--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photos by River City Cards Staff
In a few hours, 2018 will officially conclude. It had been a wild year for many, marked with wide success and shortfall.
Here’s how 2018 will be remembered:
The UofL women’s basketball team was the brightest moment of the year. They finished 36-3, after coming up short against Mississippi State in the NCAA Final Four. The loss was aided by a blown call by the officials that would have sent the Cardinals to the line. Jeff Walz and Co. weren’t too shabby. They beat national-champion Notre Dame… twice. The first time was a a 100-67 rout on January 11th, and the second was to win the ACC. Louisville opened the year 20-0, assisted by Asia Durr and Myisha Hines-Allen.
Louisville field hockey keeper Ayeisha McFerran was a member of the Irish National Team, and was one of the best keepers in the world. This year, she allowed only 1.24 goals per game.
Numerous coaching hires such as Chris Mack, softball coach Holly Aprile, soccer coach John Michael Hayden and football coach Scott Satterfield made 2018 a busy year for Vince Tyra and the UofL athletics committee personnel committee.
River City Cards also covered a non-UofL sport for the first time in 2018, taking on the Louisville Bats. While the Bats record at the end of the season was not good, Cincinnati Reds top prospect Nick Senzel looked like the real deal, before he ended the season on the disabled list.
2018 was also the first year of the Bluegrass World Series. The tournament featured collegiate summer wood-bat teams taking on a team comprised of former Major-League gems, who were managed by Reds legend Johnny Bench.
2018 was a disappointing year for Louisville football. Bobby Petrino and company went 2-8, before Petrino was axed. The Brian VanGorder defense allowed more than 50 points on seven occasions.
While early in the search for a new head coach, Purdue’s Jeff Brohm was a hot name. Most of the nation was stunned when Brohm opted to remain in West Lafayette.
Tyra still made a good hire, tabbing Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield to take the reins.
Mississippi State ended numerous Louisville sports. The Cardinals lost to the Bulldogs in the Men’s NIT, the women’s basketball Final Four, and TaxSlayer Bowl (It took place close enough to 2018). The Bulldogs were also tied to Dan McDonnell for their head coaching search. Luckily, Louisville won McDonnell.
Cardinal Stadium’s expansion opened during Week Two, and brought the stadium full-circle. A 2-10 year was not the way to bring it in the right way. The new addition also brought out how badly the seats needed to be replaced in the rest of the stadium.
Long-time Louisville men’s soccer coach Ken Lolla resigned in early December. He stated it was time to seek new challenges after leading the Cardinals on the pitch for 13 seasons.
2018 was a memorable year. Only time will tell what 2019 is like.
Happy New year!