Offering a bright spot to an otherwise dreary sports weekend for UofL fans, the men's soccer team outlasted visiting Northwestern 2-1 in front of a large crowd Sunday night at Cardinal Park. The Cardinals improved to 14-5-1 on the year while becoming one of the final eight teams left in the tournament for the third straight season. They will face a rematch against #2 overall seed Maryland, who defeated UofL 3-0 in the season opener for both teams, in College Park Saturday afternoon.
Sunday's match started out much like their previous match against Winthrop after Marlon Hairston took a Greg Cochrane cross and scored in the 2nd minute. Against Winthrop the early goal started an onslaught that lead to a runaway 5-0 victory, but Northwestern proved to be a more formidable opponent, evening the score when Jarret Baughman found the back of the net after a corner kick landed in the box two minutes later. The teams played evenly throughout the remainder of the first half, and went to halftime tied 1-1.
The second half saw the Wildcats press the issue and test Louisville keeper Mike Mauro, including a save on a beautiful corner kick that found a Northwestern player alone at the far post for an uncontested header. Mauro was positioned perfectly though and preserved the tie with an easy save. Finally, with time winding down and the crowd becoming jittery, Dylan Mares took the ball down the left wing and split two defenders before deflecting a shot off a Northwestern player and into the goal for the deciding margin. While the goal was rightly scored an own goal, it was a direct result of the stellar attacking play Mares has become known for late in the season. The Cardinals were able to withstand several final attempts by Northwestern to complete the victory.
Photo: stock.xchang/Colin Bamford
I'm on Twitter! Follow me @wapaytick