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Sunday, April 7, 2024

Strong Starts - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Lacrosse Falls Short vs Virginia

The Cards played close with 11th ranked Virginia for three quarters before running out of gas in the 4th quarter.  The Hokies go home with the 13-8 win.

I don't consider myself a real expert on Lacrosse, regardless of how much I enjoy watching it, but it seems, at least late in this season that the Cards are playing competitively against some really good teams for much of their games with them, with the other teams coming out in the closing minutes and putting up big numbers on Louisville.
Nicole Perroni with her 50th straight
game with at least one goal

Yesterday was no exception to this theme.  With a score of 8-7 after three quarters, even though the advantage was to Virginia, obviously the Cards were still competitive in the game, with a very real chance to win it.  Then Virginia went out and won the 4th quarter by a 5-1 margin.

Allegra Catalano opened the scoring in the game about five minutes in, but UVA would answer with three straight before Negai Nakazawa would answer to close out the quarter.  Sister Kokoro opened the 2nd, but again UVA would answer, this time with a pair.  Kylea Dobson got on the board, and again, UVA answered with a pair.  Finally Nicole Perroni extended her consecutive game scoring streak to 50 in the closing seconds of the half.

Kokoro Nakazawa got a brace in
the game yesterday

The 3rd quarter was pretty quiet on the scoring front.  UVA struck first, but UofL would strike back with their only back-to-back goals of the game, the first by Maggie McMahon, and the second by Kokoro Nakazawa.

So, at 8-7 after three quarters the Cards were solidly in the game, playing well against a quality opponent, but the 4th quarter went UVA's direction in a decisive manner.  The Hokies went on a 5-0 scoring run for the first 10 minutes or so, pushing the lead out the 13-7.  McMahon would tack on one final goal for the Cards in the closing couple of minutes to narrow the margin slightly to 13-8, but that would be it.

Negai Nakazawa continues to imperss
Sara Addeche played a complete game in goal, and tallied a respectable 11 saves in the 60 minutes.

What will it take for UofL to round the corner?  They've shown, throughout the season, including yesterday, that they have the talent level to play competitively with top teams, but seemingly not the stamina?  Like I said at the top of the article, I don't consider myself a real expert on Lacrosse, but perhaps this is a question of depth?  We've got top notch players, but not enough of them to keep fresh legs on the field?  I'm not sure, but it does feel like this program is on the cusp of breaking out.  Maybe with another year or two of solid recruiting we can move up into the upper echelons of the ACC, and correspondingly, national rankings.

Softball Also Falls Short In The End

Hover Daiy Hess getting the out
at shortstop

The pattern repeated at Softball, as FSU avenges their Friday loss with an 8-4 defeat of the Cards.

Like Lacrosse, though, the Cards were competitive with FSU early, one of the top teams in the ACC, and Top 20 nationally.

To their credit, the Cards did get the offense rolling early.  Daisy Hess, lead off with a single in the 1st inning, and scampered over to 2nd on a passed ball.  Riley Frizell connected with a solid shot out to center for a single, advancing Hess to 3rd.  Mia Forsythe replaced Frizell for the base running, and promptly stole second.  Vanessa Miller drew a walk to fill the bases for a Bailee Richardson single down the left field line.  The hit did get past the fielder at 3rd, giving Hess and Forsythe the time and space they needed to cross the plate.
Just don't try to steal second on Kiley
Goff, it won't go well for you.

Things would be quiet until the 4th inning.  FSU got their first with a homerun, perhaps the first sign of trouble for Brooke Gray in the circle as the FSU batters were starting to get the bat on the ball.  They weren't quite successful in getting hits in play, much...yet, but the writing was on the wall.  A pop-up did get an out for the Cards, but again, it was bat on ball contact, and then a double from FSU was the end for Gray.  Gabby Holloway came in and go the final out of the inning, limiting the damage to just a single run.

Bailee Richardson about to run over
Jared, but she will catch that ball,
The Cards would mitigate the FSU homerun in the bottom half of the frame.  Kiley Goff drew a walk, and advanced on a Chelsea Mack sacrifice.  She would then score on a ground rule double by Hess.  Wait, I hear you say, isn't a ground rule double on a 10 foot fence, like they have at Ulmer, extremely unlikely?  Yes, it is, in this case, however, the ball managed to find a week spot in the bottom of the fence out in left field and managed to slip under it.  After four innings, it was 3-1 to the Cards.

FSU was accelerating, however.  They came out in the 5th inning and put three across the plate, taking the 4-3 lead.  Holloway did finish out the inning, but wouldn't return for the 6th.

Riley Frizell concentrating on catching
the ball at 1st.
UofL was able to claw one of those back.  It started with Richardson drawing a walk, followed by a Holloway contact that went back to the FSU pitcher.  Holloway, definitely known more for her power than speed, was never going to beat out that throw, but Richardson did make it to 2nd.  Paige Geraghty, known more for her speed than power, singled out to center field, scoring Richardson.  Geraghty did advance to 2nd on the throw to home to try to catch Richardson, but alas, the Cards were not able to get anything much else going the rest of the inning.

Sam Booe came in to pitch in the 6th, but in the course of only getting one out, ended up with the bases loaded.  Searching for answers, Alyssa Zabala came to the circle.  While she did get the other two outs in the inning, all three of those runners would score thanks to a field error and a pair of pop-ups and runners advancing on the after tagging the base.

The Cards would have no more offense left in them, but FSU would add one more in the 7th, first off finishing Zabala's day with a triple.  Lindsey Mullen would finish out the game, though that runner on 3rd would score to bring the final score to 8-4.

The Cards will finish the series today with a noon start at Ulmer.  Obviously they'll be looking to with the series, but it will certainly be a question of who they'll have in the circle after throwing just about the whole bullpen at FSU yesterday.

Hopefully it will be a good one, and you can find it at Ulmer Stadium, of course, but also on ACC Network Extra.

A Note and Slight Correction on Volleyball

Case brought you the best update he could yesterday from Volleyball spring play against UK in Lexington given the information he had available to him.  Unfortunately that wasn't much information.  I was, to the surprise of no one, in attendance, and can give a bit more insight.

The "official" official as anything is in spring volleyball action, of course, was a 2-2 tie.  I came away with the notion, however, that I'm calling it a Cardinal win.

The Cats won the first two sets and looked like a quite put together team.  They did switch their Libero jersey over to Molly Tuozzo, a sophomore, from Eleanor Beavin who has held the jersey for several years now, perhaps that position is a bit less settled this year?

In any case, the Cards would battle back in the 3rd set, and all three of the early sets were very close in points with one of them adding a bonus point or two.  The 4th set, however, was all Cardinals, finishing it out 25-15, if I remember correctly.

Of course, 5th sets are definitely not guaranteed in spring play, and UK Head Coach Craig Skinner had definitely had enough, indicating that they were done for the night, leaving the match score with an unsatisfying tie.  The Cards were raring to go for a 5th set, and in talking with some of the players, were actually a bit angry that UK bailed on it, so for that reason, and because UofL was carrying so much momentum from the 4th, I'm saying the 5th would've gone to the Cards.  We'll never know for sure, of course, but I expect the UofL squad will remember this when it comes time to play them in the Fall in Memorial Coliseum.

Quick lineup notes for the Cards, Charitie Luper only played back row, perhaps still nursing her sprained ankle from a few weeks ago?  Or maybe it was just an opportunity to give Alanna Bankston and Ava Utterback some swings on the left side.  Both Luper and Anna DeBeer again played without their knee braces, so they seem to be a thing of the past for good, now.

A amusing side note, the father of Cardinal Forever Caitlin Welch (now Freudenberger) was the up official for the match.  It's always a pleasure to visit with Kevin Welch, and I can attest that he governed the match fairly despite his association with either team.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Case, Paulie, and I were on the call yesterday.  It felt like a quick hour, which is always the case when you're having fun.  Of course, we covered some bits about basketball, still adding news to the feed, as well as Softball and Lacrosse.


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