Picks Up Ranked Win; WBB Picks Up Commitment -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Win Battle of Undefeateds

With Ohio State coming into Trager Stadium ranked 18th and sitting at 5-0, one of the two teams, between them and 5th-ranked, 4-0 Louisville, was going to suffer their first loss of the season to a ranked opponent. Fortunately for the Cards, the home field advantage (and a stout defensive effort) proved enough to come out victorious. An errant ball added a ton of confusion to the end of the match while Ohio State tried to find an equalizer with an empty net, but the clock ultimately hit zero with Louisville leading 2-1. In what was just their second home match of the season, Louisville moved to 5-0 and has already compiled three ranked wins on the year.

Aimee Plumb was the hero for Louisville in this one, as she scored both goals for the Cards. Those two goals also accounted for two of Louisville's three total shots, and they were the only two on goal. Lauren Masters added the third shot from the bench. Because of the low number of shots, credit needs to go to Merlijn van der Vegt and the rest of the Louisville defense, as they stared down 15 shots from OSU and van der Vegt saved five of seven that were on target. Sofia Pendalino earned her own hero moment with a defensive block in the second quarter. 

The game marks the second effort in which Louisville was badly outshot but managed to pull out a one goal win. The other was against Northwestern, where they were outshot 21-3 (10-1) and scored the only goal of the match. While that's impressive from a defensive standpoint, it is probably not super sustainable. Louisville has shown significant determination in the opening portion of the season, but it would be good to see them stretch their legs a bit more on offense. A couple of bad bounces defensively could turn a match on its head very quickly.

Yesterday's game was tight from the beginning. Checking the box score shows an opening quarter with three events if you exclude the goalie notes and the end of period. The first is concerning. Ohio State earned a penalty corner just 47 seconds into the match. Louisville's defense was up to the task, though, as they prevented the Buckeyes from even attempting a shot. After that, ten minutes went by with neither team able to make much of an impression before an OSU forward was issued a green card. With the Cards up a player, they took advantage, working into the circle where they earned a penalty stroke. Aimee Plumb was given the chance to make the most of the golden opportunity, and she did. The first goal of the match was just Plumb's second of the season.

The second quarter was all ugly for Louisville. Other than a green card issued to Minna Tremonti, the Cards registered no actions on their side of the play-by-play. OSU took seven shots in the quarter, and van der Vegt picked up three of their five saves. Another shot was blocked and yet another, with just six seconds remaining in the period, saw the defensive save from Pendalino. The Buckeyes took two more corners, moving their advantage to 3-0 in the category, and Louisville welcomed halftime with open arms.

After the break, it looked like the Cards might finally find some rhythm, as they struck quickly. Just two minutes into the half, Aimee Plumb added her second goal from a Roosje Neve assist on what is described as "pass from right side of circle to right post diving shot." I didn't get the chance to watch this one live, but that sound pretty cool, so let's all just envision some action movie effects and slo-mo video work of a flying Aimee Plumb saving a ball from going out of bounds by instead directing it into the cage. If that's not the way it happened, I don't want to know.

The good vibes for Louisville were relatively short lived, as Ohio State went right back on the attack. Three shots and two penalty corners over a 48-second span preceded Louisville's final shot of the game on a Masters breakaway. After a few minutes of breathing space, OSU moved back into the offensive third, creating three more penalty corners (five in the quarter) to finally crack the Louisville defense. The third corner of a sequence proved too much, and the Cards' lead was halved with just under 19 minutes to play in the game.

The fourth period was much like the second, with Louisville seeing only defensive action on the box score. It opened with OSU getting a yellow card two minutes into the quarter, their fourth major penalty of the game after a trio of green cards prior. Louisville could do nothing with the five-minute advantage, and the penalty kill went by rather smoothly for the Buckeyes. Even before getting back to full strength, Ohio State was back on the attack, earning their ninth corner of the match. This one very nearly equalized, as Leanne Bough (graduate student sister of the player in the box, freshman Brenna Bough; OSU had to copy Louisville's Plumb sisters, obviously) had a shot off the post. The stadium (excluding the OSU team and fans) breathed a collective sigh of relief, and Louisville moved the ball away from danger for a bit.

After some four minutes of keepaway were largely successful, Ohio State pulled their goalie for an extra attacker with five minutes to go in the game. Those final five minutes were tense, with the Buckeyes having two shots blocked, the second coming from their tenth corner of the game. That last blocked shot came with 21 seconds remaining, but it led to the end of the game. As the ball rolled out wide off the block, it didn't quite go out of bounds. An OSU player gave chase, indicating clear intent to continue play, and the whistle never blew. However, one of the volunteer ball kids on the sideline incorrectly threw out a fresh ball to be played from the sideline. Seeing that, a number of players stopped, anticipating a restart from the sideline. As I noted, though, the referee tracked that OSU was aware of the actual ball in play and had been continuing to play it. As such, the clock continued to run, most players displayed confusion, and the game came to a close with Louisville holding a 2-1 lead.

Sometimes weird things happen. If the shoe was on the other foot, I'd certainly be frustrated with something like that impacting the end of the match. However, if the second ball was clearly impacting play, I'm sure it would have been blown dead, and Louisville (as the home team ultimately responsible for the ball kids) may have even been penalized. But the referee has the discretion to continue play when warranted, and just like every player in soccer stopping for what they believe is a clear offsides or handball, no whistle means play on. A win is a win.

I already mentioned the lack of shots, but Louisville's offense was not particularly threatening overall. The Cards earned no penalty corners, meaning that what you see with the shots is pretty much what they got. Possession isn't tracked on the box score, but I can't imagine the offense we've seen from Louisville in the past had the ball all that much without mustering some chances on goal. On the bright side, 0-0 on penalty corners doesn't make your conversion percentage on the season go down at all. Find the positives.

Head coach Justine Sowry was pleased with the effort, despite the lack of shots, praising Ohio State's constant pressure with their substitution patterns. As you might expect, her biggest point was Louisville's immediate attack in the third, but she also acknowledged Louisville's luck on the defensive end. You can hear her full interview and one from Aimee Plumb as well at the links below. Louisville is back in action tomorrow at noon when they host VCU.

Field Hockey photos by Jared Anderson

Basketball Adds 2023 Center 

If you thought Louisville's roster was complete for this season, think again. Jeff Walz, a bit surprisingly, announced that the 2023-24 team would see one more newcomer with the addition of Elif Istanbullouglu. If I gave you three guesses, I'd think you'd have a pretty good shot of coming up with where Elif comes to Louisville from. If you don't feel like playing, I'll save you the hassle and tell you it's Istanbul, Turkey.

Photo from FIBA; 2022 U18 Euro 
Elif (I'm going to go with her first name because Istanbullouglu is a bit of a mouthful to say and handful to type) played for both the U18 and U20 Turkish teams this summer, averaging double figures in scoring at the European Championships, and she has played three games with the Senior National Team. Elif averaged 11 points and 10.7 rebounds with the U18 team and 10.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.3 assists with the U20s. She also played four games for Fenerbahce in the most recent season, in which the team won the EuroLeague for the first time ever.

Basketball is the family business for the Istanbullouglu crew, with Elif's older sister Sevval playing in 35 games in four years at Siena. Their parents, Serkan and Asli, both played professional basketball in Turkey and represented the Turkish national teams. 

Elif, a 6-3 player listed as a forward on the roster but identified as a center, will join a relatively crowded front court, which now represents four continents (I'm cheating slightly here as Turkey is in both Europe and Asia, and Istanbul itself straddles the continental divide, but most of the population is in Europe and the teams compete in European championships. I'm still counting it because it's cool.) In case you had forgotten because she participated with the team in Canada, one of those continental representatives is already redshirting. Eseosa Imafidon, the tallest player on the team, will take a season to continue to familiarize herself with high level basketball. I'm quite sure she'll get plenty of hands-on experience in practice as Elif will join an active front court already boasting Olivia Cochran, Hennie van Schaik, Nyla Harris, and Alexia Mobley.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

For the first time in a long time, we'll have a full house for the show this week. There's plenty to cover, so we'll get into it all. 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!


1 comment:

  1. Elif Istanbullouglu🏀🏀🏀🏀
    I missed this article but she looks to be a physical type player look like she's going to be contributing very well.


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