With a 1-1 overtime tie against ACC foe North Carolina State, Ken Lolla’s top 25-ranked men’s soccer improves to an overall record of 4-2-3.
Louisville is 0-0-3 in ACC play having overtime ties against Syracuse, Virginia Tech and now NC State. The game also marked the fourth overtime match in five games for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals are plagued with missed opportunities that now have Louisville in the middle of the pack in the ACC.
“This is one that we needed to get the win,” freshman forward Tate Schmitt said. “The games that we’ve played we should have won all three. Three overtimes? Wow. But if we just put away our chances all three games we could have won. We just have to fight a little harder and we’ll get it.”
In the 42nd minute of the first half, Schmitt scored off a header from a Tim Kubel cross to put the Cards up 1-0. Just one minute later NC State responded with a cross of there own that allowed the Wolfpack’s Philip Carmon to score his first goal of the year and equalize.
“I think when you score in the forty-something minute the first thing that you think about is defending,” junior midfielder Romilio Hernandez said. “So I think we packed it in, and we shouldn’t have done that. We played too conservative, and that’s when we need to dictate the game.”
After an explosive offensive performance in a 4-0 victory over Memphis earlier in the week, Louisville was ready to get its first win in the ACC this season. But the theme of tough fights and overtime ties has overwhelmingly been the result of the past two weeks.
“I told the guys after the game, ‘It’s a very fine line between winning and not,’” Lolla said. “In the ACC, they are all good teams and it’s going to be tight. Individual plays and moments in the game are very likely going to decide it and we have to be better in those moments.”
Perhaps the brightest spot of the season continues to be goal-scoring freshman phenom Tate Schmitt.
His goal on Friday was his sixth of the season. Schmitt leads Louisville and is tied for first in the ACC in goals scored.
“We knew he was going to be effective, we knew he was going to be valuable,” Lolla said. “He’s got such a good attitude, such a good work rate and he believes he can score goals. All those are the reasons why he has been effective.”
True to the words of his coaches and teammates, Schmitt emits humility and character.
“I’m giving the same effort as the other guys, I’m just the one up top. They are getting me the chances, and I’m just putting them away,” Schmitt said.
Assisting was sophomore defender from Stuttgart, Germany, Tim Kubel. He is now tied for the team high in assists with three. All three of his assists have come in the last three games.
As a freshman, Kubel was ACC Freshman of the Year, an All-ACC First Team selection and led the Cardinals with seven goals and five assists. Kubel also scored three game winners and chipped in a game winning assist in his freshman campaign.
Playing more of a defensive regimented position Kubel still creeps up in the midfield to provide a back line offensive presence.
The 22-year-old sophomore brings a professional presence and a natural savvy for the game from his upbringing in the world’s soccer powerhouse. With his technical skill, Kubel is often the player taking the free kicks, corner kicks and penalty kicks.
“He does because he serves a very good ball,” Lolla said. “He is one of the captains and his experience helps quite a bit and I think he is taking more of a leadership role all the time.”
Now the Cardinals go on a three-game road stint starting off at Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State on Tuesday.
From there, it doesn’t get any easier as Louisville takes on the defending national champion and ACC foe Virginia. Louisville then faces Clemson who defeated Louisville in last year’s ACC Tournament finale.
Louisville returns home to face the University of Connecticut on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.
“Now that we go on the road, we are going to have to be even tighter,” Lolla said. “We are going to have to be a better team and mentally tougher. It will be good for us right now, helping our growth and helping our development.”
Photo by Wade Morgen / The Louisville Cardinal