By Dristant Pokharel

The University of Louisville men’s soccer team found their winning rhythm by winning at Evansville on Tuesday after their first loss of the season against Virginia Tech.

First taste of defeat

The Cardinals, entering the match ranked No. 5, made an early impact within six minutes as Quinton Elliot’s outside-the-box firecracker fired into the top right corner igniting the home crowd. The game paced slowly soon after, and toward the end of the first half, the Hokies leveled the score. The Birds were on a backfoot throughout the game as Virginia outshot Louisville 18-10 and 8-3 advantage on corner kicks. In the 88th minute, the Hokies capitalized on a loss of possession by the Cards and scored, handing them their first defeat of the season.

Sander Roed added another assist to his tally, moving him into a tie for eighth place all-time at Louisville. Following the defeat, head coach John Michael Hayden expressed his disappointment and urged his team to show resilience at the next opportunity.

“The teams can respond and bounce back, and I believe the leaders in my team to step up after the loss,” Hayden said.

“Win or lose, we can always learn and grow. Tonight was a different type of reflection for us,” he added. Louisville dropped off to No. 10 in the United Soccer Coaches rankings before their next game at Evansville.

Bouncing back in Evansville

Late goals in the second half propelled the tenth-ranked Cardinals back to their winning ways as Louisville secured a 2-0 victory against Evansville on Sept. 19th. A spectacular left-foot finish by freshman Ethan Subachan in the 79th minute broke the deadlock. In the closing minutes, Barker John stepped up to take a penalty after being fouled by the goalkeeper, securing the victory. The Cardinals outshot the Aces 14-10 in the match. Goalkeeper Alex Svetanoff saved all five shots on target from Evansville earning his fourth clean sheet of the fall.

Honors for Gage

Junior forward Gage Guerra, the team’s leading scorer, received accolades after an impressive week in early September, scoring four goals across two matches. He was named the ‘ACC Offensive Player of the Week’, was recognized in ‘Soccer America Standouts of the Week’, and was in the team of the week for ‘Top Drawer Soccer’ and ‘College Soccer News’. Guerra will be eager to get back on the scoring charts, having not scored in the recent two matches following the honors.

Louie takes a selfie with the crowd at the game against Virginia Tech at Lynn Stadium on September 16.

The Cardinals will welcome NC State to Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Stadium on Sunday, with kickoff at 7 P.M. ET.

File Photos // Chris Carter, Louisville Athletics