Following a loss to Maryland in the season opener, the University of Louisville men’s soccer team returned home to Cardinal Park on Saturday, Sept. 1 to take on Belmont University. The Cardinals, ranked No. 7, rebounded from a goal scored by the Bruins early in the second half by scoring three consecutive goals to win the game 3-1.
The first half of the game ended with no scoring by either team. However, following Belmont’s goal in the 50th minute of play, the Cardinals responded with an equalizing goal from senior midfielder Ryan Smith. Six minutes later, freshman midfielder Marlon Hairston ripped a shot from the middle of the box, which sailed past Belmont’s keeper and gained the Cardinals the lead.
“He came through Mississippi, and when we saw him play, we said he’ll be a pro,” head coach Ken Lolla said of Hairston. “Just how fast he will have impact, I don’t know. It’s always a transition for freshman right away.”
Junior defender Andrew Farrell already noticed this impact after one of the team’s exhibition matches, saying, “Some of the newcomers were able to come in and make an impact on the game.”
To further secure the victory against Belmont Saturday night, junior midfielder Alex Obbey found the net in the 86th minute with an assist from junior forward Will Vitalis, bringing the score to 3-1.
With seven returning starters on this year’s team, Ken Lolla hopes some of his players can follow in the footsteps of four of last year’s seniors that were drafted into the MLS.
“We graduate some very talented players and look at how they are doing right now, Austin Berry, Nick DeLeon, Colin Rolfe and Kenny [Walker], they are all doing great,” U of L coach Ken Lolla said. “What it tells us about our program is that we are producing some pretty good guys.
This year’s team welcomes a transfer player from UCLA. Junior forward Zack Foxhoven said he felt enticed to come to the University of Louisville after the two schools played one another.
“When we played Louisville last year here, I really took a liking to Louisville’s style of play,” Foxhoven said. “It was a no-brainer when I went looking for a school.”
The University of Louisville men’s soccer team will return to action on Tuesday, Sept. 4 in St. Louis, Missouri. The next home game falls on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. in Cardinal Park.
Photo: Eric Voet/The Louisville Cardinal