September 14, 2016

Louisville blanks Xavier, prepares for top-ranked Notre Dame

By Jordan Shim–

It was not their best performance, but goals by Geoffrey Dee and Tate Schmitt lifted Louisville’s men’s soccer team defeat Xavier 2-0 at Lynn Stadium on Tuesday night. Louisville improves to 4-1-1, while Xavier falls to 2-2-2.

When a team has a date with the best team in the country in the same week, it can be easy to overlook the competition the game before. An uneventful first half may have been a product of that. Neither team was hardly able to string consecutive passes going forward.

“I was a little bit disappointed about how we started the game today,” Louisville head coach Ken Lolla said. “We were slow, and Xavier put a lot of energy into it. You don’t get many opportunities to play the No. 1 team in the country. And I think our guys did a good job in not allowing that to be a distraction.”

The only relevant piece of action in the first half did not come until the 38th minute when Louisville broke through and scored the goal. Tim Kubel dribbled up the right flank before cutting in and found Dee. Falling, Dee unleashed a curling shot that flew past the outstretched Xavier goalkeeper Colin Hanley for his first career Louisville goal.

“It was great feeling,” Dee said. “It’s nice to get on the scoreboard, but the win is the biggest thing, carrying the momentum into Friday’s game.”

Coach Lolla demanded more energy from his team in the second half, and it paid off. The Cards pressed Xavier immediately after the second half whistle. Schmitt intercepted a back pass and ripped a shot to the right post past Hanley before he could react for his second goal of the season.

Despite playing in a new position this season, coach Lolla is pleased with Schmitt’s ability to adapt and perform.

“He’s been great, clearly one of our better-attacking players right now,” coach Lolla said. “We put him in different spots, and he’s been very effective.”

Xavier brought the energy in the latter stages of the game in the attempt to come back, but the Louisville defense stayed organized and recorded their fourth clean sheet of the season.

“Xavier is a strong second half team,” Louisville goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland said. “So we had to raise the energy level because they were going to. The back four and the midfield put in a great effort. All of the clean sheets that we’ve had, they go to them for sure.”

Louisville’s total shots were limited to single-digits for the first time this season with nine. But their defense stepped up and thwarted Xavier. The Musketeers could only manage four shots, way off the pace of their 16 shot average.

Schmitt led the way with a game-high three shots for the Cards. Dee and Ricardo Oliveros followed up with two.

The Cards’ next match will be their biggest game to date. They will play their second ACC game of the season hosting #1 Notre Dame on Sept. 16. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal

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