UofL hosted Sweet Sixteen action at Card Park on Sunday, as the NCAA Men's Soccer Tourney brought the Northwestern Wildcats to town for a matchup with the 10th seeded Cardinals. Northwestern made the trip in from Chicago hoping to get their third shutout victory of the tournament- after defeating both Western Illinois and Marquette with a score of 1-0. But there would be no shutout, as Louisville immediately scored its first goal just 2 minutes into the first half. Freshman #22 Marlon Hairston took the lead for the Cards, as he sent his shot into the net at the 2:35 mark.
#22 Marlon Hairston
Louisville 1, Northwestern 0. But not for long. Less than 2 minutes after Hairston put a point on the board for the Cards- Wildcat #4 Jarrett Baughman would tie the game with a goal, his first of the season.
It was apparent that Northwestern had studied Louisville, and the Wildcats even seemed comfortable out on UofL's pitch during the first half. Probably helped that three Wildcat players attended high schools in Louisville, and had played with or against some of the Cards' hometown boys. After the first two goals of the game, the remainder of the 1st half was spent with the teams locked in an evenly traded battle for possession of the ball. The score remained tied at halftime, 1-1.
The Wildcats defense had to step up its game Sunday- because the Cards made as many shots on goal during one half of this 3rd round game than Northwestern had seen from opponents in their 1st and 2nd round games combined. Louisville was the more dominating force in the second half of play. The Cardinals kept more possession of the ball and created some great shot opportunities for themselves. Once again, Goalie Mike Mauro made crucial saves (3 total) and there was tremendous hustle and determination from UofL- most noticeably from #6 Dylan Mares. And it would be a play by Mares that would bring about the win for Louisville. With only 3 minutes left in the game, Mares took a shot on goal that went wide, but it bounced off a Northwestern player back into the net. Own goal. Louisville scores and wins 2-1.
Louisville Head Coach Ken Lolla
Louisville advances to the Elite 8, and will face No.2 seeded Maryland at College Park,
Saturday Dec. 1 at 5p.