By Dalton Ray–
For the third time since 2013, coach Justine Sowry guided her field hockey team to another 15-win season. The seventh-ranked Cardinals finished the year 15-4 with a 3-3 conference record. The three in-conference wins is a big jump from going winless last season.
Louisville outscored opponents 54-18 this year, including six games where they scored four goals or more. Offensively, a newcomer led the Cardinals in scoring. Freshman Minout Mink netted 14 goals this season. Her 14 goals is tied for eighth in the nation in goals. Mink leads all freshmen in scoring this season.
Mink isn’t doing it all herself, senior Erin McCrudden leads the nation in assists and is second in assists per game. Behind Mink, McCrudden, Lotta Kahlert and Nicole Woods, the Cardinals have one of the nation’s most dangerous offenses. Their 54 goals on the year is top ten in the nation.
U of L isn’t a one dimensional team. Their defense is one of the stingiest in the country.
Louisville leads in the nation in goals allowed per game and has allowed the second least amount of goals all year. A swarming defense is a large help but the biggest reason is the player in the net.
All-American goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran is a complete stud for Sowry. McFerran has 70 saves on the season and is the national leader in save percentage with 80.5 percent. McFerran also had six shutouts this year. In the net for 1,172 of the team’s total 1,277 minutes, McFerran is one of the nation’s best goalies.
The Cardinals started off the year hot, winning eight of their first nine. Their lone loss came against top-ranked Duke 2-1 on the road.
U of L dropped two of their next against second-ranked Syracuse and No. 12 Boston College. Facing a potential collaspe in the second half of the year due to their schedule strength, the Cardinals regathered and finished strong.
With six games remaining, Louisville ripped off a five game winning streak. Within those final six games, five were ranked teams, headlined by fifth-ranked North Carolina. The Cards shut out both UNC and Northwestern and got into a shootout with Kent State, Virginia and James Madison.
U of L dropped their final game of the season against No. 11 Michigan. With such a strong finish to the season, the Cardinals will get a good amount of love from the committee when it comes to the NCAA tournament.
The Cardinals are battle tested after going through the nation’s toughest conference. All seven conference members are ranked in top 18 in the nation, including top-ranked Duke, second-ranked Syracuse and fifth-ranked UNC. U of L finished third after holding the tie breaker against UNC and UVA.
Louisville now has a rematch against the Tar Heels in the first round of the conference tounrnament. The first round takes place on Nov. 3, the semi-finals on Nov. 4 and the championship game on Nov. 6.
Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal