Tue. Apr 23rd, 2019

Matty B’s bucket list of sports things to do

By Matt Bradshaw —

There is always a sports thing to do on the college campus of the University of Louisville. But are you talking full advantage of your exciting opportunities as a student?

In nearly four years covering Louisville Athletics, I encountered fun in every place I had not considered looking. Here is Matty B’s bucket list of sports things all U of L students should do.

Hit the pitch at Lynn for some football

I am a sucker for football, and not the American kind. Men’s and women’s soccer provide thrilling matches at Lynn Stadium that all would be lucky to attend.

The talent these sports provide are under-appreciated by U of L sports fans. Men’s soccer has reached the Elite Eight two out of the past three seasons. In 2018, women’s soccer played its best season in six years and posted an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Both teams return veteran skill, along with a new head coach for men’s soccer in John Michael Hayden, and are sure to continue thrilling in 2019. Did I mention all matches are free to attend for students?

Watch field hockey compete at Trager

Since taking over as head coach in 2011, Justin Sowry has grown the field hockey program into one of the most successful in the nation. Louisville competes in the ACC, the toughest conference in the nation, and recently graduated the best goalkeeper in the world in Ayeisha McFerran.

If that level of competition and talent does not draw you to at least one visit to Trager Stadium, I do not know what will. The Cardinals have produced over a dozen All-Americans during Sowry’s tenure, and are sure to produce more under your watchful eye.

Also, dare I mention a second time that matches are free to attend?

Feel the volleyball energy at Card Arena

Volleyball returned Cardinal Arena on Floyd Street in 2017 after a stint playing at the KFC Yum! Center. The smaller, cozier venue provides an electric atmosphere where fans are loud and proud right on top of the court.

Pretty much every match finds Cardinal Arena packed to the brim, and you should find your way into that crowd. When each point and volley becomes an existing battle, it is exhilarating to cheer Louisville for the win.

This is all not to mention volleyball’s talent that should be another draw, with the Cardinals reaching the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons. Also again, it is free for students to attend.

Become a WBB fan at Yum!

Women’s basketball averaged nearly 10,000 fans per game during this past regular season. They remain one of the most successful sports on campus, and undoubtedly one of the most fun to watch.

Every game, no matter the attendance, has the Yum! Center rocking and watching the talents recruited by head coach Jeff Walz. Players sign autographs after many games, and fans wait in line for over an hour to get the chance for one.

Out of the sports on this list, women’s basketball is the only one priced for students. But I can certainly tell you, it is worth it.

Catch the splash at Ralph Wright

This might be one you have not considered, but you need to consider it. Ralph Wright Natatorium hosts one of the most successful swimming and diving programs in the nation, led by head coach Arthur Albiero.

If you find yourself hesitant to attend a men’s or women’s swimming and diving meet, at least think about this one. Louisville hosts rival Kentucky on campus in January of 2020. Fill the stands and cheer against those Cats.

Serve tennis a visit at Bass-Rudd

Another one of Louisville’s athletics facilities on Floyd Street, the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center is home to the men’s and women’s tennis teams. Head over for a game, indoors or outdoors, and you will not be disappointed.

Playing in the ACC, also the toughest conference in the country for tennis, the Cards always give it their all. And there is nothing much like watching opposing tennis teams battle for every point, every ball and every inch on the court.

You can follow the Louisville Cardinal on Twitter @thecardsports.

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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