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Saturday, September 16, 2023

Field Hockey Suffers First Loss -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Louisville Falls to UNC 2-0

Justine Sowry's undefeated Cards hit the road to open their ACC slate yesterday but were unable to pull out another upset away from home against the 2nd-ranked Tarheels. UNC stood at 4-1 entering the match, but their loss was in the second match of the season against No. 1 Iowa. The Cards and Heels have two common opponents, as UNC was the other team in Philly for the ACC/Ivy Crossover. While Louisville one-upped UNC by beating Princeton 2-1in regulation while UNC needed OT for their 2-1 victory, the Tarheels beat Penn 4-0 and Louisville could only win 2-1.

All that said, common opponents don't mean that much when two teams are going to take the field against each other. That's what they did yesterday, with Louisville entering Karen Shelton Stadium to play UNC for the first time (in the modern era) without Karen Shelton at the helm. Before joining the ACC, Louisville had played UNC twice: once in 2002 and for the first time in 1977. The Cards are 5-11 against UNC since 2014, and Louisville has never won back-to-back matchups. To make matters worse, Louisville was 3-3 against UNC in their first six meetings as conference foes.

UNC has Louisville's number on the turf, and they put that on display again yesterday. A goal midway through the first proved to be the difference, while a goal midway through the fourth provided the Tarheels with insurance. This game was not without chances for the Cards. Unlike a few of their previous games, where they were sorely outshot and managed to sneak a win, Louisville looked pretty evenly matched yesterday afternoon. After being blanked on shot attempts in the first quarter, UofL had six shots over the remaining three quarters compared to seven for UNC. The final difference was a 9-6 advantage for UNC as they had two first quarter shots, including the goal. The big difference was in shot quality, as Louisville had just one of their six shots on target, while UNC forced three saves and scored two goals. The Cards did have three shots blocked, but they ultimately forced just one save.

Louisville held an advantage in penalty corners, but while they went 0-5, UNC capitalized on their chances, as their second goal came from one of their three attempts. Louisville's best chance came at the very end of the match, when an empty net gave them a player advantage on a penalty corner. However, even if they had scored, they would have had under a minute to find an equalizer. Aimee Plumb's shot was blocked away, though, and that was the end of that. Plumb took two of Louisville's shots, matching Julie Kouijzer, while Emilia Kaczmarczyk put her only shot attempt on frame. Izzy Bianco had Louisville's other shot, and it was one of the shots that was blocked. 

In addition to the goal, a second of UNC's penalty corners forced a save from Merlijn van der Vegt. Merlijn finished with three saves, playing the "complete" game, but logging only 58:50 of play time after being subbed out for the empty net. It was a relatively clean game, as the teams scattered three green cards, but with none being identified as fouls. It's hard to say much more about this game. Louisville was in it, they had some chances, and the ball just didn't fall their way. Hopefully Louisville doesn't begin to suffer some karmic justice for the luck they've seen early on. Games against UNC are always just weird, so Louisville will look to get back on track in the next one.

The Cards have the second segment of the weekend off this week, and they're back in action on Friday. Louisville returns home on the 22nd to take on JMU, one of two non-conference games they'll get to build confidence before reentering conference play. With a 5PM start, Louder than Life will be well underway by the time the whistle blows, so you may be able to hear some residual music traveling over from the fairgrounds. For some reason, the match is not currently listed as ACC Network Extra, and JMU's schedule identifies it as an ESPN+ game. We'll be sure to keep you updated closer to next week.

Photos by Jared Anderson

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Jared is on the road for the Louisville football game in Indianapolis, but we'll have at least three in the chair for this week's episode of the show. Daryl is always a wild card, so you'll just have to tune in to find out if you get to learn about her latest golf outing with a Louisville legend. We'll have plenty to talk about on the show, with the big one being Louisville volleyball's win over UK on Wednesday night. 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!

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Until next time, Go Cards!


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