UMBC converted a penalty kick in the 23rd minute of action and made the goal stand in a 1-0 victory over the 13th-seeded Louisville men’s soccer team in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Championship at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium.
The Cardinals ended their season at 11-8-3 overall, while the Retrievers improved to 14-5-4 and will next challenge No. 12 seed Creighton in an NCAA quarterfinal match on Friday in Omaha, Neb. It will be UMBC’s first trip to an NCAA quarterfinal game in any sport in the school’s NCAA Division I history.
“It was a night where, in the first half, I felt like we wasted 45 minutes,” Louisville head coach Ken Lolla said in Sunday’s post-match news conference. “We didn’t put into it what we did in the second half, and 45 minutes of effort wasn’t quite good enough tonight. I was proud of how we responded in the second half. I thought the guys did tremendously well to create some really good chances.”
After 20 minutes of back and forth play, UMBC jumped ahead 1-0 after Louisville was called for a foul in the18-yard box on a handball. Mamadou Kansaye was able to convert, sending the ball to the top left corner of the goal for the one-goal advantage for the Retrievers. The rest of the half remained scoreless, with both teams having few scoring chances. The teams finished the half with four shots apiece, while the Cardinals held a 3-2 advantage in corner kicks.
The Cardinals came out strong in the second half and constantly threatened the UMBC defense. Shane Campbell (York, Pa.) nearly tied the game in the 61st minute of play, but his header sailed high of the crossbar. Just three minutes later, Will Vitalis’ (Crestwood, Ky.) shot was smothered directly in front of the goal by UMBC goalkeeper Billy Heavner. The Retrievers’ goalkeeper continued his strong work when he tipped Tim Kubel’s (Stuttgart, Germany) header over the crossbar in the 68th minute.
Louisville maintained its offensive attack through the final 20 minutes of the match as Vitalis and Ricardo Velazco (Casa Grande, Ariz) both had shots miss just wide of the cage in the 72nd and 74th minutes, respectively. Six minutes later, a scramble in front of the UMBC goal saw Heavner once again make the save, this time with his feet, to preserve the shutout and the win.
“The lesson tonight and the lesson in life, we just talked about it, is you have to be prepared to pursue it right from the beginning every single day,” Lolla explained of the Cardinals’ slow start and urgent attempt at an equalizer. “If you don’t, you’re going to have to accept the consequences of that.”
The Cardinals finished the game with a 13-8 shot advantage, including a 4-2 edge on goal, and a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks. Senior goalkeeper Joachim Ball (Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany) recorded one save on the night for Louisville, while Heavner finished with four stops for the Retrievers.