Sophomore Ivan Gutierrez scored in the 76th minute to lift the 19th-ranked Louisville men’s soccer team to a 1-0 win over No. 2 North Carolina in Sunday afternoon’s ACC Championship quarterfinal match at Fetzer Field.
With the victory, the sixth-seeded Cardinals (9-6-3) advance to an ACC semifinal matchup against No. 1 ranked and second-seeded Syracuse on Friday at 8 p.m., ET (ESPN3) at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. Top-seeded Notre Dame and No. 4 seed Clemson will open Friday’s semifinal action at 5:30 p.m., on ESPN3.
In a match with limited offensive chances for either side, Louisville connected for the only goal on a counter attack when junior Ricardo Velazco (Casa Grande, Ariz.) found Gutierrez (Hallandale Beach, Fla.) sprinting down the center of the field, where he worked around the backline of the Tar Heels and scored inside the right post for the match-winner. It was the second goal of the season and the fourth of the career of the Gutierrez, while the assist for Velazco was his fourth of the year.
“I am proud of our guys as it was a very gritty win. We played very well in the first half and survived the pressure in the second half to create a great goal by Ivan,” said Louisville head coach Ken Lolla. “It was a tremendous team effort.”
Despite finishing with a 9-6 edge in shots, the Tar Heels (12-5-1) saw their eight-game unbeaten streak halted and lost at home for just the second time in 10 matches this season. The highest scoring team in the ACC in the regular season, North Carolina was held without a goal for just the third time in 18 matches in 2014. The Cardinals also limited Carolina’s Andy Craven, the leading goal-scorer in the ACC with 11, to just one shot on Sunday.
Senior goalkeeper Joachim Ball (Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany) needed just one save to earn his 15th career shutout and clinch Louisville’s seventh shutout of the season. North Carolina’s Brendan Moore stopped one of the two shots he faced as the two teams combined for only three shots on goal on Sunday.
Friday’s semifinal match with No. 1 Syracuse will mark the second time the two teams have met this season. On Oct. 17, the Cardinals earned a 2-1 victory in overtime against the Orange at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium in Louisville.
2015 Season Tickets
Season tickets for Louisville’s second season at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium are now available. To obtain tickets for the 2015 soccer season, call Dan Cerwinski in the Louisville ticket office at (502) 852-0120 and place your $70 deposit. Ticket prices for the 2015 season will remain the same as the inaugural season and will start as low $45.
Season tickets for 2015 include every home match for both the men’s and women’s soccer programs. Men’s home matches at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium will feature former Big East and American Conference rival Connecticut as well as in-state foe Kentucky. The women’s side will again feature the top programs in the ACC highlighted by 21-time national champion North Carolina, 2013 College Cup runner-up Florida State and Duke.
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