LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For the second consecutive season, the University of Louisville men’s soccer team will enter the NCAA Championship as the No. 4 overall seed equaling the second highest seed in school history. Making their 10th NCAA Championship appearance in the last 11 seasons, the Cardinals (11-2-4) earned a first round bye and will host the winner of Thursday’s California-San Francisco contest (played in Berkeley) in a second round match on Sunday at 5 p.m., ET at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium.
Tickets for the NCAA second round match, priced at $10 for reserved chairback seats and $5 for general admission/berm seating, will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday at noon ET and can be purchased online here, by phone at 502-GO-CARDS or in person through the Louisville Cardinals Ticket Office at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
The Cardinals, positioned to play at home in each round of the NCAA Championship prior to the College Cup as a result of being one of the top four seeds, were among an NCAA record-tying nine Atlantic Coast Conference programs receiving bids to the 48-team field. While nine of the league’s 12 men’s soccer programs earned an NCAA Championship berth for the second straight season, seven of those were among the top 12 seeds, including three of the top four. Wake Forest was seeded No. 1 and followed by No. 3 North Carolina, No. 4 Louisville, No. 6 Duke, No. 8 Clemson, No. 11 Virginia and No. 12 Notre Dame. NC State and Virginia Tech also earned NCAA Championship bids for the ACC.
Louisville, which was seeded No. 1 overall in 2010 for the program’s highest ever seed, enters this year’s NCAA Championship after falling in penalty kicks to Virginia in an ACC Championship quarterfinal match on Nov. 5 at Lynn Stadium. The Cardinals, who finished second in the ACC Atlantic Division with a 5-2-1 conference mark, are paced offensively by a trio of players with at least six goals this season. Senior Mohamed Thiaw leads the way with eight goals, while junior Tate Schmitt has seven and senior Tim Kubel has six. Defensively, the redshirt freshmen goalkeeping tandem of Jake Gelnovatch and Will Meyer have combined to register 10 shutouts this season.
Under the guidance of head coach Ken Lolla, who is in his 12th season at the helm, the Cardinals have advanced to the quarterfinal round (elite eight) of the NCAA Championship four times in the last seven years, including last season. Sunday’s match will mark the ninth time in the last eight seasons and the 11th time in the last 11 years Louisville has hosted at least one NCAA Championship match.
Eight of Louisville’s 17 matches in 2017 were played against NCAA Championship qualifiers with the Cardinals registering a 4-2-2 record in those contests. Louisville was 5-2-4 at home this season and has a 28-11-10 record all-time at Lynn Stadium, now in its fourth season as the team’s home facility. The Cardinals enter the 2017 postseason with a 10-4-1 mark all-time in NCAA Championship matches at home, including a 3-2-0 record at Lynn Stadium.
California enters the NCAA Championship with an 11-6-0 record overall and was second in the Pac-12 with a 6-4-0 conference mark. San Francisco is 9-8-0 on the season while earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Championship as the West Coast Conference champion with a 6-1-0 league record. Louisville is 1-0 all-time against Cal winning the only previous meeting in 2000. The Cardinals have no previous meetings against USF.