We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Softball Skirts the Rain, Lacrosse Loses to Syracuse - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Softball Gameday Dodging Rain

The Softball series at Pitt started out with a schedule adjustment on Friday, anticipating the need to dodge some rainy weather.  The result was that the teams had the day off yesterday and will be back to play again today for the final game of the series.

This is a rubber match with Pitt and Louisville splitting the games Friday.  Will Louisville go with another pitcher in the circle, or will Holly Aprile go back to her ace in the hole with Alyssa Zabala?  With one of Case's critiques in yesterday's article being about leaving pitchers in too long, as much as we here at Cardinal Couple like Zabala, maybe it would be wise to either pitch Sam Booe, or maybe Gabby Holloway to give Pitt a bit of a different look.

The game today starts at 1pm and is on ACC Network Extra streaming.  The weather is forecast to be basically dry in the area until this evening which should give them plenty of time to get the game in unless unexpected showers pop up.  It will be a bit cool, but not frigid.

Let's get the bats going, get the win and start climbing out of the lower layers of the ACC standings.

Lacrosse Loses to Syracuse

Most coaches are not going to celebrate a moral victory...they want to come away with a real win, but when facing the best team in ACC Lacrosse, playing competitively in the first half is worth of comment, even if the rest of the game...well...wasn't great.  Syracuse comes away with the win 22-12.

The Orange outscored the Cards 4-6 in the first quarter, but they played even in the second.  The third quarter is where things went sideways, with Syracuse outscoring Louisville 6-1.  The fourth quarter wasn't awful but not great either, as the Cuse won it 7-4.

The bright spots of play are what you would expect.  A Nakazawa gets a hat trick, Kokoro in this case, Nicole Perroni gets on the board to extend her consecutive game scoring streak, and then a spread of other scorers:  Rian Adkins, Allegra Catalano, and Izzy Seikel, each got a pair with Kylea Dobson, and Tiffany Natoli adding one apiece.

In goal, Sara Adeche snagged five saves, but got run up for 18 goals against.  J Pleck came in for a bit less than a quarter of play and didn't get any saves in that time, but maybe slowed down the Cuse a bit, as they only took four goals against in that nearly quarter of play.

Happy Easter

A Happy Easter to all our readers and we hope the bunny brings you lots of goodies for your basket. For those of a religious bent, Christ has risen again. Howeverr you view the Holiday, enjoy it and have a wonderful Sunday! 

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Case is under the weather, and Daryl is starting wedding planning, but Jared, Paulie, and myself gather to discuss the week in women's sports.  We cover the Softball split of games against Pitt, and Lacrosse's preparation for Syracuse, among other topics.
We did experience a bit of a technical glitch this week, with the very end of the episode getting cut off after my streaming software crashed on me.  Apologies for the abrupt ending.

Check it out:


Saturday, March 30, 2024

Softball Splits in Pitt -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Take 1 of 2 in Double Header

Louisville softball entered a weekend series with a chance to get back to near .500 in conference against the struggling Pitt Panthers. Instead, they'll head to a rubber match Sunday after gifting Pittsburgh their first conference win of the season in Game 2 of yesterday's double header. The Cards won Game 1 3-2 before allowing nine runs in the second game to fall 9-4. They'll have today off and will wrap up the series at 1PM tomorrow afternoon. 

Game 1

Louisville looked poised to jump on the Panthers early when Daisy Hess singled to open the game and Chelsea Mack walked behind her. Unfortunately, Riley Frizell grounded into a double-play and Gabby Holloway's flyout in the cleanup spot ended the inning. Instead, it was the Panthers who took the lead in the first. Alyssa Zabala, who ultimately settled into a very good game, hit the first batter she faced, and the runner stole second to put someone in scoring position with no outs. Zabala got a pair of pop outs, one on a failed bunt attempt, to put the inning nearly to bed. With two outs, the runner was moving on contact, which was not great when the cleanup hitter sent a ball to center field that was dropped. An unearned run scored and Louisville trailed 1-0.

The top of the second again saw Louisville put two runners on base, but both were stranded on a fly out and a strikeout. Pitt homered to open the bottom half of the inning to put the Cards in a 2-0 hole, but Zabala went 1-2-3 afterwards to limit the damage. As I mentioned, Zabala turned in a very good outing following the bad luck in the first. After giving up the HBP and a walk in the first and the solo home run in the second, Zabala went the final five innings with just three hits, no walks, and no HBP. She didn't allow another run, meaning she gave up just the one earned on the homer, and she came away with the win. It's easy to see why Coach Holly Aprile can get drawn into the trap of leaving pitchers in overlong. They give her good reason to think they'll get out of jams when needed. 

Pitt ultimately didn't threaten again. Their three hits were scattered across innings, and two of the three were erased by double plays. The sixth saw a "ball don't lie" situation after the leadoff batter reached. The second batter bunted, and Zabala fielded it cleanly and fired to second. Louisville tried to get the double play but couldn't turn it to first in time. They challenged runner's interference, but the call stood that the runner was safe at first. The next batter lined it straight to second, who tossed it to first to double up the runner who couldn't tag in time. 

That left Louisville's offense. Where we last saw them, they trailed 2-0 entering the third. As they rolled back to the top of the order, Daisy Hess again gave the Cards a golden opportunity, doubling to open the inning. Louisville's hitting woes with runners in scoring position continued, though. For the third straight inning, they failed to capitalize on having a runner on second with one or no outs. The fourth gave them another shot. Vanessa Miller was plunked to open the inning, and Bailey Richardson shot one right back at the pitcher to pick up an infield single. Ally Alexander stepped in and laid down what was likely intended to be a sacrifice bunt, but reached first to load the bases with nobody out. 

Kylie Goff was first pitch swinging, but fouled out to shallow right. Katie Thatcher was called on to bat for Paige Geraghty and worked a single through the left side on a 2-strike count. As Miller came home to score easily and Richardson followed her, the left fielder booted it just long enough for Alexander to try her luck and rounding the bases. As she got caught in a run down, Thatcher wisely moved up to third. Alexander was called out at the plate, and the call stood after review. Hess couldn't score Thatcher from third with two outs, but Louisville had tied it at 2. 

The Cards put runners on the corners in the top of the fifth, but it was with two outs. A flyout ended the threat. Another HBP to open the inning greeted Louisville in the top of the sixth, and small ball paid off with another error. After Alexander reached, Goff laid down another sacrifice bunt that turned into more for Louisville. This time, Pitt's 1b airmailed the throw, sending Alexander all the way to third. Geraghty fouled out trying to bunt (Why? There were runners on the corners with no outs.), but Goff stole second anyway. Daisy Hess flew out to center field and picked up a sacrifice fly RBI when Alexander scored an unearned run. Another review double checked that Alexander tagged up, and confirmed it, giving Louisville the lead. With the chance to add insurance in the seventh, Louisville went down 1-2-3, but it didn't matter as they took the 3-2 win. 

Game 2

Remember how I said Aprile sometimes leaves her pitchers in overlong? What if I told you that it sometimes extended over multiple games? Alyssa Zabala was called on to take the circle again in the second game and it... didn't go great. After Louisville left two on in the top of the first, Zabala once more plunked the first batter for Pitt. This one didn't come around to score, though, so the two teams left the first 0-0. 

The Cards again put two on with nobody out in the second, and again, they failed to bring a runner home. Alarming trend in yesterday's games... That's when things went sideways for Zabala. After she got a groundout to open the inning, Pitt's Esparza homered to score the first run of the game. You're thinking, "Ok, Zabala hit Griggs to open the first game and gave up a homer to Esparza in the second and then settled into a great game." I'm here to tell you, it didn't go that way again. A single was followed by an error that scored a run, and another home run scored two more. Louisville trailed 4-0 and they wouldn't recover. 

After another uneventful offensive side for Louisville, Zabala gave up a single to open the third and got the hook. Sam Booe kindly allowed the runner to come around after a sac bunt and another single to tag Zabala with her fifth run of the game. The two teams went 6 up, 6 down in the fourth. In the fifth, trailing 5-0 and running out of outs, Louisville found some offense. Chelsea Mack fouled out to open the inning, but Daisy Hess doubled with one out. Ally Alexander singled to put runners on the corners before Riley Frizell flew out. How Hess didn't score on the single or fly out is unclear to me, but Vanessa Miller made it moot when she sent the first pitch of her at bat over the right field fence. Cards now trailed just 5-3. 

Louisville's rally was short lived. The fifth inning went single, single (throwing error), passed ball, strikeout (whoo), three-run homer, single, pitching change (Holloway), double, RBI single, ground out, fly out. Woof. Louisville trailed 9-3 to a team that averaged just under three runs per game entering the second half of the double header. Gabby Holloway opened the top of the sixth with a home run, but the Cards left the bases loaded again to leave the inning down 9-4. Louisville loaded the bases again in the seventh, this time with one out, and couldn't score a run. The Cards left 11 runners on base in the game. 

Another opportunity to get back on track comes tomorrow.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

There will be three on the call today, as Daryl attends to wedding planning and I woke up feeling quite unwell. Paulie, Jeff, and Jared will hold down the fort and bring you all the joy and excitement of the week that was (including a Spring win for volleyball yesterday). 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!


Friday, March 29, 2024

Softball Visits Pitt -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Happy Friday, Cards fans! Jared checking in here after Daryl took yesterday for me. I want to thank Daryl for stepping up and taking Thursday's write as I did not get home from lacrosse until shortly after 10:00pm and still had editing to do. Being out in the cold isn't as bad when it's covering a Louisville team winning.

There was major news in the realm of Louisville Athletics yesterday, but it was unrelated to women's sports. We do want to take a moment to congratulate Pat Kelsey on being named the new head coach of Louisville men's basketball. We understand that the revenue earned from men's basketball impacts the budget for Louisville's women's sports and we want to see those women's teams be provided with every resource possible.

On the women's side of things, we shift our focus back to Louisville softball. After spending a majority of the month at Ulmer Stadium, the Cards hit the road to head to Pitt this weekend. The Cards are 20-13 on the year and have lost four of their last five games. ACC play has been tough for Louisville, as they spent a couple home weekends against top 20 Virginia Tech and top 5 Duke.

Pitt has had a troublesome start to the season to say the least. The Panthers enter the weekend 8-22 and hold an 0-9 record in conference play. Eight of those nine conference losses were by run rule.

The Panthers have been outscored 200-89 and have allowed double-digit runs against them on eight different occasions. Two players bat over .300 with only one breaking 30 hits. Pitt's bullpen has been anything but good this year. The six pitchers have a combined ERA of 8.80 with the best of the group posting a 5.89 ERA.

On paper, this is a series Louisville should win with ease. The Cards have a strong pitching group with Alyssa Zabala ranking near the top in the country in wins. Louisville also knows how to put runners on base and get the offense going.

The concern is Louisville's defense. Fielding has been a concern for a few seasons but has been poor the last few games. Clean up the fielding and the Cards can run against just about anyone in the country. Don't forget that every game against then #4 Duke went down to the wire and two of the games against Virginia Tech were just as close.

Due to weather concerns, the Cards and Panthers will play a double header today starting at 3:00pm ET. Both games will be streamed on ACCNX. The final game of the series will be Sunday at 1:00pm.

Happy Friday and Go Cards!


Thursday, March 28, 2024

LAX wins 15-7 over Xavier -- WBB transfers --- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Hey there

Daryl here checking in for Thursday... Jared and I made this switch this week.  He was out at the Lacrosse match over at Cardinal Stadium last night taking pics and talking to the victors following the match and we really appreciate those shots to share here daily.


The UofL LAX squad got the 15-7 victory over Xavier at L&N stadium.

The Cards got out to the 3-0 lead, scoring in the first 45 seconds of the match. Kylea Dobson and Kokoro Nakazawa had 2 goals each in the quarter where the Cards managed the 6-1 lead.   Dobson got the scoring going early again for the Cards to start the second quarter and UofL scored 6 more goals, giving up 2 to take the 12-3 lead into the halftime break. 


UofL scored only 3 goals in the second half after posting an insurmountable lead.  Nakazawa lead in goals scored for the Cards with 4 on 7 shots, Dobson had 3 and Perroni with 2. 


Sara Addeche and J Pleck split the goal keeping duties with Addeche picking up the win with 6 saves and 3 goals allowed.  


They said it 

Post  Xavier match comments 

Up Next

The Cards hit the road to top ranked Syracuse for an afternoon tilt Saturday 3/30 on the ACCNX.  

WBB News

Basketball transitions have been happening this 'march madness' for the commonwealth.  

For UofL WBB,  redshirt sophomore Alexia Mobley announced via her Instagram she would be transferring.  The 6-2 forward averaged 1.6 ppg.  

Photo: Jared Anderson

It was also reported earlier this week that Hennie van Schaik would be transferring from the program. She played in 15 games for the Cards in 2023-24

Photo: Jared Anderson

We at Cardinal Couple wish both of them much success on their journeys. 

Photo: Jared Anderson

Let's finish this week strong.  

As always, 
Go Cards

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Softball Falls to IU 11-6 -- Lacrosse Plays in L&N Today -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


A tough Tuesday night outing for Louisville Softball in Ulmer Stadium on Tuesday night. The Cards gave up six second inning runs en route to a 11-6 loss to the Hoosiers

After a scoreless first inning, IU put together two doubles and a single on starter Alyssa Zabala and reliever Sam Booe to put the Cards in a early hole. IU would tack on two more runs in the fourth and one more in the the sixth to have Louisville in a possible run rule scenario, but the Cards would battle back to score five runs, Riley Frizell's three RBI double the key blow in the bottom half of the inning

The outburst prevented the run rule but did not stop the IU scoring attack. Louisville would 

add a run in the bottom of the sixth to get within 9-6 but IU countered with two more runs in the top of the seventh for the completion of scoring and the 11-6 win. 

The Cards used four pitchers in the contest, Zabala, Holloway, Booe and Gray in allowing the 11 runs and 16 hits. 


Louisville Lacrosse will host Xavier for a midweek match today in the Cards football stadium, the second match this year Louisville LAX will have played there. 

The 7 p.m. start will be televised on the ACCN. 

It'll be the first ever draw control between the two squads; Xavier began their LAX program last season. 

The Cards are 5-6 on the season and 2-3 in ACC play. They have netted 143 goals this season, while allowing 146 .


IN A MOVE....that caught a lot of people in my circle by surprise, former VT head WBB coach Kenny Brooks is leaving the ACC and coming to the Commonwealth, to take over head coaching duties for the Kentucky Wildcats WBB squad.

Brooks replaces the fired Kyra Elzy. 

This is a smart and classy move by our rivals to the east. Brooks builds winners and programs beyond reproach. He also develops and recruits fantastic talent. Georgia Amoore. Liz Kitley. Need I say anymore?  And, he did get further in the NCAA Tournament this year than Jeff Walz did. 

All of the sudden, one game on Walz's schedule for 2024-25 just got a lot tougher. Brooks is a great coach and gets the most out of his players. I've had the pleasure of talking with Brooks several times at ACC Tournaments and came away impressed each time. 

This is hard to say, but I'll wish UK the best of luck in all but one of their games next year. 



Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Softball Hosts Indiana -- WBB Sweet Sixteen -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Softball Welcomes Indiana for Battle of the Border

Louisville softball is quick to being back in action this week with a 48-hour turnaround. The Cards welcome Indiana to Ulmer Stadium for a 6:00 pm first pitch. This one will be televised on ACC Network.

The Cards are coming off a 1-2 series result against #4 Duke in which Louisville won a game on a walk off home run. The two losses came by a combined three runs with the game-tying run on base both times.

Indiana is 22-9 on the season but ride a five-game losing streak, all at the hands of Penn State and #10 Florida. The Hoosiers did take down ranked Oregon early in the season but have dropped games to ranked Clemson and Arizona in the mix.

The Hoosiers hit .307 as a team with 193 runs scored and 38 home runs. Their bullpen has a cumulative ERA of 2.46 and 194 strikeouts.

I hope to be out there for this one weather pending.

Women's Basketball Down to Sixteen Teams

The NCAA women's basketball tournament is down to the Sweet Sixteen. While Louisville is no longer in the tournament, the ACC has three teams remaining: 2-seed Notre Dame, 3-seed NC State, and 7-seed Duke. The Blue Devils are the lowest seed remaining with most of the field being chalk. 

In  the dance? Duke, Colorado, Oregon St, Baylor,Stanford, Texas, LSU, South Carolina, Notre Dame, NCST, UConn, Indiana, Iowa, USC, Gonzaga and UCLA.

So it still appears as South Carolina will be the team to beat after winning both of their games by a combined 99 points. Other high seeds, such as 2-seeds Stanford and Notre Dame and 1-seed Texas had their hands full in the second round. 


The leaderboard after 48 games is: 

44-4   KStarkSr

43-5   Blue Lou, Jason

42-6   Nick O, Perry, Katy, Thomas

41-7  Jared

40-8  Paulie, Kenny S, JMCA

39-9  Karen

**If you don't see your name, you aren't a leader, hoss...sorry bout your luck.**..You can reques an update of your total from Jared, here in our comments. 

Who are you picking to win it all? Out of our top 20 participants, it's South Carolina  picked in 10 of the 20 brackets surveyed on top.. Louisville did get three winner predictions.  

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, March 25, 2024

Softball falls to Duke --- Post game thoughts after WBB loss to MTSU -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


A SEASON OF SO MANY "What if's" ...

I guess I'm just not used to seeing the Cards WBB season end this early in the NCAA Tournament. All day long Sunday, I sat and watched the tournament games, wishing the Cards could have had "that draw,or being glad we didn't get a differentt draw, getting envious when teams we had defeated in the season were playing well. Glad UofL didn't have to play LSU....they would have killed the Cards..A bitter, in some ways, but reflective Day Three of the tournament for me, watching games but also thinking and reflecting 

What if...the Cards had gotten a different draw in the brackets...what if UofL's guard play had been stronger....what if VanLith was still on the roster....what if,,, as you can see, it's easy to guess and second guess...

I rellected, also, that Cardinals squads tend to go a little further when there are qutie a few "lifers" (or three or four year players) that have been at Louisville the entire time on the roster. I also realize that changed dramatically (and maybe forever)  a few years ago with the advent of COVID, extra years, NIL and the jumping around of players from team to team,like checkers on a board. Jeff Walz won't use the term "play for pay" but it's here, kiddies...and will it contiunue to affect the game the way it has so far?. . 

The game changes. Players change. Coaches change. But, the women's game continues to grow and I love that, so i'll continue to cover the sport, write about it and tout it. 

Walz will get recruits and new players in, we'll find new players to fall in love with, talk about, see come and go and praise or moan about. I hope to see quite a few more seasons...I guess the cardiologists, nephrologists and other assorted doctors will help in that aspect. It helps to have a young crew here at Cardinal Couple. They'll pick up the flag when I can no longer carry it and go on with what we do here. Promote the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports. Even when it is awfully hard to today.. 


The Cards gave it a try late, but, could not make up the early defecit and catch the visiting Duke Blue Devils softball squad Sunday at Ulmer. 

The Devills build a 5-0 lead on Cardinals pitchers Alyssa Zabala, Sam Booe over the first five innings, while the Cardinals batters were ineffective against Duke's 11-0 Jala Wright. 

Louisville finally put a run on in the bottom of the fifth when Ally Alexander made it all the way around, aided by a Paige Geragthy single and Duke error. 

The Cards added two more runs in their final at bat, off duke releif pitcher Dani Drogemuller and had the tying run on base, but could not get the baserunners home. 

The loss takes the Cards to 20-12 overall and 1-5 in the ACC. 

Louisville closes out the homestand when IU visits Tuesday night.


We now have eight of the Sweet Sixteen established, with Duke,Colorado,South Carolina, LSU, Oregon St, Texas, Baylor and Stanford, all getting wins. Eight more games today...

KStarkSr and and Thomas have battled their way to the Pick Em lead. Nick O, Blue Lou and Jason are a footstep behind. We'll have a full standings report once the Sweet Sixteen is wstablished. Thanks to Jared for his work here.  




Sunday, March 24, 2024

Searching for Joy and Excitement - Sunday Cardinal Couple


(photo credits to Jared Anderson)
In our quest to share the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports, sometimes it's easier to find and share than others.

Ally Alexander holding it down at 2nd
The easiest place to find it this Sunday morning is from yesterday afternoon's extra inning Softball win over 4th ranked Duke.

While we've talked a bit about looking for offensive production from this team, the victory yesterday a low scoring affair, 2-1.  Credit, of course, also has to be extended to the opponents, Duke in this case, for a low scoring game based on and good defensive play and good pitching holding scoring opportunities low.

Regardless, it's a win over a Top 5 team, and they'll get another bite at the apple today at noon to try to win the series.

The game was scoreless through three innings with the Cards starting Sam Booe in the circle.  Duke would break through with a run in the 4th, but that would be all they'd get in the game, and the Cards would immediately answer to tie the game back up.

Just a head's up, the score recaps are going to be brief in this one.

With two outs in the 4th, Gabby Holloway homered to center field.

There's a Katie Thatcher in there
celebrating somewhere.
Again the game went fairly quiet with no scoring through the rest of regulation.  It would be in the bottom of the 8th inning that Katie Thatcher pinch hit for Chelsea Mack, and took advantage of the opportunity by lifting a long shot onto the right field berm.

Boom, two home runs, and a 2-1 signature win for the Cards.  If that's not joy and excitement, I'm not sure what is.
Booe pitched four innings, Gabby Holloway came in for 2.2, and Alyssa Zabala finished off the last 1.1.

Alyssa Zabala in relief

Check out Jared with the postgame interview with Thatcher:

As mentioned, the series continues today with a noon start for the rubber match.  Again the Cards will be looking for another signature win and the series win over a ranked team, a rare achievement in the UofL Softball program.  ACC Network Extra has the feed, which means we will likely be back to Suzanne Bush and Joanna Lane on the call.  You'll get no complaints from me on that announcing team.


A little harder to find too much joy and excitement here with an 18-12 loss to North Carolina the main news du jour.  There are bright spots to be found, however.

Nicole Perroni continues here consecutive game scoring streak finding the back of the net four times.  The Nakazawa sisters continue to impress accounting for a cumulative hat trick as Negai scored switch and Kokoro adding another.  And otherwise we see a multitude of offensive options.  Kylea Dobson scored a pair, Abby Scully, Tiffany Natoli, and Izzy Seikel all adding a goal to the mix.

North Carolina was just too much for the Cards, though.  Sara Adeche played three quarters getting five saves and J Pleck played the last only allowing one goal and stopping another.Louiville Lacrosse, The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcat

I did, individually, get a moment of joy and excitement with the Lacrosse team as I got tapped to pick up my niece at the airport from a flight arriving at close to midnight.  As I walked in, there were two "GoCards" minibuses waiting in the pickup lane, and I surmised there must be a team returning and my best guess was that it would be the Lacrosse squad, and sure enough they came cruising through  the terminal where I was waiting for my niece.  I did speak, very briefly, with Coach Teeter, but it was nothing much more than a greeting.  After a mid-day game and then spending the rest of the day in travel, the team and coach were clearly ready to collect their gear and head back to campus to sleep in their own beds.

The Cards will be next in action, welcoming Xavier for a 7pm game.  With the evening game and lighting situation, this one will be held at the L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium (not "Arena" as my fingers so desperately wanted to type).

Swimming and Diving

The splish splash Cards rounded up their NCAA Championship efforts with a podium finish in the 400 free relay.   Christiana Regenauer, Gabi Albiero, Julia Dennis, and Lucy Mehraban were the personnel in the third place finishing squad.

Add in a program best 4th place finish in platform diving for Else Praasterink along with the other performances and Louisville finished in 6th place overall.

Until the past few years, the team has not had a competitively relevant diving representation, but Praasterink has changed that, and has brought along another couple of divers to help out.  Hopefully we're on the verge of emergence of diving as a perennially competitive part of the program at UofL.

With that event completed, the team portion of the Swimming and Diving is complete, as well as the yard-measured portion.  The starting platform will now get shifted back about seven feet to begin the individual portion of the season where swimmers will be in action for their own individual glory, and racing in meters rather than yards.


Wait, joy and excitement in basketball at this point for the Cards, well, yes, indirectly.

The Athletes Unlimited Basketball season wrapped up last night and former Card Emily Engstler finished in 7th place overall.

In last night's final game, she scored 11 points on five field goals, one of which was a three.  The real joy and excitement, however, comes from the rebounding stats.  Engstler set the record for AU with 19 rebounds in a single game.

Quite impressive, and very on brand for the Engstler we knew here at Louisville.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Jared was at the helm of the CCRHP yesterday, with Daryl, Case, and myself participating.  Paulie was sidelined by Internet connection problems.

We searched for joy and excitement where we could find it, though the task was tough indeed.  We did cover the latest in basketball, softball, and lacrosse.

Cardinal Couple NCAA Bracket Challenge

We have gone from 64-32 in two days of WBB Madness, and we have a close pack battling for the lead in our Bracket Challenge. Atop the standings are Nick O and Thomas at 30-2 . Right behnd the are Perry, Jason and K Starks at 29-3. And the log jam at 28-4 stretches all the way back to Mt. Washington. 

We are just half way theough, grrab some ppocorn, put Jared on your speed dial and enjoy the show  despite out Cards leaving early  due to (fill in your own answer, there are no wrong ones)...

Here' s what Jated and Paulie have verified in the race: we've listed those with 20 or more wins. 

30-2   Nick O, Thomas
29-3  K Starks, Perry, Jason
28-4   Blue Lou, Karen, Jared, Wahoo Card, Katy
27-5   Jeff McAdams
26-6   Paulie, Kenny S.
25-7   Case, Curtis F
24-8   Sonya, Cindy
23-9   Arthur
21-11 Daryl

.  jmca


Saturday, March 23, 2024

Cards WBB Upset By MTSU; Softball Falls Late -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Louisville WBB Suffers Walz's First Round One Loss

Nyla Harris slid to the floor in disbelief as Merissah Russell's last-second heave bounced off the rim. The shot ended up much closer than I expected when it came out of the hand, and for a brief moment, I thought Louisville would be the ones doing the heartbreaking. It didn't turn out that way, though, and the Cards fell 71-69 to Middle Tennessee. The loss was Jeff Walz's first ever in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. As the announcers mentioned during the game, Louisville's magic number was 70, and Walz had stated that they would need at least that many to win against the Blue Raiders. Welp...

At the time that topic of discussion came up, Louisville held a comfortable lead up near 15 points. The Cards went on a 22-7 to close the first quarter and led 28-12. They shot 4-5 from three, which was a little out of their normal pattern, and they were 11-19 from the field in general. Louisville dominated in the first. They won in rebounds, turnovers, and fouls and led for 9:42. After that, the wheels kind of fell off. 

Going into the second, Louisville allowed a little push by MTSU to bring the lead down to 12, but the Cards were able to right the ship and extended it back to 18 after the media timeout. Louisville was up 38-20 with 4:18 remaining in the quarter. Then they began missing shots and MTSU began making them. Louisville didn't score again, giving up a seven-point run to close the half. The Raiders ultimately won the quarter 15-10 and trailed by just 11 at halftime. 

The Cards broke the MTSU run when Olivia Cochran scored the opening basket of the third quarter. Unfortunately, it was a brief interruption. Enjoying frequent trips to the free throw line, MTSU continued to chip away at the lead. Louisville scored again on a Jayda Curry layup, but that basket was followed by a three to make the score 42-37. MTSU was on a 17-4 run spanning two quarters and Louisville had no answers. They continued trading threes for twos and MTSU continued going to the foul line. The Blue Raiders took their first lead of the game with 49 seconds remaining in the third. Overall, they won the third quarter 24-12. MTSU was 5-7 from the floor in the third, including 4-4 from beyond the arc. They were 10-13 from the free throw line. Despite committing just three more fouls, Louisville took nine fewer free throws in the quarter. After watching a big lead disappear, the Cards headed into the huddle trailing 51-50. 

You might be able to guess what happened next. Based on how this Louisville team performed all season, you wouldn't be crazy to think they would fold. You'd hope that it wouldn't happen, given that this was the NCAA Tournament and half of the players on the team came to Louisville specifically for this moment. They didn't answer the call.  After trading a couple of baskets to open the quarter, Louisville went on a scoring drought that lasted 5:28. That's completely unacceptable in that stage of that game. MTSU stretched their lead to eight, and it could have gotten even higher. 

By the time Louisville started scoring again, it had become time to play the foul game with a team that shot nearly 80% from the line on the season. The Cards slowly chipped away at the lead, seeming like they might make something happen down the stretch. However, in critical moments, things went sideways. Louisville twice turned the ball over while inbounding, the second coming while down by just four with 40 seconds remaining. That Merissah Russell's heave even had the chance to win the game for Louisville was a bit of a surprise. The Cards didn't earn it, though. They'd have been stealing the game from a team that (although they probably shouldn't have been an 11-seed) came in undeterred and focused for 40 minutes.

I don't want to make a bitter comment just for the sake of it, but I can't help it. Someone should have at least taught Savannah Wheeler how to do the "L's Down" correctly. I'll also use this as my opportunity to be irritated by something else: this officiating crew was bad. It generally went both ways, but they took every opportunity to call a jump ball, including if players dove with their entire body on top of another player to "contest" the ball. MTSU played six players in the entire game. One of those players played just eight minutes. Despite that, after the Blue Raiders committed four fouls in the first quarter, they apparently committed just 11 over the remainder of the game. Louisville finished with 25, ten more than MTSU. They fouled in the late game situation only 3-4 times. MTSU took 33 free throws. Louisville took 10. That's probably enough of going down that path. 

Louisville got complacent in this game. For some reason, they decided that a team that shot as well as MTSU would not just shoot through their first quarter misses. But that's exactly what happened. As we saw many times throughout the season, Louisville seemingly ignored the scout, left players open that they shouldn't have, and tried to coast for 20+ minutes. As a result, they got what they got. This season's NCAA Tournament run falls short, breaking a streak of six-straight Sweet 16s and five-straight Elite Eights. MTSU will face LSU Sunday at 3PM. 

Jeff will provide a full bracket update in tomorrow's post when the first round has concluded. Nick O has a commanding lead as his bracket remains perfect after Friday.

The FRED Report 

"Lucy, I made the hotel reervations thru Sunday night..."

I don't know that it adds a ton at this point, but let's do the final FRED Report of the year. 

F-Free Throws: Louisville gets a capital 'F' here for their 90% effort. They were 9-10 from the line but took just six free throws after the first quarter. If they had taken 33, like another team in this game, and still shot 90% from the line, they would have won going away. But they didn't, so that's unfortunate.

R-Rebounds: Louisville had a larger advantage in this category at various points in the game, but they finished with just a 41-34 win in rebounds. Cochran led the team with 10 (also led in scoring with 17) to give her a double-double. MTSU had two very tall Russian centers. The Cards converted their win in the battle of the boards to win the second chance points category 15-7 as well. Capital 'R'.

E-Effort/Execution: Louisville finished with 15 turnovers and blew a 16-point lead. They had the five minute drought I mentioned, and as the game slipped away, they ultimately devolved into playing bad defense and hero ball. The last gasp at the end doesn't change how the game went overall. No letter. 

D-Defense: Same issues. You can't send a team to the line 33 times, regardless of how the refs are calling the game. Repeatedly, Jeff Walz told us that the team wasn't adhering to the scouting report. It seemed evident yesterday. No letter. 

F-R-_-_. See ya next year, Fred. 

Softball Gives Up Upset in Seventh

After the midday NCAA loss, Louisville softball was there to save the day with a big win over top-ten Duke. That is, right up until they didn't. Louisville led 2-0 entering the seventh, needing just three outs to make a huge statement to open the series against the sixth-ranked Blue Devils (side note: stupid blue teams). They couldn't get them. Duke scored three in the top of the inning, and Louisville couldn't respond. Turning an upset bid into an upsetting defeat. 

Louisville struck early. Chelsea Mack drew a four-pitch walk to open Louisville's offensive first and then beat out a potential double-play grounder. Daisy Hess rewarded the baserunning effort with a double to score the run and give Louisville an early advantage. That 1-0 lead would hold until the sixth inning, although it looked a bit nervy through the fifth when Duke stranded the bases loaded. 

Hess was involved again in the sixth, walking and then moving to third when the pitch she stole second on went wild. After a walk put runners on the corners with one out, Gabby Holloway knocked Hess in with a single. Louisville left a pair, though, and took the two-run lead into the final frame. 

Here, Coach Holly Aprile made an interesting choice. Alyssa Zabala had been very good in the game. Through six innings, she had given up just three hits and two walks. She worked out of a jam in the fifth. I get riding the hot hand. However, Zabala opened the inning preparing to face the top of the order for the fourth time. That's dangerous territory. She started with a walk and a bunt single. At that point, I think you should consider a pitching change to close out the game. Instead, Zabala was hung out to do it on her own. She got one out but gave up a double to make it 2-1. Aprile still left her in. A strikeout gave Louisville two outs, but a single scored the next two runners and set the final score of 3-2. After another walk, Zabala was finally relieved. Sam Booe walked another batter to load the bases, but induced a flyout to finish it. 

Louisville threatened in the bottom half, with Maddi Grant opening the inning with a double. A pinch runner moved the tying run to third on a Kylie Goff sacrifice bunt. Unfortunately, a strikeout looking and a ground out ended the game. The Cards will try again for their first conference victory of the season today at 1PM. The game will be carried on ACC Network Extra. 

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

We aren't sure how much joy we'll have but there will be plenty of excitement. Internet gremlins are threatening the host quantity, but we'll just see what we get. 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!