The University of Louisville is known for their successful athletics program. However, the women's soccer team is not the team one would think about when looking at success. They have had three winning seasons since 2009 and zero since 2014. Is this the year things turn around for the ladies of the pitch?
Fortunately, Coach Ferguson-Dayes didn't lose too many important pieces from last season. Taylor Bucklin, the starting goalkeeper for most of her collegiate career, graduated and left a hole to be filled. Caroline Kimble was another who saw a fair amount of playing time. Andie Lakin, Mhairi Fyfe, and Hannah Harris graduated, leaving many holes in the lineup.
Then others also left the team. Tina Marolt, Bridget Stewart, Katheleen Souza, Lauren Ellis, and Jill Vetere all transferred out, mainly to be closer to home. Maddie Spencer dropped soccer altogether.
Coach Ferguson-Dayes recruited some excellent talent to fill holes left by many departures. Kennadi Carbin transferred from Mississippi State and is a force to be reckoned with on offense. In the midfield we see the addition of a hometown player in Emina Ekic, from DuPont Manual. Mollie Rouse is another freshman midfielder who is away from the team, competing with the Under 21 national team. The English standout will be on the pitch roughly around the start of September.
Goalkeeper Gabrielle Kouzelos and Tori Gabor have been battling it out for the starting goalkeeper position. Kouzelos appears to have the advantage in Coach's eyes, but both should see some good playing time this season.
Defense Shelby Cohen went down in the offseason with a season-ending injury - a major blow. Arianna Ferraro switched to a midfielder/defender position to help out. On the other corner will be Niamh Nelson when she returns from her injury, probably in September. Gabrielle Vincent and Inger Katrine Bjerke are the starting center backs. The duo was crucial last year, preventing numerous goals.
Midfield Alison Price will be the senior leader in the midfield. Price is a physical player and is not afraid to back down. She will probably be joined by freshmen Emina Ekic and Mollie Rouse. The final midfield position will go to Callie McKinney, who had an excellent freshman year.
Forward The starting forwards will be Brooklynn Rivers and Kennadi Carbin. Rivers led the team in goals last season and Carbin's speed and agility will make her difficult to defend. Allison Whitfield will play relief near the end of the halves, but scored a few goals last season.
Preview UofL has potential for an early season run. They play a couple less-than-stellar opponents early on. Their first true challenge will be when they visit Kentucky. The Wildcats have dominated the Cards in recent years. Their next big test won't be until ACC play.
The ACC has not been nice to the women's soccer team. When looking at the bottom of the barrel the Cards have been there. With 10 conference games even a goal of .500 would be a major step up. With that being said Louisville can definitely pull an upset run- don't forget the upset of #1 North Carolina in 2015.
Jared's Prediction vs Boston University - Win vs Miami (OH) - Win @ Indiana - Loss vs Marquette - Win @ Kentucky - Loss @ Southeast Missouri State - Win vs Purdue - Win vs Gardiner-Webb - Win @ Boston College - Win vs Florida State - Loss vs Miami (FL) - Loss vs Duke - Win @ Clemson - Loss @ Virginia - Win vs Pittsburgh - Win vs Wake Forest - Win @ North Carolina - Loss @ NC State - Win
A winning season can be done. The talent of this year's team will push the Cards a long way. Playing on the road has been difficult for Louisville in the past, but the Cards will pull out some road wins.
A 12-6 and 6-4 in the ACC would be a major turnaround from recent years IF they can do it.
Louisville opens the season on August 18 at home against Boston University.