By Ryan Martin–
Just hours after the Cardinals’ football team suffered a tough defeat against Marshall, the world of Cardinal sports was forced to face yet another loss. The Cards’ No. 8 ranked men’s soccer team played a dominant game against the top ranked Huskies of Connecticut, forcing double overtime in what was a scoreless game until the very end. Cards’ senior goalkeeper Andre Boudreaux was unable to stop Huskies’ junior forward Stephane Diop in the second overtime, when the UConn striker scored the only goal in the game. With victory over Louisville, the Huskies’ record rises to an undefeated 10-0. The Cards record falls to 6-3, and 0-2 in the Big East.
One of the major highlights of the night was a penalty kick attempted by Cardinal senior midfielder Kenney Walker that he missed.
“I was trying to go for power and not so much for placement,” Walker said about the penalty kick. Coach Ken Lolla stated that there was no real strategy behind Walker’s penalty kick.
“There are certain guys on the team that have taken penalty kicks and Kenney was one of them,” Lolla said, “We felt like he was the best guy to take it.” Goalkeeper Andrew Boudreaux praised Walker saying that he is one who “strives for perfection” and that his missed penalty kick would only motivate him to work harder and practice more.
Despite this being their second conference loss of the season, making them 0-2 in the Big East, most of the team seems pretty optimistic and was pretty satisfied with their overall performance. Boudreaux stated that he believed the team played some good soccer Saturday night.
“We played very well, but the problem was our result,” he said, “Sometimes in soccer the struggle is whether you play pretty and lose or play ugly and win. As a team we try to do both.” He stated that after a loss like this one, the team will grow by sticking together, raising the level in training and holding teammates accountable, because that is the only way to grow. Boudreaux also went on to emphasize that the team treated this just like any other game, even though they were facing the top ranked team.
“We just focus on worrying about ourselves and how we want to play.” he stated. Walker had a very similar response regarding his preparation for this game, “We didn’t change much of anything,” he said about the Cards’ week of practice leading up to the match versus UConn, “We just work on what our weaknesses are and keep building on strengths. It’s what we always do.”
Coach Ken Lolla sounded satisfied with his team’s performance, but also emphasized that there is much room for improvement down the road. “We definitely dominated the game, but in the end that didn’t give us the result and we have to do a lot better on that,” Lolla said. “At the end of the season those are what matter the most.”
The team is now beginning preparations for their upcoming game against an undefeated No. 6 ranked University of Indiana on the road, a game that Boudreaux says to be a crucial one. “We’re on the road against a good team and we really need that win to help us further in the season,” he said. Lolla admitted that the game would be tough but sees it as an opportunity for more growth. He stated that the team doesn’t have time to feel sorry for themselves and that they need to show they’re ready by getting after it the next couple days in practice. The team will return to action on Wednesday, Oct. 5 in Bloomington, Ind.