Category Archives: Sports

The Sports section is your source for all things athletic at U of L. We try our best to cover every game, match and event. Expect nothing less than solid play-by-plays and high-resolution photos of your favorite Cardinals.

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University of Louisville, Adidas strike new deal

By Annie Moore

University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich together with Adidas executives announced on Thursday the University’s new contract with Adidas. The new deal extends the partnership between the two for another four years, through 2018-19.

The Portland, Or. based company will supply uniforms, footwear, and accessories for all 23 of Louisville’s athletic programs.

“It’s a very exciting day for us in the athletic department,” Jurich said. “The number one objective I had going into this, was how do we insure that our student-athletes have the premiere uniforms and apparel as we move forward, and this contract accomplishes all off those things.”

In addition to athletic outfitting, Adidas will provide ‘extensive investments in the the Cardinals’ athletic programs including advertising campaigns, equipment room expansion, digital/video technology, support for national champion spirit squads, a formalized sport administration internship program… and co-branding opportunities… including TaylorMade equipment within the UofL Golf Club.’ according to the press release issued from the athletic department on Thursday.

Louisville football head coach, Bobby Petrino was on hand as well, and excited about the new deal.

“This is a great thing for our players, to be able to have the top of the line uniforms, the materials that we’ll use, to keep them dryer, lighter, faster, and then the apparel,” Petrino said. “One of the things I’ve always felt is important is for your players to look good, feel good, you have a chance then to go out and play well.”

Petrino was reluctant to comment on whether the Cards would be unveiling on of its new five uniforms in the opening game against Miami on September 1, but instead said that it would be very fun to see what happens with the apparel down the road.

“I think you’re going to see  things on the cutting edge,” Petrino said. “New things that will be exciting for everybody, the players, the recruits and the fans. We’re going to be on the edge of the fence as far as the top of the line with the way you get to look, the way you get to dress and the attitude you play with.”

The deal will also benefit fans, with additions such as new spirit shirts for student season ticket holders and ACC inaugural year fan giveaways.

“It’s going to be fun now, get ready because it’s going to be fun,” Petrino said. “I can’t wait, to be honest with you.”

 

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Schimmel, Slaughter, Taylor selected in WNBA Draft

Shoni Schimmel was selected eighth in the 2014 WNBA Draft by the Atlanta Dream on Monday night.  The 2014 All-American joins former Louisville star Angel McCoughtry, the two are the only two thousand point scorers in program history.

Antonita Slaughter was selected 35th by the Los Angeles Sparks, while Asia Taylor was selected 36th by the Minnesota Lynx.

Louisville is the only school in the 2014 WNBA Draft to have three players selected.

The three will debuted for their respective teams on Friday May 16, the opening night for the WNBA.

Photo by Michelle Lewis

Will Gardner steps up to the spotlight

By Sam Draut

Waiting in the wings for the past two seasons behind Teddy Bridgewater, redshirt sophomore Will Gardner is now at the center of attention.

Replacing one of the programs greatest quarterbacks will be no easy task, but Gardner directed the offense well on his first big stage without the shadow of Bridgewater.

Gardner looked sharp and in control, completing 32-37 passes for 542 yards and four touchdowns in the Spring Game on Friday night.

“It was good to see Will in command of the offense, I liked the way he carried himself, I like the way he took charge in the huddle,” coach Bobby Petrino said. “He looked comfortable in delivering the football and for the most part, he was very accurate with his throws.”

On the third play of the game, Gardner connected with sophomore wide receiver James Quick for a 62 yard touchdown pass down the sideline.

“That was exciting, we said in the huddle we wanted to set the tone early,” Gardner said.

Quick, who believes Gardner throws a harder ball than Bridgewater, reeled in a team high 152 receiving yards.

“He played a great game, he played a well-rounded game,” Quick said.

Quick wasn’t the only receiver Gardner targeted, seniors DeVante Parker, Gerald Christian, and Eli Rogers all had over 100 receiving yards.

“We have a lot of playmakers, it’s hard to get the ball to everyone because we have so many, and it makes the quarterback’s job easier,” Gardner said.

“We have a very good wide receivers corps. DeVante Parker is a very special player, and there’s a good deal of speed and talent around him,” Petrino said. “That’s really going to help our quarterback. He just has to know that the defense and reads are going to dictate who is open, and then he just has to get the ball to that guy and let him make a play.”

With receptions from seven different players, Petrino was most impressed with the way Gardner distributed the ball and went through his progressions.

But, even with his stellar performance, Gardner was hesitant to give himself praise, remaining humble after a dominating audition as the predecessor of Bridgewater.

“We had good pass protection and guys were getting wide open.  When guys are getting wide open, you can’t miss them,” Gardner said. “I put the ball where I can and they make plays.”

Despite delivering the ball well to receivers throughout the night, Gardner did have one mistake, overthrowing a crossing route that was intercepted by Chucky Williams midway through the second quarter.

Gardner was able to learn from his few mistakes and adjust throughout the game.

“He missed one early in the second half, he kind of forced the ball and threw it out of bounds, over DeVante’s head, and we had a guy open down the middle, but he came back in the second half and hit him twice,” Petrino said. “So, he learned as the game went on, and that is going to be important because he is going to have to learn as the game goes on and not make the same mistake twice.”

After an impressive performance to wrap up spring practice, Gardner’s individual improvement becomes critical as players split from the coaches until summer camp.

“I have to grow into the playbook, become more confident, hit the weight room, get bigger and stronger,” Gardner said.

So now, a quarterback that has appeared in just six games and completed 8 of 12 passes for 112 yards in his collegiate career takes over a lethal offensive scheme and a program headed into its first year in the ACC.

“Will Gardner is getting better. He’s getting his timing down and putting the ball where it needs to be more frequently, but we still have to get better there. He’s a very hard worker, he’s got a great attitude and he’s a natural leader, we just have to get him in the situations that he’s going to see in a game so that it’s not a shock for him,” Petrino said.

And as for being a quarterback without the shadow of Teddy Bridgewater looming in the starting spot, Gardner is ready for his time.

“It’s different, but I enjoy it, I have a great group of support around me, great teammates and they all support me,” Gardner said.

 

Photo by Tricia Stern

Kevin Ware transfers to Georgia State

By Noah Allison

Junior guard Kevin Ware has found his new home and it’s in a familiar place. Ware will be returning to his home in Atlanta, Ga. to play for Ron Hunter’s Georgia State Panthers.

Ware, the six-foot-two guard, only played nine games in the 2014 season before reinjuring his leg against Missouri State.

Ware was granted a medical red-shirt and still has two years of eligibility left to play.

Georgia State is a member of the Sun Belt conference. The Panthers went 25-9 overall with a 17-1 in-conference record. They went on to lose to Clemson in the NIT.

Ware will be joining a number of prominent transfers on Georgia State’s current roster. Most notable is former Kentucky guard Ryan Harrow who along with Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter played as one of the best mid-major back courts.

Along with Harrow Georgia State got considerable contribution from former Virginia Tech transfer Manny Atkins who led the Panthers in rebounds. USC transfer Curtis Washington was second on the Panthers in rebounds.

Ware is starting anew among many teammates who also took the non-traditional college route.

The Panthers of Georgia State return a full roster of talented players who were able to compete adamantly in their respective conference.

The storybook ending to Ware’s story would have had him remain at Louisville, but nothing can be changed now.

Kevin Ware is now a Panther and will finish his collegiate career at Georgia State. After breaking his leg against Duke in the Elite Eight nobody wanted anything more than to bring Kevin home to Atlanta. Now he is home, and hopefully can get back to the court.

Photo by Michelle Lewis

Annual Red v. White scrimmage held

By Annie Moore

The University of Louisville held its annual Red and White Scrimmage April 11 to showcase the team’s preparation in the spring. The offense, headlined by quarterback Will Gardner, and the defense led by veterans like junior linebacker James Burgess were on display, as were new head coach Bobby Petrino’s new system.

Coach Petrino was happy with what he saw from the team, and admitted there is much room for improvement before the season.

“We have a long way to go, but our coaches have done a great job at teaching our new schemes, and the players have worked really hard at learning them,” Petrino said.  “We’ve had some great competition in practice. The practices have been really physical and guys are really competing. I feel really good about our front seven on defense. Our linebackers are physical and fast and are going to be able to play the way we want them to play. We are a little bit concerned with our depth in the secondary and the inexperience at safety. That’s an area where we have to continue to work hard and get better.”

The Red Team, led by Gardner, routed the White Team, 56-13. Gardner was 32- of 37 for 542 yards and four touchdowns.

“We had good pass protection and guys getting wide open, and when guys are wide open, you can’t miss them. We had a lot of guys open when we called plays for them, so that was a good thing,” Gardner said.

Gardner too admitted that there was much work to be done in the time between now and kickoff in September.

“I’ve got to grind in the playbook, become more confident, hit the weight room hard and just get bigger and stronger.” Gardner said.

 Michael Dyer rushed for 99 yards on 10 carries for the Red, and added 51 yards and a 27-yard touchdown on four carries for the White.

The biggest search now will be for a player to step out as the leader for a team heading into its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“You always worry about leadership, but this team has a terrific work ethic,” Petrino said.  “They grind in the weight room and really get after it at practice. They understand that everything is different, but have been very willing to adapt. We have good leadership and guys who know what it takes to win games, and that has made the transition a lot easier.”

But with regards to the head coach’s overall feeling heading out of the game, he’s confident in his QB and ready to improve in other spots around the ball.

“You couldn’t leave a spring game happier with the way [Gardner] played,” Petrino said. “I was happy with our spring. I think we’re headed in the right direction, but we do have a long, long way to go.”

 

Photo by Austin Lassell

Jeff Gardner profile

By Lilly Trunnell

Senior Outfielder Jeff Gardner doesn’t remember one particular instance where baseball became part of his life. Baseball was easy for him to pick up, came naturally, and Gardner developed a passion for it young.

Of course, it’s easy to throw yourself into a sport with the support from family. Gardner called baseball a “family sport.” Growing up in Louisville he has the benefit of looking into the stands and seeing them all sitting there, cheering him on no matter what.

But Gardner hasn’t needed much cheering through hard times this season. As one of two senior captains he has led the top 10 ranked Cardinals to a 26-8 overall record. Gardner tops the Cardinals in hitting with a collective batting average of .367. His 40 runs batted in are nine more than the second most and he also has three home runs, including the walk off homer in the very first game of the season. Perhaps Gardner has an edge batting from the left, or maybe it’s the sheer passion he has for the game.

“I want to bring glory to Christ in all that I do,” Gardner said.

His faith is deep-rooted and seems to be working for him. Gardner goes beyond baseball. He has been known to say that he lives his life summed up by a quote from Jackie Robinson: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” He strives to be the kind of person that his teammates can come to with anything, and provide positive support and motivation for the team.

Like most athletes, Gardner can pick out a coach from his past that impacted his ability. Interestingly enough the coach was not baseball. Mike Doig was Gardner’s high school basketball coach. Gardner credits him with making him the athlete he is today. Even though he says he “wasn’t very good” at basketball and knew baseball was where he was really going, Coach Doig infused in Gardner the desire to strive for excellence always.

Professionally, Ted Williams is an icon for Gardner, “Because he was the last guy to hit .400,” he says with a hint of admiration in his voice. Ever since he was a kid, Williams was the favorite player of young Gardner. The baseball great’s legacy and the motivation of his coach have led Gardner to the 2011 All-Big East Team, 2012 second Team All-Big East, a 2013 Team Captainship, being named Big East Player of the Week twice last season, 2013 First Team All-Big East, 2013 Louisville Regional All-Tournament Team, and a 2014 Team Captainship. Despite all these accolades, Gardner still sees a team achievement as his biggest success. He picks out the highlight of his career so far as the 2013 trip to Omaha for the College World Series.

“I would trade away all the other awards if I could just keep that,” Gardner said.

After losing seven classmates to the draft last season, Gardner had to take on a new role of responsibility this year.

“The seniors have seen it all,” he says. “Losing those guys impacted the chemistry at first, but we bond well now.” His sights are set forward. In his last season as a Cardinal, Gardner has one thing in mind. “Going back (to Omaha) would mean the world to me.” Beyond that, he hopes to continue his career by going professional after his graduation from U of L with a Justice Administration degree.

Jeff Gardner is having a season to watch and is leading the team both statistically and in leadership. He is certainly a player to watch in the remaining games this season and potential postseason play.

“I try to go out every day and praise Jesus in all that I do, and make a few friends along the way.”

 

Louisville falls to Maryland 76-73

Despite a heroic effort by Shoni Schimmel in the final thirty seconds, Louisville fell to Maryland 73-70 Tuesday night at the KFC YUM! Center.

Down 70-62, Schimmel hit her first of three three-pointers to give the Cardinals a final shot at a chance to go to the Final Four.

After Alyssa Thomas connect on her second free throw to push the Terrapin lead to 76-73, Maryland coach Brenda Frese took a timeout with 3.5 seconds left, allowing Louisville coach Jeff Walz to draw up a final play for Schimmel.

Needing to go the length of the floor, Sara Hammond inbounded the ball to Asia Taylor near half court, who then found Schimmel streaking to the wing for final shot, which bounced off the back iron.

“We perfected it, the ball just didn’t go in. The one that didn’t go in was the last shot I wanted. But it just didn’t fall. Nothing much you can do about that,” Schimmel said.

Schimmel finished her final game in a Cardinal uniform playing all forty minutes and scoring 31 points.

After trailing 41-34, their largest deficit of the night, Maryland responded with an 18-4 run, which included an eight minute scoring drought by the Cardinals.

Maryland stretched their lead to 12 with two minutes left, but Louisville continued to fight back into the game.

The Terrapins were 25 of 28 from the free throw line, including 9 of 10 from freshman guard Lexie Brown.  She finished with 20 points, six rebounds, and four assists.

Thomas was named the Region’s Most Outstanding Player, collecting her 27th double-double of the season with 22 points and 13 rebounds.

Louisville took a 36-32 lead into the break after scoring 14 points off turnovers and 12 steals in first half.

Antonita Slaughter scored nine of her 16 points in the first half.  Taylor added 12 points and eight rebounds.

For the Cardinals, who finish the year 33-5, the program’s second most wins in a season, came up short of their season long pursuit.

“It’s no question our goal was to get to Nashville, and unfortunately we fell a game short,” Walz said.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Lacrosse defeats Georgetown

By Derek Brightwell

The University of Louisville Lacrosse team opened up their Big East schedule with a 14-13 upset victory at No. 14 Georgetown on Saturday, improving their record to 7-3 on the season.

The Cardinals were led in goals by junior Faye Brust, who had five, three coming in the second half including the Cardinals final two goals. Her 34 goals on the year are just six less than her total from her first two seasons, with six games still remaining in the 2014 season.

The victory marks the first time in eight games that the Cardinals defeated the Hoyas and was the second win over a Top 20 opponent this season.

Senior Nikki Boltja increased her team high point total with three goals and two assists in the game, giving her 52 points on the year, 40 of which are goals.

One of the biggest keys for the Cardinals all year has been sophomore Kaylin Morissette’s draw control ability; she tied her own school single-game record 11 in the win over Saturday to put her season total at a school record 82.

Despite Georgetown (3-6, 0-1) only having the lead for a total of 15 seconds in the game, Louisville was never able to pull ahead comfortably until Brust gave them a three goal lead in the final 12 minutes that the Hoyas couldn’t overcome.

Louisville continues their five game road trip in Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats on Sunday, Arpril 6th. They’ll return to home to close out their season with three straight home games on April 17th against UConn.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Louisville women’s basketball advances to Elite Eight with win over LSU

By Sam Draut

Louisville cruised to a 73-47 victory over LSU on Sunday to advance to the Elite Eight.

Shoni Schimmel led Cardinal scorers with 19 points and added six assists.  Tia Gibbs hit five three pointers, finishing with 15 points and five rebounds.  The two seniors combined for eight of the Cardinals season-high 12 three-pointers.

“When Tia Gibbs gives you 15 points in 16 minutes off the bench it is pretty special,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said.

The seventh-seeded Tigers were limited to playing just eight players due to injuries, while Louisville’s bench outscored LSU’s reserves 28-0.  In three NCAA tournament games, Louisville’s bench has outscored opponents 84-2.

‘‘They did all that they could consider, and our bench, they came in and they tried their best,’’ LSU coach Nikki Caldwell. ‘’I’m proud of them for that. We didn’t execute as well as we wanted to.”

Antonita Slaughter scored 10 points.  Asia Taylor pulled down 10 rebounds and added 7 points.

LSU (21-13) held a 12-11 lead through the first eight minutes of the game, but Louisville (33-4) closed the half on an extended 30-11 run, giving them a comfortable 41-23 halftime lead.

During the run, Gibbs connected with two threes on back-to-back possessions.

“I was trying to provide a spark to the team.  Coming off the bench, that is our job,” Gibbs said.  “My teammates did a great job looking for me.”

LSU was led by sophomore guard Danielle Ballard, who finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds.  She had 12 of the Tigers 24 field goals.  Minus Ballard, LSU was just 4 of 42 from the field.

“We had a hard time containing her, but I thought we did a good job on the rest of their players,” Walz said.

Taylor and Sara Hammond were able to slow the post presence of Theresa Plaisance, who scored seven points on 1-of-13 shooting, well below her season average of 15.3 points per game.

Hammond was limited to  16 minutes because of foul trouble, but had five points and eight rebounds.

“We have to get Sara going, we are running out of games,” Walz said. “She is in a little bit of a slump, but I would be shocked if she had three games where she struggled on the offensive end of the floor.”

Through three NCAA tournament games, the Cardinals have outscored their opponents by 46, 30, and 26 respectively.

‘’I think we’re playing really good basketball right now,’’ Walz said.

“We don’t play the score.  We won’t let up on people.  We know there is a lot we still have to work on,” Gibbs said.

Louisville will play fourth-seeded Maryland on Tuesday night at the KFC YUM! Center for a trip to the Final Four.

Walz spent five seasons at Maryland under the direction of Terrapin coach Brenda Frese  before coming to Louisville.

“We know we are going to have our hands full.  They are a very talented basketball team, they have great size,” Walz said. “We know what is at stake.”

AAC indoor hurdling champion Calvin Aresnault

By Sam Draut

Whether he is competing in Barcelona, Spain, Ontario, Canada, or Louisville, Ky., Calvin Arsenault has ran well regardless of what sector of the globe he sprints across.

The junior from Kitchener, Ontario competes in the hurdles, running the 60 meter during the indoor season and the 110 meter and 400 meter races during the outdoor season.

Arsenault logged a third place finish with 14.22 seconds in the 110m hurdles last Friday at the Alabama Relays.

In the Lenny Lyles/Clark Wood Invitational at Cardinal Park this past weekend, Arsenault finished second in the 110m hurdles and fifth in the 400m hurdles.

Arsenault enters the outdoor season coming off an American Athletic Conference championship in the 60m hurdles event for the indoor season though the season didn’t begin as smoothly as it finished.

“The indoor season didn’t start as well as I wanted to, it was more of a slow start, I didn’t start as fast as I wanted to, but as the season progresses, you learn new things, you fine-tune things,” Arsenault said.

Arsenault said the indoor season can be difficult to gear up for, beginning in January, because athletes are just coming off of the preseason.  Additionally, a change in the fall workouts added a bit of a transitional period.

“We actually had a different weight coach, we worked out with the football weight coach this fall, so that added a lot more strength that I am used to, so that helped my foot speed which made my transition to the hurdles more difficult because that means everything is faster,” Arsenault said. “I wasn’t satisfied on what I was running, I started working harder in practice, trying to fine-tune some things and it finally clicked once conference season came around.”

Winning the AAC championship isn’t the first title Arsenault has won; he bagged the Canadian national title in 2011 for the 400m hurdles.

He qualified for the 2011 Pan Am Junior Championships and was a member of Team Canada that traveled to Barcelona, Spain.

“I made the world junior team over in Spain and that was an awesome experience, I made the semi-finals.  Represented Canada really well, I PR’ed, it was a great experience running for your country on European soil,” Arsenault said.

Arsenault, who holds the school record in 400m and 110m hurdles, had a tremendous freshman year at Louisville.  He qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Round in the 110m hurdles and had four outdoor victories during the year.

Arsenault decided to run in the United States during his college years.  He connected with University of Louisville sprints coach Terry Winston, who contacted him the end of his senior year.  Arsenault came to Louisville for a visit in July and signed, coming to school the next month.

Despite being from another country, the transition culturally has been no different.

“I come from a decent size city in Canada to a large city here.  The biggest difference was the training and the weight training,” Arsenault said. “I came from a program that didn’t lift weights.  So, to come here where you are lifting three times a week and you’re training six times a week on the track that was more than double from what I was coming off in high school.  So, that was the biggest adjustment, allowing your body to recover quicker to come back for workout after workout after workout.”

With the outdoor AAC championships around a month away, Arsenault has his goals lined up already.

“I want to get another conference title under my belt personally in my individual events and for the whole team to win the conference championship.  I think we have the people to do it and I think we have the motivation behind us to do it,” Arsenault said.

“The NCAAs are separated into two separate meets, you’re going into the first round, I think I have already qualified for the first round, go in there and have strong showing because they take the top 12 there for the NCAA finals.  So if I can a great first round I can qualify for the finals in Eugene, Ore.  My ultimate goal is to be an All-American,” Arsenault said.