By Dalton Ray–
To stay competitive, teams need to have star players sprinkled throughout the roster. Sustained success means there are younger players on rosters that can contribute immediately. In 2016, there are standout-sophomores all across the campus. With these talented underclassmen roaming across the fields and courts throughout U of L’s facilities. Here’s a rundown of some of the best second-year athletes at Louisville.
Women’s soccer: Gabrielle Vincent
Vincent made her foot-print as a Cardinal during her freshman campaign. Vincent started all 18 games at center back and scored two goals last season. In 2016, Vincent leads the Cardinals in goals, minutes, points and shots taken. Vincent anchors the defensive side and is a renaissance woman for coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes. Vincent has shown she is a building-block for the Cardinals for years to come.
Men’s soccer: Tate Schmitt and Danny Reynolds
Schmitt earned All-ACC Freshman honors last season during his first year on campus. Starting in all but six of his colligate games to date, Schmitt is a known face when it comes to Louisville soccer early on in his career. Last season he led U of L with seven assists and knocked in three goals. So far through 2016, the forward is second on the team in goals.
Reynolds came from across the pond to play for Louisville. In his first season Reynolds scored two goals and had four assists as a defender. He is tied in second place with Schmitt for goals and points in 2016. Reynolds and Schmitt are standouts on both sides of the field for coach Ken Lolla.
Football: Lamar Jackson
Louisville has been looking for a face of the university since Montrezl Harrell exited in 2015. With the emergence of Jackson, U of L has found their next poster-child. By far the most recognizable athlete on Louisville’s campus, Jackson has done nothing but put up video-game like numbers in 2016. Louisville fans haven’t attached themselves to a football player like this since Teddy Bridgewater was throwing passes.
Field hockey: Ayeisha McFerran
One of the more unknown athletes on this list, McFerran has more accolades attached to her name than anyone else. Named to NFHCA All-American Third Team, McFerran started every game for U of L last year. Posting a 13-7 record, she only allowed had a 1.24 goals-against average. McFerran tied a school-record for most shutouts during a single-season. In 2016, she has only allowed two goals all year.
Volleyball: Molly Sauer
A local product, Sauer earned All-ACC Defensive and Freshman of the Year last season. She is the first player in ACC Volleyball history to accomplish this. Sauer is a large reason why Louisville won the ACC Conference Championship in 2015. Her 131 digs places her top five in the ACC this season. Sauer is the back-bone of the Cardinals’ stern defense.
Women’s basketball: Asia Durr
Rated as one of the best players coming out of high school, Durr came to Louisville and immediately started to contribute. She finished the season averaging 11 points a game. She came in sixth in ACC freshman scoring last season. Shooting 36-percent from behind the arch last year, Durr is a huge returning piece for Louisville this coming season.
Men’s basketball: Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell
Adel and Mitchell are two of the top reasons why people are expecting a deep tournament run in 2016-2017. Both top 100 recruits coming in, the pair is expected to lead the team in scoring this year. The defensive aspect might be the biggest upside for both Deng and Mitchell. If Louisville is able to make it to the Final Four again, Deng and Mitchell need to have break out years.
Softball: Megan Hensley and Lillie Goetz
Hensley stepped right into the spotlight last season as one of Louisville’s best pitchers and hitters. Leading the team in home runs with 13, she batted .335 and won 15 games as a freshman. Goetz played in 41 games with 37 starts, her .327 batting average was fourth on the team. The duo will be a large part of a big year for softball in 2017.
Men’s tennis: Chris Morin-Kougoucheff
Born in France, Morin-Kougoucheff posted a 8-3 record in singles play and 7-4 in doubles. Stepping up on the second court on multiple occasions, the now sophomore is a corner-piece of what coach Rex Ecarma will build on this coming year.
Women’s golf: Olivia Cason
Owensboro’s own Cason became the first female from U of L to qualify for the NCAA championship last season. With eight rounds at or below par, Cason is a rising star for Louisville. She finished last year with four top 10 placings.
Lacrosse: Meghan Siverson
One of the least game-experienced members of this group, Siverson could potentially be the biggest star by the time she leaves U of L. Only shooting three goals last year, big plans are in store for Siverson this season and beyond. Expect for the the New Jersey native to step into the spotlight this season and shine.
Graphic by Mitchell Howes / The Louisville Cardinal