The NCAA field hockey tournament wrapped up shortly before Thanksgiving. Although Louisville fell in the first round to Delaware, I wanted to see how far the Fightin' Blue Hens would go. They didn't disappoint, as Delaware defeated Louisville, Duke, Princeton, and North Carolina to win the championship. Losing to the eventual NCAA Champion isn't bad, but neither is a 15-6 record and a top-10 finish.
The Cards had one of their best seasons ever. Their 6-0 and 9-1 starts to the year were some of the best in school history. U of L had a 3-3 conference record, tied for the third in the ACC.
Louisville fell in the first rounds of the ACC tournament and NCAA tournament- a rough finish for the season they had, but managed to come in at #9 in the final polls.
The Cards outscored their opponents 57-26, with an average of 2.71 goals per game. The Cards had 143 corners, compared to 70 by opponents. Trager Stadium averaged nearly 400 people in attendance per game.
U of L was led by freshman Minout Mink with 15 goals. Senior Lotta Kahlert was close behind with nine and graduate student Lizzie Gittens contributed six more.
Their goals were helped by senior Erin McCrudden's 18 assists and and junior Marigrace Ragsdale's 11 assists.
On the defensive end of things sophomore Ayeisha McFerran had a stellar year at goalkeeper. She recorded 77 saves on the year and averaged 1.27 goals per game. McFerran recorded six shutouts on the season in 20 games played.
Who is leaving Erin McCrudden- She spent all four years at Louisville and became a starter during her junior year. She contributed major goals, such as the game-winner against North Carolina in 2015.
Lizzie Gittens- A graduate transfer from England, Gittens came to U of L to finish off her final year of eligibility. She was third on the team in scoring.
Shannon Sloss- Sloss was with the Cards her entire career. She took more of a backseat role in her final two years, but was their to steer her teammates in the right direction.
Gianna Perone- Perone was here all four years and became one of the Cards' best defenders in her later years.
Hailey Netherton- a native of Louisville, Netherton was a Cardinal before she ever stepped foot on campus. She provided a spark off the bench in tight games.
Lotta Kahlert- The German star spent her whole college career at Louisville. She recorded 20 goals and nine assists during her career.
Stephanie Byrne- She actually red-shirted her freshman year so only played three years, but is set to graduate. She tallied 13 goals in three seasons.
Elina Pereira- Pereira was a red-shirt during her freshman year, but played in eight games in her career to record four saves. She is set to graduate in the spring.
What to expect in 2017 Louisville is losing some major players in Kahlert, Gittens, and McCrudden. Those are some big shoes to fill, but the roster is loaded with plenty of young players. Mink and McFerran are returning to provide a stable foundation for next year's team. Expect Coach Sowry's squad to be in the top-10 once more and make another trip to the NCAA tournament,