Weekly Louisville 'other' sports notebook

A weekly feature on Monday is a notebook of items from sports other than basketball and football at the University of Louisville. Here's this week's offering:


U of L women's soccer coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes will begin her 13th season at the school with some high expectations.

But she'll also start the season without two stars.

Ferguson-Dayes will forgive Christine Exeter and Rachel Melhado, who will be participating for Team Canada in the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup.

The event features 16 nations competing from Aug. 19 through Sept. 8 in Miyagi, Kobe, Saitama, Hiroshima and Tokyo, Japan.

"We're excited for both of them," Ferguson-Dayes said. "There are three possible times we can get them back but we want them to win the World Cup.

"We have other kids that will step up and it will help our depth."

Exeter earned All-America honors and was the Offensive Player of the Year in the Big East last season after scoring 14 goals.

Melhado, who is a team captain for Team Canada, started all 24 games as a sophomore for Louisville's backline helped the Cardinals to nine shutouts.

U of L opens the season with an exhibition game on Friday at 6 p.m. against Ohio State before another exhibition on Sunday against Wright State.

The regular-season opener is Aug. 17 at Butler.


It took softball coach Sandy Pearsall over a month before she could stomach watching the game film from a 4-0 loss to Michigan to end last season in the finals of the Louisville Regional in the NCAA Tournament.

But Pearsall said at a recent Cardinal Caravan that watching the loss helped her begin to get refocused for a run again next season.

"It broke my heart," she said. "But it also made me think, I am going to show my team and we're going to go for it again.

"We're going to put our heads down and work even harder."

The Cardinals finished with a program-best record of 55-5 and made it into the NCAA Tournament for a ninth consecutive season. U of L finished the season at No. 17 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association rankings and No. 18 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball coaches' poll.

"I know this team is ready for the challenge again," Pearsall said.


Anne Kordes has filled a spot on her volleyball staff at U of L with a familiar face – former associate coach Melissa Starck-Bean.

Starck-Bean, a former star at Assumption High School and Western Kentucky University, began her career at Jacksonville as an assistant. She was then hired as an assistant to Kordes at Saint Louis before coming to U of L and serving under former coach Leonid Yelin for four seasons.

Since leaving U of L, Starck-Bean has been the Assistant Club Director at Kentucky Indiana Volleyball Academy (KIVA), Louisville's prestigious volleyball club.

"Melissa was my first hire when I took the head coaching job at Saint Louis and helped me lay the foundation for a successful program," Kordes said. "I couldn't be more excited to work with her again as she is not only a great coach and an incredible recruiter, but she is an amazing person.

"I am excited to welcome her back to the Louisville program."


U of L right-handed pitcher Jeff Thompson threw a no-hitter last week in the Cape Cod League as the Bourne Braves beat Harwich 9-0.

The former Floyd Central, Ind., High School star had nine strikeouts and allowed just two walks in the six-inning, 80-pitch performance. The game was called early because of rain.

Thompson improved to 2-2 with 30 strikeouts in 29 innings. He was 9-4 last season for the Cardinals. The Cape Cod League is the premier summer wooden-bat league.


*The men's soccer team opens the season with an exhibition game on Sunday at 8 p.m. in Birmingham, Ala., against UAB. The Cardinals also have exhibition games on Aug. 17 against Wisconsin in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Aug. 20 at Cardinal Park against Lipscomb. The season opens on Aug. 26 at Maryland.

*The volleyball season opens with an Alumnae Match on Aug. 18 at Cardinal Arena. The Cardinals will host the Active Ankle Challenge on Aug. 24-25 at the KFC Yum! Center for the official opening of the season.

*Indiana will visit Trager Stadium for an exhibition Field Hockey game on Aug. 17 at noon to kick off the season. The first official game is Aug. 24 at home against Northeastern at 6 p.m.

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