Tate Schmitt’s header in the 94th minute lifted the No. 4 University of Louisville men’s soccer team to a 2-1 overtime victory against UCLA in Sunday night’s NCAA Championship second round match at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium.
Less than four minutes into the first golden goal overtime period, sophomore Danny Reynolds delivered a perfectly placed cross from the left side of the field into the box, where Schmitt connected with a header scoring inside the right post for the clincher. The fourth goal of the season and the 11th career tally for the sophomore from Phoenix, Arizona pushed Louisville (13-5-2) into the third round of the NCAA Championship for the fifth time in the last seven seasons.
“We had a long build up and (Daniel Johnson) was making a run before he played it outside to Danny. I was just trying to draw my run back waiting for him to serve it. Luckily, it came right over the center back and found my head,” Schmitt said of the sequence leading to the game-winning goal. “The serve from Danny was beautiful. You couldn’t ask for anything else. It sat right on my head.”
The Cardinals, who reached 13 wins in a season for the first time since finishing 14-6-1 in 2012, will host Atlantic Coast Conference foe and 13th-seeded Notre Dame on Sunday (Nov. 27) at5 p.m., ET at Lynn Stadium. Tickets for the NCAA third round match against the Fighting Irish, who advanced with a 1-0 win over Loyola Chicago on Sunday, are priced at $10 for reserved chairback seats and $5 for general admission/berm seating, are on sale now and can be purchased online at GoCards.com, by phone at 502-GO-CARDS or in person through the Louisville Cardinals Ticket Office at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
“I was proud of how we handled things tonight and I thought Stef came up with some massive saves. We had to survive a period where we were under it in the second half and then finding a way at the end of the game to win it,” said Louisville head coach Ken Lolla. “It’s all about winning and advancing and surviving and today with did that against a very good team in UCLA.”
In the fourth meeting all-time between the Cardinals and Bruins (10-8-2), including the third NCAA Championship clash, Louisville wasted little time breaking through for the first goal of the match after junior Jack Gayton scored inside the far right post from eight yards out in just the third minute of action. Junior Tim Kubel started with scoring chance with a free kick from the right side, which he sent to the opposite side of the box to Gayton, who delivered his third goal of the season. The assist was the 10th of the season for Kubel, the most for a Louisville player since Colin Rolfe’s 10 assists in 2011.
The Cardinals, who improved to 9-2-1 at home this season, maintained the one-goal advantage throughout the first half and into the second half before UCLA evened the score at 1-1 in the 59th minute on the seventh goal of the season for Abu Danladi. After the ball was played back by the Louisville defense, the clearance attempt by Cardinals goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland deflected off the leg of Danladi, who was charging with pressure into the 18-yard box, and caromed into the goal for the equalizer.
Despite multiple chances for each side to deliver the go-ahead goal in regulation, the score remained even through the 90-minute mark as Louisville played its fifth overtime match of the season, including the second straight, while UCLA also played into extra time for the fifth time. Once in overtime, Schmitt needed just 10 seconds to attempt the first shot, which was saved by Bruins goalkeeper Kevin Sliva. UCLA narrowly missed on the game-winner in the 93rd minute when Felix Vobejda missed just above the crossbar on an open chance from inside the 18-yard box.
That left the door open for Reynolds, who was credited with his first assist of the season, to find Schmitt for his fifth career game-winning goal. Cleveland closed the night with four saves in goal. Overall, Louisville finished Sunday’s match with a 17-12 advantage in shots, including an 11-5 edge on-goal. The Bruins closed the night with a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks.
The NCAA third round contest with Notre Dame will be a rematch of Cardinals’ 1-0 victory over the Fighting Irish on September 16 at Lynn Stadium. Louisville and Notre Dame are among eight ACC teams to advance to the 16-team third round of the NCAA Championship.