By Jordan Shim-
A late equalizer by Tate Schmitt overcame what was otherwise a frustrating night as the men’s soccer team drew 1-1 to Xavier in a spring exhibition match.
“I didn’t think it was our best effort,” coach Ken Lolla said. “Yet, at the end of the game we found a way to get an equalizer so I give our guys a lot of credit for fighting and finding a way.”
The Cards had chances to open the scoring, but the Musketeers held firm and did not concede any easy opportunities.
“Xavier’s game plan is to prevent you from playing,” Lolla said. “It’s not like they’re trying to create the game. Because of that, it was important that we had patience. They get a lot of numbers behind the ball and play with five in the back. The four in the midfield really work hard, but we knew there would be spaces wide and those spaces came out of us moving the ball.”
The Cardinals best chance of the first half came in the 24th minute. Mohamed Thiaw cradled in the ball and ran at the Musketeer defense. The Senegal native dribbled past a defender and put a shot on goal, but went straight to goalkeeper Zachary Nelson.
Matt Vasquenza gave Xavier the lead in the 49th minute. He and Danny Reynolds ran down a cross in the box. Jockeying for position, Vasquenza got to the ball first and fired from close range. Gelnovatch made the initial save but failed to handle as the ball crept just under and rolled into the goal.
“It was miscommunication between Jake and Danny that led to the goal,” Lolla said. “It is a bit unfortunate because in the end Xavier really didn’t have too many opportunities tonight.”
Schmitt made the most of his second chance equalizing in the 88th minute. A cross sent in by Reynolds connected with Schmitt, whose header beat Nelson to the top right corner.
File photo / The Louisville Cardinal