Spring Sports 2018 Preview
By Jared Anderson
February 2nd, 2018
February 2nd, 2018
As we enter February the spring sports will be starting up. Some teams hope to continue success from last season while others hope to build up from less than stellar seasons in 2017.
The biggest revenue sport in the spring is baseball. They have also been most successful in recent years. Last season the Cards found their way to Omaha for the fourth time in school history.
McDonnell's biggest offseason project was replacing pitchers. With Brendan McKay, Kade McClure, and Lincoln Henzman all off to the draft two starters and the closer positions became vacant. Several of the pitchers this coming season are freshmen.
Key returners include Josh Stowers, Devin Mann, and Tyler Fitzgerald. McDonnell will lean heavily of these guys in hopes of leadership in 2018.
This season is a young group: two seniors (both pitchers), 10 juniors, 14 sophomores, and 12 freshmen. The inexperience may hurt in some early season games against top opponents and against tight games down the stretch.
I expect this team to stay Top 20 all year and host up through the Super Regional level. However, there's work to be done to find the Cards back in Omaha again.
After missing out on the NCAA Tournament in 2017 changes were made in the realm of softball. Coach Pearsall heavily recruited and traveled quite a bit to bring in great players.
Key losses from last year included ace Maryssa Becker and leadoff Jordan McNary. Becker pitched in roughly 75% of the games from last season and McNary was the fastest player on the team and had one of the best on base percentages in the country.
After struggling with only two healthy pitchers last year this year's roster currently lists seven. With six of them being new faces to the program Megan Hensley is set to lead the way.
Other key returners besides Hensley include center fielder Nicole Pufahl, who was top two on the team in RBI's last year, catcher Jenna Jordan, and Sidney Melton, who has come back from ACL surgery.
Other than Notre Dame and Florida State the ACC offers no respectable competition in the eyes of the NCAA. Louisville will have to find a way to do more than win a series 2-1 every time. Non-conference play will be a big factor in determining if a post-season appearance will happen.
A new head coach doesn't solve everything. However, having Scott Teeter at the reins can fix most of it. The Canadian national team coach has found his way to Louisville and he brought alumna Kay Morissette in with him.
After losing over a dozen players from the controversy with Kelley Young the team has rebuilt itself to a full squad again.
This will be a rebuilding year for the team, which features over half new faces. The ACC has proven itself in recent years to be the dominant conference in collegiate level lacrosse. Conference play will be unforgiving, but unfortunately, non-conference isn't much easier. Lacrosse is similar to field hockey in which Louisville plays anyone that is ranked.
A record between .500 and .667 will be a successful season. There's a solid chance this team won't make the NCAA Tournament and that's okay. Like I said, this is a rebuilding year.