By Matt Bradshaw —
Fall weather has officially arrived on campus along with a myriad of athletic activities. Some sports are just getting started like swimming and diving, while others draw near to the end of their seasons.
In particular, four fall sports find themselves fighting for top positions in their conference midway through October: Men’s soccer, women’s soccer, field hockey and volleyball.
Here’s a breakdown of each program’s current situation and a look at their road ahead.
No. 11 men’s soccer (7-2-3, 3-1-2) is second place in their ACC division with 11 points.
No. 2 Wake Forest (13-1-0, 5-1-0) tops the division with 15 points.
With two conference matches remaining, men’s soccer needs to win both games in order to climb as high as possible in the ACC. A better finish in the regular season will lead to an easier road in the tournament.
Louisville’s final ACC opponents are Clemson and Wake Forest.
The Cardinals should put away Clemson without too much difficulty, but Wake Forest on Oct. 26 might be their toughest foe yet. The Demon Deacons are playing as one of the best teams in the country with only one loss.
Women’s soccer (11-3-0, 5-2-0) is third place in the ACC with 15 points.
No. 3 North Carolina and No. 8 Boston College lead the conference with 21 and 16 points, respectively.
No. 11 Duke follows U of L closely with 13 points for fourth place. Virginia and Clemson are tied for fifth place with 12 points.
Three ACC matches remain for the Cards: Duke, NC State and Virginia Tech.
Both NC State and Virginia Tech should be straightforward wins for Louisville, but Duke will be difficult. The Blue Devils will play hard for the win in order to boost themselves in the standings.
If Louisville fails to beat Duke, they need to make sure they beat NC State and Virginia Tech. This will ensure a cushion between themselves and Virginia and Clemson who trail closely in the standings.
No. 10 field hockey (11-4, 2-3) is tied for third place in the ACC with Boston College (8-5, 2-3).
No. 1 North Carolina (14-0, 6-0) is first place and No. 4 Duke (12-3, 4-1) is second place.
This past week, Louisville lost their chance to overtake Duke in the standings. The Blue Devils beat the Cardinals in a sudden victory shootout after both teams remained scoreless through regulation and overtime.
Only one team remains on the conference slate: Syracuse. The Orange are second-to-last place in the standings, so the Cardinals should consider it a must-win in order to grab third place outright from Boston College.
No. 21 volleyball (15-4, 8-0) is tied for first-place in the ACC with No. 6 Pittsburgh (19-0, 7-0).
Louisville still has over a month to play and 10 conference matches. The undefeated Panthers host the Cardinals on Oct. 21.
Syracuse, Florida State and Miami are also difficult conference opponents approaching in the next few weeks.
Last season, U of L and Pittsburgh shared the ACC title as Co-Champions. Their bout on Oct. 21 could decide who the better team is and who has the best chance to win the conference.
Either way, the Cardinals need to approach every ACC match with a winning mentality. Every win they add to their column provides more room for growth and a chance for a better record than Pittsburgh.
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File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal