By Noah Allison–
In the world of college athletics, there has been more madness than simply on the basketball court. At the University of Louisville, a large collection of spring sports have been celebrating major success and are fighting through the middle of their seasons. Time to get caught up on what’s been going on while your brain has been on spring break.
Over the past decade, no program at U of L has more national championships than swimming and, over the weekend, head coach Arthur Albiero’s program has added another.
Junior Kelsi Worrell won the national title in the 200-butterfly by posting the third fastest time in NCAA history with a time of 1:51.11. Her contributions led Louisville’s women to sixth overall in the nation, the highest finish in school history.
“It is unbelievable what we were able to accomplish this week,” Albiero said. “Our three year progression is nothing short of impressive: 22nd in 2013, 15th in 2014 and now sixth. Much credit goes to our coaching staff, extended staff, but more importantly to our seniors. They led the way from day one.”
Senior Tanja Kylliainen finished in fifth place in the same race that Worrell won. The 400-relay team of Andrea Kneppers, Kelsi Worrell, Rachel Grooms and Tanja Kylliainen had an 11th place finish.
The men will compete next weekend in the NCAA finals.
Dan McDonnell’s top 20-ranked baseball team is in the midst of a seven game win streak and has won 13 of their last 15 games. They are 8-2 in ACC play and are 18-6 overall.
The Cardinals have most recently completed a sweep of No. 22 Notre Dame in South Bend, including a 6-4 victory in an 18-inning marathon-of-a-game on Saturday. The 18-inning game equaled the longest game in school history.
On offense, Louisville is led by senior infielder Sutton Whiting, who has 38 base hits in 98 at-bats. Sophomore outfielder Corey Ray has 31 base hits, including three home runs and 18 runs batted-in.
Sophomore Nick Solak has 27 base hits, a team-high seven doubles and 15 RBI’s.
Freshmean Devin Hairston has 16 base hits and a team-high 20 RBI’s.
Junior ace pitcher Kyle Funkhouser has a 2-2 record with a 2.61 earned run average; he also has 42 strikeouts on the season.
The surprise star of the season, so far, has been freshman right-handed pitcher Brendan McKay. McKay has a 3-0 record including four saves. He has a 1.02 ERA and is tied with Funkhouser for a team-high 42 strikeouts.
Coach Kelli Young has her lacrosse team ranked 10th in the country, and with a 7-2 record, the Cardinals are in the thick of ACC competition.
Louisville suffered its first loss of the season in a 15-16 overtime thriller at third-ranked Boston College. The Cards then continued on to immediately face the No. four ranked team in Duke, losing 8-10.
U of L has since responded with a two-game win streak, including Louisville’s first ever ACC victory with a 15-6 win over Virginia Tech.
Of the seven games left in the regular season, Louisville faces four top-10 teams. The inaugural season in the ACC won’t get any easier, but despite the 1-2 start in the conference, it is clear that Young’s Cards aren’t backing down against anybody.
With the recent 5-2 victory over No. 10 North Carolina the Cards have improved to 15-4 on the season. More significantly though, it marked men’s tennis coach Rex Ecarma’s 400th career victory at U of L.
Ecarma is the most tenured coach at U of L. In his 25th year in the position, Ecarma is Louisville’s only coach to predate current Athletic Director Tom Jurich, making him the only coach Jurich hasn’t had to hire either.
The victory marked men’s tennis’ first win over a top-ten opponent since 2010. The Cards are 3-2 in ACC play.
Photo by Austin Lassell / The Louisville Cardinal