Seminoles end Cardinals’ best season in program history

By on November 29, 2011

By Sammie Hill–

Despite their incredible post-season tournament run, the Louisville women’s soccer team fell to Florida State University on Sunday, Nov. 20 in a heartbreaking 2-0 loss. This ended the women’s best NCAA tournament run ever, in which the Cards achieved the greatest amount of post-season success in school history.

Senior midfielder Jennifer Jones suggests that attitude played the biggest role in the success of the team throughout their season. “These women never give up,” she states.

The team clearly exhibited this attitude of determination in the first round of the NCAA tournament as they faced the University of Dayton. Following a heartbreaking 2-0 loss in the Big East Championship against West Virginia on Nov. 6, the Cardinals demonstrated enormous resiliency when they returned home to battle the Flyers on Nov. 12. Personifying the “never-give-up” attitude described by Jennifer Jones, the Cardinals used the West Virginia loss as fuel to excel in their NCAA first round game.

Just 35:00 into the game, senior defender Kaitie McDonald brought the score to 1-0 after heading in a corner kick delivered by Jennifer Jones. Remaining strong in the second half, Louisville solidified their victory in the 76th minute, when sophomore midfielder Angelika Uremovich received a pass from freshman forward Casey Whitfield and nailed a 20 yard shot into the back of the net. Senior goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer’s flawless performance allowed the Cards to end the game with a 2-0 victory. Overall, Kiefer earned nine shut outs this season, which is the second most in school history.

Kiefer reveals that shut outs played “a huge role in developing confidence,” and she attributes much of the credit to the Louisville defense. “I think we have the best back line in the Big East,” Kiefer declares, “and it continued to get better every game.”

The defensive line lived up to Kiefer’s expectations in the second round of the NCAA tournament as the Cards combated the University of Memphis on Friday, Nov. 18. The defense worked in tandem with the exceptional offense to produce a 2-0 victory for Louisville. With a header into the left side of the goal, freshman midfielder Kim Sharo brought the score to 1-0 in the 69th minute, and freshman forward Zakiya McIntosh executed a diving header in the 76th minute to secure a 2-0 win.

“We had a theme this season,” Jennifer Jones explains, “where we play every game like it’s the most important of our lives. And as a senior, you have to know that any game could be the last.”
Sadly, the Cards’ last game came in the third round of the tournament when Louisville took the pitch against Florida State University. Sophomore defender Kassey Kallman and junior forward Tiffany McCarty scored for the Seminoles, earning FSU a 2-0 victory over the Cards.

Regardless of the unfortunate ending, this spectacular season has earned the women a place in school history.

“It’s bittersweet because it’s bitter to lose, but it can’t overshadow how amazing this season was,” said Louisville head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes.

This set of players possessed an extraordinary team chemistry that enabled them to accomplish feats that no group had before.

“Our team chemistry hugely contributed to our success this season,” Jennifer Jones states. “We get along both on and off the field, which helped us build trust in our teammates. We know that every game, each girl went out and gave a hundred percent.”

sports@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: File Photo

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