Cards Fall in ACC Semifinals
One goal was all that was needed for 2-seed Duke field hockey to take down 3-seed Louisville in the ACC Field Hockey Semifinals. The Cards were riding a two-game win streak, both against Boston College, before falling to Duke for the second time this year.
The lone goal of the match came shortly after the second quarter began. A long pass from near the sideline made its way deep into the circle, past the crowd of Louisville defenders, and found the single Blue Devils player near the cage. She angled the shot to the far post and out of reach of Merlijn van der Vegt.
The Cards had a few good looks throughout the match with six shots on goal, half of those coming from Emilia Kaczmarczyk. Unfortunately, Duke's Piper Hampsch was perfect in goal and deflected everything that came her way.
“I thought we played pretty well today,” said UofL head coach Justine Sowry. “We definitely went at them early and had some great opportunities, but their defense and goalkeeper played very, very well. Duke executed in critical moments and we did not - and that’s a difference maker. Overall, it’s pleasing to see our improvement over the last couple of games. It was disappointing to lose, but definitely a lot of positive things that we can take moving forward hopefully into the NCAA tournament.
For Duke, they will face North Carolina in a rematch for the ACC title. The Tar Heels won earlier this season in that match-up. Louisville's overall record now sits at 14-6.
While Louisville continued to improve during this late season stretch, they ultimately were knocked out of the ACC Tournament and now await to hear their name called for the NCAA Tournament. The Selection Show is this coming Sunday at 10:00 pm.
The Cards have put themselves in good position to make the 18-team tournament. Half of the field consists of automatic qualifiers with the last nine being made of at-large bids. Currently sitting at #9 in the rpi and #10 in the NFHCA rankings, the Cards *should* be dancing come next week, but it is the NCAA so you never know...
RPI #1 North Carolina and #3 Duke play in the ACC Championship. Regardless, both of them will be part of the 18 NCAA Tournament participants. RPI #4 Virginia is the only other ACC team ahead of the Cards. The Cavaliers fell in the ACC semis as well and should be in. The Big Ten Tournament begins today. Northwestern (#2), Rutgers (#5), Maryland (#7), and Iowa (#8) are the Big Ten teams ahead of Louisville in the RPI so we hope one of those four will take the conference title. The four-team Big East Tournament begins Friday and we want 1-seed and RPI #6 Liberty to reign victorious. The four-team Ivy League Tournament also begins Friday. Ideally, 1-seed and #10 RPI Harvard will win.
Regarding the Cards chances to make the Field of 18...
I wouldn't consider Louisville a bubble team right now, but if enough 1-seeds fall in their respective tournaments, then the Cards could wind up in a tricky spot. The Selection Committee takes in account the RPI so there's a few potential non-tournament-winners that would get taken first.
For now, we will wait and see...
Happy Thursday and Go Cards!