Nov. 9, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The No. 7-ranked and top-seeded Louisville men's soccer team had its push for a second conference title of the fall halted on Saturday night at Cardinal Park in a 1-0 loss to Rutgers in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 American Athletic Conference Championship.
With the loss in the elimination match, the Cardinals dropped to 11-4-3 overall and will await their NCAA Championship assignment when the complete field of 48 teams is released on Monday, Nov. 18 at noon ET. Last Sunday, Louisville (5-1-2 record) clinched the inaugural AAC regular season championship and earned the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament after playing to a scoreless tie against USF at Cardinal Park.
Eighth-seeded Rutgers, which opened the tournament on Friday with a 5-1 win over Cincinnati in a first round match at Cardinal Park, improved to 7-10-2 on the season with the win and will face No. 5 seed USF in a semifinal match on Friday in Frisco, Texas.
"The message in this one for our team is to take the lesson from it," said Louisville head coach Ken Lolla. "We certainly created enough chances to win the game but we didn't take care of them. In any game, especially the postseason, when you allow a team to hang around and keep it close, one chance can change the game and that was evident tonight."
Missed opportunities told the story for the Cardinals, who had a 17-12 advantage in shots and a 10-3 edge in shots on goal but were never able to capitalize on the chances. However, with the game scoreless late in the second half, it was the Scarlet Knights who delivered the only goal of the night when Mael Corboz scored inside the left post from the left side of the 18-yard box with only 4:31 left in regulation. The sixth goal of the season for Corboz was setup after Erik Sa sent a ball near the end line on the right side where Kene Eze crossed it to the left for the scoring chance.
Among the missed scoring chances for Louisville was a first half penalty kick by sophomore Ricardo Velazco (Casa Grande, Ariz.). After the Scarlet Knights were whistled for a takedown inside the box in the 41st minute, Velazco was called upon to take the attempt in the scoreless match. Having converted on each of his first three penalty kicks this fall, Velazco missed on the fourth after Rutgers goalkeeper David Greczek made the diving the stop.
Overall, Greczek finished with nine saves, while a 10th Rutgers save was credited as a team stop after a backline defender put a foot on a shot by the Cardinals during a late second half flurry. For Louisville, junior Joachim Ball (Deutenberg, Germany) had a pair of saves in the loss.
The first round of the 2013 NCAA Championship is set for Thursday, Nov. 21, while the second round is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 24. The first four rounds of the tournament will be played at campus sites, while the College Cup is set for Dec. 13 and 15 at PPL Park in Philadelphia, Pa.