Sheets of rain came with high stakes for Louisville Soccer at Lynn Stadium, Sunday Night. The Cardinals overcame a 1-0 deficit in dramatic fashion in front of a water logged crowd of 1,714 to defeat St. Louis 2-1 and advance to the Final 16 of the College Cup.
It was a goal from Tim Kubel in the 70th minute from a pass off Andrew Brody and goal from Brody, himself, that gave Louisville the win.
The weather kept the action down for one half as both teams went to the locker room scoreless with only three shots between them. In the second half, even the approximate two inches of rain that had fallen in Louisville couldn’t keep the offense down along with the fouls. There were eight of them total, along with two yellow cards.
It took a while but Andrew Brody finally got his moment, he had poked through Billiken defenders all evening but couldn’t get the last touch to go his way. In the 70th minute, it finally happened. Tim Kubel laced a ball from the right side, right over a Billiken defender into the willing leg of Andrew Brody. Brody knew right away what to do with it.
“I knew one was gonna come off. I had made a lot of runs before that,” Sophomore MF Andrew Brody noted. “I just had to keep having faith in my teammates. Spot work to finish it, it was easiest goal of my life pretty much.”
Perhaps easy, but large. It was the goal that got Louisville back from the brink of heartbreak. A similar fate that it had suffered just a few days ago. It was goal that said up German Freshman Tim Kubel for the winning goal just a few moments later.
“I got the ball and I was about to shoot with my left foot and I saw that one goal slipped,” He explained. “I was like ‘oh, he slipped’ so I just hit with my left foot as hard I could.”
Three months ago, one goal could have been enough, in fact it was. The one goal happened in September and Louisville couldn’t rebound falling 1-0. Another fact, both Louisville Head Coach Ken Lolla and Saint Louis Head Coach Mike McGinty viewed tonight as a similar game.
“It was pretty similar,” McGinty noted. “The first game we scored and they came at us the rest of the game like they did tonight. Tonight we scored first again but they just kept coming,”
There may have been similarities in the game but there are distinct differences in this Louisville soccer team, that’s how Ken Lolla tells it. Louisville has went through several ebb and flows in 2014, there 10-7-3 record coming into tonight is Louisville worst record in five seasons.
“There’s been some tough moments during the season that we’ve had to be very critical of ourselves. At some point, we had to have some ‘tough love’ because of that,” Lolla stated after tonight’s victory. “There was a point in the middle of the season where I think we liked each other, and were good buddies but I don’t think we loved each other. Right now I think you’ll see this group loves each other by the commitment they offer on the field to each other.”
Love can do a lot.
For this Louisville team it’s took them from a fringe NCAA Tournament to a National seed when it won ACC Tournament games over #1 North Carolina and #2 Syracuse. It’s got them now two NCAA Tournament games at home, a feat that seemed virtually impossible just a few short weeks ago. It’s also got them in the Final 16 of College Soccer. One win away from the quarterfinals. The last time Ken Lolla got a Louisville team that far? They made it to the final game.
“How we’ve responded to this point has been fulfilling and satisfying,” Lolla said. “Here’s the best part: I don’t think we’re done growing. I don’t think we’ve played our best yet and I’m looked forward to having those opportunities to do that.”
Perhaps this story of tough love tested Cardinals will even be more fulfilling with a victory next Sunday night against UMBC at 6pm at Lynn Stadium.
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