Women’s soccer prepares for archrival UC Bearcats

By on September 16, 2008

By Brett Jager

Sophomore defender Meredith Tolley didn’t know much about the rivalry between the University of Louisville and the University of Cincinnati when she came to U of L last year.
After her experiences from last year, she understands the importance of the game.
“Last year since I was new I didn’t really know about it,” Tolley said. “There was a video made about the rivalry with UC and it got me excited, but nothing was more exciting than the game last year. We just feed off everyone’s energy.”
Last season, the Cardinals beat Cincinnati in a 1-0 thriller in double overtime. Shannon Smyth now a senior scored the winning goal in last year and and said she hopes to make it a perfect 4-0 against UC in her career.
“We have beaten them the past three years and I’m hoping we can make it four,” Smyth said. “It will be awesome to take them on at home during my senior year.”
Head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes said she thinks the rivalry has become more important over the years.
“The rivalry has definitely grown,” Ferguson-Dayes said. “We could never beat them but it has turned into a healthy rivalry. It is very important because it is the first Big East game and it’s the closest Big East game.”
The game against UC is always the first Big East game of the year for the Cards, making the rivalry that more crucial.
“The game is magnified by 10 because both teams want to start the Big East with a win,” Ferguson-Dayes said. “A win helps with confidence going into the next series of Big East games.”
Smyth, a pre-season All Big East selection, knows better than anyone on the team the magnitude of the game.
“It is so important for regional and Big East rankings,” Smyth said. “It is always an emotionally charged, high energy game where both teams have respect for each other. It should be a fun game.”
Women’s soccer is one sport at U of L that does not receive consistent fan support.  Players said one day the stands will be almost full and the next there will be only fifty people in them. The team hopes to see the fans come out in droves for the UC game.
“It’s a big deal and it gets me going hearing people cheering for us,” Tolley said. “It gets me that much more excited and fired up about winning. It would be awesome to see more students at our games too.”
Fans from UC are expected to make the hour and a half trip down I-71 to Louisville for the game.
“Fan support is huge,” Ferguson-Dayes said. “They are the 12 th man and we have to utilize being home to our advantage.”
The game against UC will be played on Fri., September 19, at 7 p.m. at Cardinal Park.
Ferguson-Dayes has been very impressed with the team thus far and is hoping for a strong season.
“We had by far our best preseason and start of the season despite our record,” Ferguson-Dayes said. “We’ve played great and I’m excited to see what we’ll look like when we really peak.”

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