By Jordan Shim —
Men’s soccer fell to Virginia 4-3 in penalty kicks in the ACC Quarterfinal at Lynn Stadium. Neither team could find the back of the net after 110 minutes to force the best of five in spot kicks.
Virginia goalkeeper Joe Caldwell made two crucial saves to lead the Cavaliers past the Cards 4-3 and advance to the ACC semifinals.
The Cards had success against the Cavaliers, defeating them twice in 2016, a 6-1 drubbing on Sept. 24, and a 1-0 win in the same stage last season of the ACC Tournament on Nov. 6.
“I didn’t think they were going to score on us, to be honest with you,” coach Ken Lolla said. “But it was in the attacking third the guys counted on all year weren’t sharp enough.”
The game shaped up like the latter of last year’s meeting with both teams playing it close to the vest and not taking a lot of chances.
Cherif Dieye had the best chance of the first half in the 43rd minute with a blast from just outside the box. It looked destined to hit the crossbar, but Virginia goalkeeper Joe Caldwell took no risks, tipping it over.
Louisville, defensively, played a picture perfect first half, holding Virginia to zero shots. The Cavaliers did look dangerous in certain situations, but the Cards fended off the pressure.
Virginia was more lively in the second half, with three shots in the opening 15 minutes. They almost scored in the 61st minute on a free kick. Sergi Nus sent in a cross that Edward Opoku was able to head but fired just over the bar for a goal kick.
Both teams played tight not to give up anything cheap. As a result, chances came at a premium, with the second half totaling just four shots in favor of Virginia.
The Cards were much more aggressive in the opening period of extra time, but could only muster one shot. The Cards mirrored the pressure from the first half to the second, but the Cavaliers held firm.
In penalties, Walker Andriot and Tate Schmitt missed their penalty kicks after Thiaw hit the first, creating a 3-1 hole for Will Meyer to dig the Cards out of. The Ohio native made one save but was unable to save the last as the Cards exited the tournament in sour fashion.
“We’ll likely be a top 16 seed with a first-round bye, so we have two weeks to get ready,” Lolla said. “Part of that is physical. We looked tired, and I’m not sure why. I thought we had a good week of training, looking sharp and full of energy.”
Louisville will likely earn a top 16 seed in the NCAA, therefore will have two weeks off to prepare for the big dance starting on Nov. 16.
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