Dec. 19, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Entering the season with high expectations with a preseason national ranking and pegged as the second choice in the race for the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship, the Louisville men's soccer team rose to the challenge during a record-setting season.
The Cardinals delivered their seventh straight season with double-figure wins finishing with an 11-5-4 mark overall. The regular season was highlighted by surpassing the expectations of the coaches in the American Conference by winning the regular season championship with a 5-1-2 league mark. Advancing to the NCAA Championship for the seventh straight season and hosting their 10th NCAA game at home, the Cardinals also added numerous individual honors in 2013 with a conference player of the year award, five all-conference selections and a trio of all-region honorees.
LOUISVILLE BY THE NUMBERS...
Here is a list of Louisville accomplishments in 2013: 7th straight NCAA berth... 4th conference title in 5 seasons... 1 AAC Player of the Year... 5 All-AAC selections... 3 All-Region selections... Top 20 national ranking
GOODBYE CARDINAL PARK; HELLO LYNN STADIUM
After 14 seasons and more than 80 wins at Cardinal Park, the Louisville men's soccer program played its final game at the facility on Nov. 21 with its NCAA first round match against Denver. Playing host to some of the program's most memorable matches, Cardinal Park will remain the home to the Louisville track and field program while the men's soccer team will open the 2014 season in its new facility, Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium. Located across from Papa John's Cardinal Stadium just south of Cardinal Park on Floyd Street, Lynn Stadium is an $18.5 million, state-of the-art stadium featuring seating for more than 5,300 and a 15,500-square-foot training center. The Cardinals' move into the highly competitive ACC next season will be aided by arguably the nation's best soccer facility.
CARDINALS' NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
After making its seventh straight appearance in the NCAA Championship, Louisville is 9-7-1 all-time in the tournament with one College Cup appearance (2010).
11/21 - 1st Rnd vs. Denver (Louisville, Ky.) - T, 0-0 (2OT)
11/24 - 2nd Rnd at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.) - L, 1-0 (2OT)
11/18 - 2nd Rnd vs. Winthrop (Louisville, Ky.) - W, 5-0
11/25 - 3rd Rnd vs. Northwestern (Louisville, Ky.) - W, 2-1
12/01 - 4th Rnd at Maryland (College Park, Md.) - L, 3-1
11/20 - 2nd Rnd vs. Bradley (Louisville, Ky.) - W, 3-2 (2OT)
11/27 - 3rd Rnd at Maryland (College Park, Md.) - W, 4-2
12/03 - 4th Rnd vs. UCLA (Louisville, Ky.) - L, 1-0 (2OT)
11/21 - 2nd Rnd vs. College of Charleston (Louisville, Ky.) - W, 3-1
11/28 - 3rd Rnd vs. Ohio State (Louisville, Ky.) - W, 2-1
12/04 - 4th Rnd vs. UCLA (Louisville, Ky.) - W, 5-4
12/10 - College Cup SF vs. UNC (Santa Barbara, Calif.) - W, 2-1
12/12 - College Cup Final vs. Akron (Santa Barbara, Calif.) - L, 1-0
11/19 - 1st Rnd at Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.) - L, 2-0
11/21 - 1st Rnd vs. Jacksonville (Louisville, Ky.) - L, 4-3 (OT)
11/23 - 1st Rnd vs. Duke (Louisville, Ky.) - W, 1-0
11/28 - 2nd Rnd at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio) - L, 1-0
LOUISVILLE LEADERS IN 2013
Ricardo Velazco led the Cardinals with seven goals, nine assists and 23 points in his first season at Louisville. Andrew Brody was second on the team with eight assists this season to go with three goals, while Jimmy Ockford had four goals, including three game-winners. Zack Foxhoven, Marlon Hairston and Daniel Keller had three goals each for Louisville. Goalkeeper Joachim Ball, with 19 starts, had eight shutouts along with a 0.69 goals against average.
CARDINALS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS
Following the completion of the NCAA Championship, Louisville ranked 18th in goals against average at 0.71, 27th in shutout percentage at 0.45 and 34th in save percentage at 0.808. Individually, Ricardo Velazco ranked 15th nationally in total assists with nine, 19th in assists per game at 0.45 and 41st in total points with 23. Joachim Ball ranked 15th in goals against average at 0.688, while Andrew Brody was 26th in total assists with eight.
LOUISVILLE SUSTAINS NATIONAL RANKING THROUGHOUT SEASON
Louisville closed the 2013 season ranked 18th in the final NSCAA coaches poll released on Dec. 17. The Cardinals remained among the nationally ranked teams in the NSCAA poll throughout the season rising as high as No. 6 on Oct. 22 and slipping as low as No. 22 on Sept. 17.
OCKFORD, VELAZCO AND BRODY EARN ALL-MIDWEST REGION ACCOLADES
Louisville senior defender Jimmy Ockford and sophomore forward Ricardo Velazco were named First Team All-Midwest Region by the NSCAA on Dec. 10 while freshman midfielder Andrew Brody earned Second Team honors. Starting all 20 games along the backline for the Cardinals, Ockford was selected as the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year while also providing scoring punch connecting for four goals, including three game-winners. Delivering game-winners against top 20 foe Virginia, UCF and top 20 opponent Saint Louis, Ockford was also a key defensively as Louisville ranked among the nation's top 30 teams in shutout percentage.
A First Team All-American Athletic Conference selection, Velazco was a versatile and explosive offensive player this fall leading the conference in points (23), ranking second in assists with nine and placing fourth in goals with seven. Overall, he led Louisville in goals, assists, points and shots while starting every game. A Second Team All-Conference honoree and a member of the league's All-Rookie Team, Brody had a terrific freshman season with the Cardinals scoring three goals and adding eight assists while starting all 20 games in the midfield.
LOUISVILLE WINS INAUGURAL AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Entering the season as the second choice in the race for the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship, the Louisville men's soccer team rose to the challenge during an impressive regular season. The regular season was highlighted by surpassing the expectations of the coaches in the American Athletic Conference by winning the regular season championship with a 5-1-2 league mark. After clinching a share of the title with their 2-1 win at Memphis on Oct. 26, the Cardinals claimed the championship outright with their scoreless draw against USF on Nov. 3 in the regular season finale at Cardinal Park.
OCKFORD CHOSEN TOP AAC DEFENDER TO LEAD LOUISVILLE HONORS
Senior defender Jimmy Ockford of the Louisville men's soccer team was honored as 2013 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year while four other Cardinals earned all-conference accolades during the awards banquet in Frisco, Texas on Nov. 14.
Joining Ockford as First Team All-American Conference selections was forward Ricardo Velazco and midfielder Marlon Hairston, while midfielder Andrew Brody and defender Michael DeGraffenreidt were named Second Team All-American Conference honorees. Both Brody and DeGraffenreidt were also listed on the American Athletic Conference All-Rookie Team.
Starting every game along the backline for the Cardinals, Ockford was been a key defensive presence while also providing scoring punch connecting for four goals, including three game-winners. Connecting for game-winners against top 20 foe Virginia, UCF and top 20 opponent Saint Louis, Ockford was also a key defensively as Louisville ranked among the nation's top teams in shutout percentage. Twice this season (Sept. 23, Oct. 7) Ockford was chosen as American Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
Velazco was one of the most versatile and explosive offensive players in the conference this fall leading the American in points (23), ranking second in assists with nine and placing fourth in goals with seven. Chosen as the league's Offensive Player of the Week a conference-leading three times, Velazco scored two goals in the Cardinals' Oct. 6 win at SMU and had one goal and two assists in the Oct. 31 victory over No. 20 Saint Louis. Overall, he led Louisville in goals, assists, points and shots.
Hairston, who started every game for the Cardinals playing both in the midfield and as a forward, scored three goals with two assists. Named to the All-Big East Rookie team as a freshman last year, Hairston has six goals and five assists in his two seasons in Louisville.
Brody had a terrific rookie season with the Cardinals scoring three goals and adding eight assists while starting all 18 games in the midfield. Twice this season, he was credited with two assists in a match (vs. No. 20 Virginia and No. 8 UConn), while on Sept. 30, he was selected as the American Conference Rookie of the Week after scoring a goal and adding an assist in Louisville's win over Temple.
DeGraffenreidt emerged as one of the most reliable players along the Cardinals' backline in 2013. Tabbed as the American Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 30, DeGraffenreidt teamed with Ockford to anchor Louisville defensively this season. During one stretch from mid-September to mid-October, Louisville set a school record for consecutive minutes played without allowing a goal at 560. That span included a school record five straight shutouts.
COACH LOLLA ONE VICTORY AWAY FROM 100 WINS AT LOUISVILLE
The winningest coach in the history of the Louisville men's soccer program, head coach Ken Lolla will earn his 100th victory at the helm of the Cardinals with their next win. Having led Louisville to three conference championships in the last five seasons and seven straight seasons with at least 11 wins, Lolla has also guided the Cardinals to seven consecutive NCAA Championship appearances. Louisville has made three NCAA Elite Eight appearances, including a national runner-up finish in 2010 when the Cardinals won a school record 20 games before falling to Akron in the title game of the College Cup.
VELAZCO CHOSEN AS CONFERENCE OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK ON NOV. 4
Forward Ricardo Velazco of the 11th-ranked Louisville men's soccer team was chosen on Nov. 4 as the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week marking the third time this season he has earned the honor.
Velazco, who also earned offensive player of the week honors on Oct. 7 and Sept. 2, scored one goal and added two assists in the Cards' dramatic 3-2 overtime win against No. 20 Saint Louis on Oct. 31 at rainy Cardinal Park. A native of Casa Grande, Ariz., Velazco scored his goal by connecting on his third penalty kick in as many tries this season as U of L secured its second win this season over a Top 20 foe.
The Cardinals' 2013 senior class.
LOUISVILLE HONORED FIVE SENIORS PRIOR TO REGULAR SEASON FINALE
Prior to Sunday's regular season finale against USF, the Louisville men's soccer program honored its five seniors during a pregame ceremony at Cardinal Park. The Cardinals recognized midfielder Derek McCaffrey, defender Jimmy Ockford, midfielder/defender Ade Akinsanya, forward Zack Foxhoven and goalkeeper Mike Mauro for their contributions to the program in the Louisville uniform.
FOXHOVEN NAMED CONFERENCE OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK ON OCT. 21
Forward Zack Foxhoven was selected on Oct. 21 as the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week. A native of Littleton, Colo., Foxhoven scored two goals and added one assist as the Cardinals extended their unbeaten streak to nine games with a midweek win over reigning NCAA champion Indiana and a 2-2 weekend draw against UConn. On Oct. 15, Foxhoven connected for a goal and an assist as Louisville earned a dominating 3-0 win at IU, while on Oct. 19, Foxhoven scored his second goal of the week as the Cardinals maintained their position atop the league standings with the draw.
LOUISVILLE SETS SCHOOL RECORD FOR DEFENSIVE SCORELESS STREAK
On Oct. 12, Louisville had its school record setting scoreless streak halted at 560 minutes against Rutgers when the Scarlet Knights scored in the 43rd minute of the Cardinals' 3-1 win. The previous school record for consecutive minutes played without allowing a goal was 496 set during the 2011 season. Louisville also set a school record with five straight shutout performances from Sept. 21 to Oct. 6. That surpassed the previous mark of four straight shutouts accomplished during the 2009 and 2011 seasons.
VELAZCO, OCKFORD EARN AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE AWARDS ON OCT. 7
For the second straight week, the Louisville men's soccer team earned multiple weekly honors from the American Athletic Conference as midfielder Ricardo Velazco was chosen as Offensive Player of the Week and defender Jimmy Ockford was selected as Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 7.
Velazco became the first Cardinal this season to score two goals in a match as he led 17th-ranked Louisville to a 2-0 conference victory over SMU on Oct. 6 in Dallas. Velazco connected for both goals in a span of less than five minutes early in the second half of the victory over the Mustangs. Ockford was a key stopper on the Louisville backline as the No. 17 Cardinals earned a pair of shutouts to set a school record for consecutive shutouts with five.
BALL, BRODY AND DEGRAFFENREIDT EARN CONFERENCE AWARDS ON SEPT. 30
The Louisville men's soccer team took three of the four weekly honors announced by the American Athletic Conference on Sept. 30 as Joachim Ball was named Goalkeeper of the Week, midfielder Andrew Brody was selected as Rookie of the Week and Michael DeGraffenreidt was honored as Defensive Player of the Week.
Ball helped lead the Cardinals to a pair of shutout wins in the previous week, including a 3-0 victory over Temple in their American Athletic Conference matchup at Cardinal Park. Ball had three saves in the win over the Owls. Brody scored his first career goal and added an assist in the victory over Temple. DeGraffenreidt started on the backline in each of the two shutout wins the previous week for the Cardinals. In the two victories, DeGraffenreidt led the way as the Cardinals limited SIU Edwardsville and Temple to a combined three shots on goal in 180 minutes.
OCKFORD NAMED CONFERENCE DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK ON SEPT. 23
Jimmy Ockford was selected as American Athletic Conference Defender of the Week on Sept. 23 after anchoring the Louisville men's soccer team's backline in the win at UCF. Ockford was instrumental as the Cardinals limited the Knights to only one shot on goal while also providing offense with his third goal of the season in the 3-0 victory. Connecting for the first goal of the night less than three minutes into the match, he helped lead Louisville to a win in its American Athletic Conference opener.
VELAZCO NAMED CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK ON SEPT. 2
Midfielder Ricardo Velazco was named American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 2 after scoring a goal and adding an assist in the Louisville men's soccer team's 2-1 season-opening win at No. 20 Virginia. In his first season as a Cardinal after transferring from Cal State San Bernardino, Velazco connected for Louisville's first goal of the season in the first half in Charlottesville before being credited with an assist in the second and decisive goal in the second half of the road triumph.
CARDINALS SECOND IN PRESEASON AMERICAN COACHES' POLL
The Louisville men's soccer team was tabbed to finish second in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference while Connecticut was selected as the unanimous favorite by the league's nine head coaches as announced on Aug. 19 by the conference.
Louisville advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championship in 2012, marking the third straight season the Cardinals finished among the nation's final eight squads. UofL, which finished 2012 ranked No. 7 overall, closed the conference season as the BIG EAST Red Division champions after finishing with a 7-1-0 record in league play.
UConn earned 64 points and all eight possible first-place votes as the preseason selection to win the American title, while the Cardinals garnered one first-place vote and 55 points overall. USF was third with 49 points and was followed by SMU (42) in fourth, Rutgers (33) in fifth, Memphis (28) in sixth, UCF (26) in seventh, Cincinnati (18) in eighth and Temple (nine) in ninth.
FOXHOVEN, HAIRSTON AND KELLER NAMED PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE
Along with their projected team finish, the Cardinals also had a trio of players -- senior forward Zack Foxhoven, sophomore midfielder Marlon Hairston and redshirt junior Daniel Keller -- selected to the preseason all-conference team. Foxhoven had five goals last year, Hairston had nine points on three goals and three assists and Keller started all 21 games for Louisville, which was 14-6-1 overall.
Andre Blake of UConn was selected as the Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year, Ben Sweat of USF was chosen as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and Mamadou Doudou of UConn was named as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year in the individual honors.
LOUISVILLE HOSTS HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL INAUGURAL KICKOFF BANQUET
With preseason camp well underway, the nationally ranked Louisville men's soccer program continued the countdown to the 2013 season with the inaugural Kickoff Banquet on Aug. 18 at the Galt House in downtown Louisville. Head coach Ken Lolla and the Cardinals were joined by former MLS MVP and ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman, who entertained the crowd of more than 200 Louisville fans and supporters.
"Though this was our inaugural kickoff luncheon, our vision is that tonight will lead to this being an annual event for our program," Lolla said. "We hope it is something that will help our fans not only get acquainted with the team, but help our momentum going into the season."