By Jordan Shim —
In the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, fourth-seeded men’s soccer defeated Colgate 2-0 to advance to their second consecutive Elite Eight.
Junior forward Tate Schmitt continued his big game performances, opening the scoring in the 34th minute. Senior midfielder Walker Andriot made it 2-0 in the 40th minute.
Colgate came with momentum. After capturing the Patriot League, the Raiders defeated Massachusetts and 13 seed Michigan to set up the first-ever matchup between the two schools.
Replacing an injured Jake Gelnovatch, Will Meyer started between the posts for Louisville.
“Tonight was a great night for us,” coach Ken Lolla said. “I was really pleased with how the guys handled the night, right from the beginning. We controlled the tempo of the game, created some great opportunities and came up with some really timely goals. It was a well-deserved win and an opportunity to keep the journey going.”
A typical start, Louisville passed around the back, in no rush to get aggressive. Colgate absorbed the pressure and launched two counterattacks, almost catching the Cards off guard.
Colgate held off the pressure, heading away cross after cross sent in by Tim Kubel. But it was only a matter of time before they broke.
After conceding the fourth corner of the contest, Kubel swung in a cross from the left. Schmitt stepped in front of his marker to head home, scoring his team-leading ninth goal of the season.
The Cards doubled the advantage five minutes later off a corner kick on the right side.
Ziyad Fekri swung his cross into the box that connected with Andriot. The ball bounced through the Colgate traffic to give the Raiders a huge mountain to climb. The assist is Fekri’s second in two games.
“We had a good buildup … Walker cut it back and whipped it in. I made a near post run, and it found me. I think I flicked it in. I fell down. I didn’t know what happened either. I saw it roll so I took the credit,” Schmitt said.
A two-goal deficit wasn’t something Colgate was unfamiliar with. Falling 2-0 down inside 10 minutes to Michigan in the 2nd round, they came back to win 3-2. Whether they could break down the stingy Cardinal defense was a stern task for the Raiders.
The game should have gone into the break with Colgate down 2-1, but Kentaro Morrison’s shot from 10 yards went just wide of the right post.
Lolla stresses the team play lights out defense every time they step onto the pitch, and after Colgate struck before the halftime whistle, he made it the goal of the team to win the game without conceding. Naturally, because Louisville sat back, Colgate enjoyed the ball a bit more, but could not do much with it going forward.
Colgate sent everyone in the final ten minutes of the game in search of a goal, but Louisville bunkered down to preserve the 2-0 win.
After fifth-seeded Akron defeated Wisconsin 3-2, they meet the Cards on Friday, Dec. 1 for the first time in the postseason since the Zips beat them in the 2010 National Championship.
You can follow Jordan on Twitter @tlcjordanshim.
File photo / The Louisville Cardinal