Thursday, October 30, 2014
TRICK OR TREAT CARDINAL STYLE
With Halloween rapidly approaching, we decided to look at some of the Cardinal women's sports treats that we've enjoyed and look forward to in the near future. We're not much on tricking anymore...our days of smashing pumpkins and soaping windows pretty much disappeared with the demise of Flock Of Seagulls ...although we'd love to see the Louisville Field Hockey team turn their sticks loose on a few jack o' lanterns or the Louisville Women's Soccer team try to kick a few carved pumpkins past Paige Brown in goal.
What the heck...let's go with the vegetable destruction scenario. I wonder if Katie Petrino could tee up a small pumpkin and knock it 200 yds. down the fairway or how many times the Louisville women's tennis and Volleyball squads could deliver serving aces on a ripe orange pumpkin. Could Sara Hammond dunk a pumpkin? Could Jude knock a couple of pumpkins through the net from trifecta range?
Cue up the Smashing Pumpkins and read on...
1) We've certainly enjoyed watching Louisville Field Hockey build a 14-4 record against possibly the toughest schedule in history. The Cards hope to collect more candy in their final regular-season game at Michigan State this weekend and progress deep into the ACC Tournament next week.
And, we'll be glad to place rocks in the trick or treat bags of the poll voters who assigned the Stick Cards 9th place in the latest rankings. Making Paulie look bad in predictions is a bad idea...
2) Hats off and extra Snickers bars to the Louisville women's golf team for a great fall schedule performance. The "putt and chip" Cards will take a few months off of competition and come out swinging in the spring in heightened ACC competition. We're confident they'll receive a lot of belated "treats" in their upcoming matches.
3) Louisville Volleyball has had a bag full of mixed results in their inaugural ACC season...but they'll be in action Halloween eve down at the KFC YUM! Center hoping to prank visiting Syracuse. Tess Clark has been a pleasant "treat" for the Cards in the middle this season and favorites Janelle Jenkins, Maya McClendon and Katie George haven't disappointed.
4) Louisville women's Soccer is undergoing a youth movement that makes us wonder if the majority of the squad isn't that far from dressing up and going door-to-door on Halloween Eve...but the promise of how these youngsters could finish the season and excel in future years promises to be an event bigger treat than a bag full of Twix, Candied Apples and Milky Ways.
OK...my sweet tooth is taking over. Enjoy your upcoming Halloween and let's hope our Football Cards can "trick" Florida State into a loss tonight in PJCS and give all Cardinal fans a great pre-Halloween treat!
(And if you have any left-over Kit Kat or Three Musketeers bars after the visiting hordes are gone...remember your ol' pal Paulie...)
I'VE GONE AND DONE IT NOW...AFTER HANDICAPPING AND THINKING ABOUT THE FOUR BREEDERS' CUP RACES ON FRIDAY...I'VE ACTUALLY POSTED MY PICKS OVER AT MY PERSONAL WEBSITE.
ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER THERE. LINK BELOW:
TELL YOUR STATISTICS TO SHUT UP -- THE FRIDAY PICKS
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
"THE" SCHIMMEL on campus could be an impact player
For three years, Jude Schimmel has run as an entry...to use horseplayers' terminology. She and Shoni were grouped into one entity that thrilled the women's college basketball world, had the love and admiration...rock star status of the Native American community and were the darlings of social and journalistic media.
Their ascent into the world of Division I basketball has been highly documented and they've been covered more than any other women's basketball players in the history of UofL WBB.
Now...one stands as the Schimmel on campus and the question begs...will Jude continue to be a contributing and impact player in her senior year now that "big sis" is out in the real world dazzling the WNBA and being a chief proponent for the Native American youth and way of life?
We're going to say "Yes!" here...and here's the reasons why.
1) Skills don't change just because the landscape has. Jude and Shoni had a remarkable chemistry of finding each other on the court, creating unbelievable plays and working as a tandem. Let's not forget...though...that Jude has had three years on that same court with Bria Smith, Sara Hammond, Shawnta Dyer and Sherrone Vails. There is a familiarity present and dazzling assists, steals and turnovers don't cease to exist or pose as a questionable possibility just because people graduate.
2) She's a shooter, she's a maker. Jeff Walz is fond of saying that he has girls tell him all the time that they are shooters. He tells them that that is fine...but he needs makers. Jude shot .323 from the three-point arc last season in an offense that had Shoni, Nita and Tia designated as the main trifecta choices. We've got a feeling her attempts will skyrocket in 2014-15 and the percentage will climb as well. In an probable offensive scheme that will stress inside play, we see Jude as that zone-buster that defenses will have to respect and keep a close watch on.
3) She's a passer, she's a thief. Walz will also tell you that he needs players to do specific things on a team to contribute to the success of the squad. Jude was second in total assists last season and second in total steals. And, let's not forget that she missed five games with a bum ankle. We think she'll be the paint players' best friend this season and a nightmare for opposing guards.
4) Is there leadership there? Last year, you knew whose team is was. Shoni was the on-court general. Yet, look at video from last year. Jude and Shoni conferred quite a bit during stopped possessions. She had to pick up something from sis. Although she's not the brash, outspoken and vocal person Shoni is...Jude is a highly intelligent, knowledgable student of the game. Those are pretty good leadership qualities as well...and we feel that you'll see her take over that 'on the court general' role with Sara and Bria.
This 2014-15 team will be a fun but challenging squad for Jeff Walz to coach this season. So much talent but nearly 1/3rd of it is so young. One thing Walz won't have to adjust to and tinker with is the steady, dependable court presence of Jude. To coin an old card-players' term...the players may have changed but the game remains the same. We see Jude at the table with a full house and lots of chips in front of her...
Hear Jude talk about "the future" at the link below:
LIFE AFTER SHONI
The enigma of NCAA College Field Hockey. The recent NCAA coaches poll was released yesterday. I also went to campus and did a great interview with head coach Justine Sowry before the rankings were release. I boldly predicted that the Cards would move up from seventh to fifth in the rankings...due to winning both games and Penn St. and Duke taking losses.
The Cards were placed ninth.
Dropping two spots? Seriously? Forget bringing in Dr. Phil to hold an intervention for the Poll voters....bring in a few stand-up comics...because this is nothing but a big joke. Class shows, though and there's still a few games left for Louisville to continue the win and shutout streak.
They'll probably be rewarded by being dropped out of the top 10 next Tuesday...
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
As the fall sports seasons start to wind down, its natural to start looking towards the possibilities of post-season play. I thought we'd take a look at the prospects for our fall teams for post-season play.
As much as it pains me as an ardent Volleyball fan, the post-season prospect for this team look pretty bleak at this point.
About the closest you could come to saying they have a signature win is the very early season victory over Minnesota, but with seven losses, they've dropped to 48th in the RPI at this point. There's still a fair bit of volleyball to be played in the season, so there's a chance for some redeeming wins. The rest of the volleyball season for the Cards is all ACC conference matchups, with bouts with Virginia, Miami, Duke, North Carolina, and Pitt still on the schedule.
The Cards showed that they could play with Pitt quite well if you pay no attention to the first two sets of Sunday's game behind the curtain. This holds out hope for a victory in Cardinal Arena when Pitt makes the return trip to Louisville. I think its also very feasible to UofL to get the victory over Virginia and maybe Miami, while wins over Duke and North Carolina are tall orders.
The ACC does not have a conference tournament in volleyball, and with prospects for an at-large NCAA bid being a real long-shot, it looks like our Volleyball team is probably going to be done in time for Thanksgiving.
The focus now has to be on skills development and working on developing the team for next year.
Soccer is similarly unlikely to be involved in post-season play. Also a middle-of-the-pack ACC team, UofL
The ACC does have a Women's Soccer tournament, but they only take four teams into it, and those four berths are already mathematically clenched by Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia and Notre Dame.
Similar to Volleyball, an at-large bid to the NCAA is a long-shot, particularly with any chance of resume' building being already in the rear-view mirror.
With one more game to play, the focus has to be on continuing to get this young team some experience under their belts. There are definite bright spots on this team, but it need some refinement.
Cross Country will be competing in post-season this Friday at Panorama Farms in Virginia. I believe the ACC has all of its teams competing in the Cross Country championship.
Louisville will also be hosting a Southeast Regional NCAA championship site on November 14th.
One game still to go on Saturday against a Michigan State team that has been just hanging around, in and out of the bottom of the Top 20 rankings all year (and currently #19 in RPI), Field Hockey could add a exclamation mark to an already excellent NCAA tournament resume'.
As for conference play, the ACC does take all seven Field Hockey playing schools for the conference tournament, and with all regular season conference games completed, UofL already knows it has the five seed in the tournament. While a five seed in a conference tournament sounds little discouraging, keep a few things in mind.
- The five seed came out of a three-way tie for third place where UofL got the worst of the tie-breaking attributes.
- The records of the top ACC teams as the worst ACC teams are only separated by 2 games. Parity is the name of the game, here.
- All seven of the ACC Field Hockey teams are ranked in the top 15 of the NFHCA Coaches Poll.
Given the above, even a mediocre outcome in the ACC tournament should see the UofL Field Hockey team snagging an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Of course, the team has shown that they can play with absolutely any team in the nation, so we certainly consider the possibility that they could rise to the occasion and snag the automatic bid by winning the conference tourney.
Regardless, I think its still to start practicing drawing out a 19-team bracket...something that basically none of us have any experience doing...so you can figure out where UofL is going to be in it. (hint: draw a 16-team bracket then just add a play-in game to three of the regions)
As another side note on Field Hockey: All of the ranking number above were taken from the past week's rankings. Field Hockey ranking updates occur on Tuesday, so look for an update to these numbers later in the day. With no losses this past week, look for UofL to go nowhere but up from its current #7 spot. With #6 Duke and #4 Penn State having lost over the weekend, its certainly possible that we could see a two spot jump to #5.
Monday, October 27, 2014
After a nice trip Sunday up to Bloomington Indiana to see Justine Sowry's Cardinal Field Hockey squad take on Indiana, Paulie reports in with Worldwide about the trip, the game, and some forward-looking discussion about post-season play.
FIELD HOCKEY SHUTS OUT HOOSIERS
|Halftime festivities with inflatable sticks and ball|
On a beautiful mid-70's afternoon at the IU Field Hockey complex, Louisville wasted little time taking the lead. Drawing a penalty corner, Chile Garcia provided the feed to senior Alyssa Voelmle to get the Cards on the board the first time just three minutes into the contest.
|WE sat with IU fans in the first half. They did not like us.|
It took the spirit and life out of the 200 or so IU fans in attendance. The Cards took the 2-0 lead into halftime. The 40 or so Cards fans ramped up the volume even more.
IU made several strong attempts to get on the board early in the second half but Cardinal goalie Sydney King was a deflection machine and the defense kept the Hoosiers side of the scoreboard blank.
Shannon Sloss added the insurance score with a little over seven minutes left in the game . The Cards improve to 14-4 and will play their regular season finale in East Lansing, MI on Saturday against the Mich. St. Spartans.
|Post game Cards in front of the Cardinal section.|
The field hockey field is nestled high on a hill in a sports complex on the IU campus that also includes the soccer field and several practice facilities. Plenty of parking...and handicap accessible walkways that lead to the fields. We enjoyed the trip !
(And my mother-in-law is now 2-0 in Field Hockey games attended.)
Louisville women's Soccer probably didn't enjoy their road trip too much...falling to #7 Notre Dame 1-0 in South Bend. A goal against Paige Brown in the eighth minute of play was all the Irish needed to send Louisville to 7-8-2 on the season and 3-4-2 in ACC play.
UND dominated the stats 22-5 in shots and 8-3 in shots on goal. Brown recorded a season high seven saves in the loss.
The Cards close out the regular season on Saturday, Nov 1st when they bring the VT Hokies to Lynn Stadium. Game time is 8 p.m.
Volleyball was on the road also on this busy sports Sunday...playing in Pittsburgh. The Panthers prevailed, though, sending the Cards home with a 3-1 loss. After getting schooled by Pitt in the first two sets 25-15, 25-17...Louisville rallied after the break to take a 28-26 win...capitalizing on a Pitt service error and Janelle Jenkins serving ace to break a 26-26 tie.
The Cards were in a position to force a fifth game...leading 19-14 and at set point 24-22...but couldn't seal the deal...seeing Pitt break a 27-27 tie due to a Cardinal error and Kate Yeazel kill.
The Cards got 14 kills from Jenkins and a double-double from Tess Clark (10 kills, 11 blocks).
Louisville returns home to host Syracuse on Halloween night. Game time at the KFC YUM! Center is 7 p.m.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
LOUISVILLE GETS WAKE FOREST IN OPENING ROUND
Although the actual ACC Field Hockey Tournament is a couple of weeks away, the pairings have been made for the event in Durham, NC from Nov. 5-7. Once again, I am baffled by the way they do these things. Louisville is a #5 seed. they'll face Wake Forest, a #4 seed.
Louisville finished with a 3-3 record in ACC conference play. So did the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest. The two schools played in the regular season. Louisville defeated WF 2-1...in Winston-Salem.
So, tie-breaker goes to the Cards, right? Not in the wacky world of ACC Tournament seedings. Wake gets the #4... Louisville the #5.
|"Jim...the ACC Field Hockey Touramant is illogical!"|
Other rankings are non-nonsensical as well. UNC finished conference play 4-2 and is #1 in the nation. So...it makes sense they would be #2 seed, right? Virginia gets the #1 seed. Virginia also gets the first round bye...since seven teams are in ACC Field Hockey.
Boston College gets the #3 seed They beat Louisville and were 3-3 in conference. Duke is the #7 seed. They were 2-4 in ACC play. Syracuse is the #6 seed. They went 2-4 in conference also and got the #6 seed because their school name starts with an "S".
|Could Bassy play Field Hockey?|
Thursday, Nov 6th.
#5 Louisville vs #4 Wake Forest 11 a.m.
#7 Duke vs. #2 UNC 1:30 p.m.
#6 Syracuse vs, #3 Boston College 4 p.m.on, IN
Friday, Nov 7th.
#1 Virginia vs. Game 1 winner 1 p.m.
Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov 9th.
Championship game 1 p.m.
The Cards travel to Bloomington, IN today to face the IU Hoosiers today at 1 p.m. It's a beautiful fall day. Hop in the car and make the 2 hour drive to Bloomington to cheer the Cards on. Non-conference wins are important to keep the Cards ranked at #7 in the nation.
|WorldWide rails about|
NO NEED TO BOO...WE'VE INCLUDED THOSE IN THE BROADCAST. CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO!
Saturday, October 25, 2014
The second edition of the Cardinal Couple podcast. In this episode, we're covering the Field Hockey win over UC Davis.
I was hoping to do a podcast on the Women's Soccer loss against UVA, but technical difficulties made that impossible. Each time I learn how to work the process better so hopefully you'll be seeing more of these in the future.