by Kevin Kernen
photos by Jared Anderson
The Cards opened up ACC conference play Sunday under an overcast sky as they looked to put a disappointing loss in the midweek against Kentucky firmly in the rear view. The task Sunday afternoon came in the form of a top-ten match up as they welcomed second-ranked Duke to town.
Despite playing just once in the previous 12 days, UofL came out with a chip on their shoulder. While their touches erred on the sloppy side, the boys in white had their say in matters for the majority of the opening quarter hour, albeit a Cherif Dieye cross-cum-shot would be as close as the hosts got in the opening passage.
As time wore on, the game got markedly more physical. A number of crunching tackles were narrowly avoided by either side as tensions rose. Things came to a head in the 21st minute when UofL defender William Portman put in a late challenge on Duke Freshman midfielder Issa Rayyan and picked up the games first caution, courtesy of referee Charles Murphy.
Play was halted in the 29th minute after Adam Wilson saw a shot from just inside the box blocked by the face of Duke midfielder Aedan Stanley, which required treatment for the visiting player. Moments later, UofL tested Will Pulisic in net, the shot also registered by Wilson.
Some very slick passing, connected by Geoffrey Dee in the midfield, opened up the Blue Devil’s defense and yielded the Card’s most promising chance in the half just 7 minutes from the intermission, but the eventual shot from Dee was blocked by a defender, just yards from goal.
The Cards would have to chalk up the first half as a moral victory, failing to score while owning a 6 to 1 edge in shots, but only turning a single one of them onto frame.
Although it had been precipitating in some form since kickoff, the drizzle turned to a proper rain around the 50th minute.
It took until the 53rd minute for the Cards to make good on their advantage, as a series of penetrating aerial balls first from Cody Cochran out of the back, to Tate Schmitt, and before Kino Ryosuke laid it off to Adam Wilson before the 6-foot-1 Scot uncorked a goal of the highest order over Pulisic.
“Just shoot, coaches tell us attacking players to go ahead and shoot when you get in that area… the performance that we had today in the defensiveness and in the counterattack gave us the opportunity to go and do that, I’m just happy that it went in on one of my shots” said Wilson
“The focus going into it after last game was just to have 90 minutes of relentless effort, and we got that” said coach Lolla “The effort was very good, the energy was great”
Credit to the defense as well, as the Cards maintained their advantage as the match grew testier in nature. A total of 6 cards were brandished on the afternoon. The Blue Devils were afforded just 6 shots, two of which required Gelnovatch’s intervention.
Duke mounted little in the way of resistance, and the tide turned firmly in favor of the Cardinals.
Ziyad Fekri tallied the second of the match for the cards in the 78th minute as he rose above his marker on the back end of a corner, taken by Wilson.
The die looked cast at that point, and it was only a question of how sizable the margin of victory the home Cards would be celebrating.
Minutes later, sophomore midfielder Elija Amo made an impeccably well-timed run behind the Blue Devil’s backline, and a simple Tate Schmitt pass through yielded him his second assist on the game, and furnished Amo with his first goal of the year.
In fact, each Cardinal goalscorer tallied their first of the 2018 campaign.
The soccer Cards return to action friday, traveling to Boston College for a 7pm kickoff, coverage can be found on ACC Network Extra.
UofL: 52:27, Adam Wilson; 77:43, Ziyad Fekri; 81:44, Elija Amo
--By Jared Anderson
--Photos by Jared Anderson
Looking to remain undefeated, the No. 9 Louisville men's soccer team made the trip to Lexington to face rival Kentucky. Host Kentucky claimed the victory 3-0.
A major question going into the match was who would be Louisville's starting goalkeeper. Both Will Meyer and Jake Gelnovatch had stellar outings in their appearances this season. Meyer got the call at goal for the match.
Kentucky got on the board in the fourth minute. Meyer raced out well beyond the box to challenge J.J. Williams. Williams beat Meyer to the ball and had an open goal to work with.
Williams tallied his second goal of the match in the 37th minute after receiving a header from Marcel Meinzer. The shot beat Meyer to the corner of the goal to pace the Wildcats into the half.
The first half also saw three yellow cards (Louisville- Will Meyer, Kentucky- J.J. Williams, Daniel Evans). Tensions were high as players shoved each other and were being separated at every dead period by the officials.
Going into the second half Louisville tried to pick up the pace, accumulating a handful of shots, but to no avail. In the 73rd minute, Adam Wilson was called for a hand ball. Aime Mabika lined up for the penalty kick. His shot went straight forward, and away from a diving Will Meyer, extending Kentucky's lead.
Cherif Dieye received a yellow card in the second half as tensions continued to rise.
Louisville drops to 2-1 and returns to Lynn Stadium to host No. 2 Duke on Sunday, at 2:00 p.m.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Seth Spalding
The Louisville Cardinals men’s soccer team is 2-0.
Ken Lolla and Co. defeated Georgia State 1-0, behind a very early goal. Louisville’s offense attacked most of the game, giving starting goaltender Will Meyer a very easy night.
Cherif Dieye scored his first goal of 2018 in the 4th minute. Kino Ryosuke booted the ball to Dieye, who sent it to the back of the net.
It was Louisville’s only score of the half. The Cards had the 6-1 shot advantage. Four of Louisville’s shots were on goal. The Cards also had four corners, and four fouls. Meyer was forced to only make one save.
Louisville had the 13-2 shot advantage. Meyer only had to save one more in the second half.
Louisville is now 2-0. They take on St. Louis Friday. Men’s Soccer plays the second game of a soccer double-header. The women take on arch-rival Kentucky at 5:30.
Gallery by Jared Anderson and Seth Spalding
-By Kevin Kernen
-Photos by Seth Spalding
The Men’ Soccer team finally kicked off their season friday night as the 6th ranked Cards played host to the Bonaventure Bonnies, the first of four non-conference matchups to start the season, three of which will transpire at Lynn Stadium.
It was always going to be a slow start, and the Cards needed a few minutes to get things going, but any progress was hampered when the promising Junior transfer Lamine Conte was fouled hard by the Bonnies’ Kosi Nwafornso in the 11th minute, resulting in an injury for the Frenchman.
Despite a handful of chances, the Boys in White suffered an early setback when Card’s defender Connor Brazil accidentally handled the ball in his own area, resulting in a penalty for the Bonnies that was thusly converted via the underside of the bar just before the quarter hour mark.
The Cards were less than flustered, though. Just 6 minutes later, a lofted ball from the midfielder Geoffrey Dee found the head of Tate Schmitt on the edge of the 6-yard box, who headed it expertly to the promising Kino Ryosuke on his right, who found a yard and buried it.
The remainder of the half was largely processional, each team predictably unsure in possession. The Cards had the edge, and continued to consolidate possession and touches in the visitor’s defensive third as the half neared its conclusion. Despite some tantalizing crosses, the teams went into the half level.
Bonaventure had a bee in their bonnet coming out of the intermission, and a dangerous counter moments into the second period fooled a couple Cardinal defenders before Jacob Dyck forced UofL starter Jake Gelnovatch into a highlight-reel acrobatic save to keep the teams level.
The Cards let a golden opportunity go begging in the 52nd minute after Kino was taken down in the box, and Schmitt’s imprecise take from the spot was saved and held by Luke Iacobellis in net.
Again, undeterred, the Cardinals continued to dictate the pace of the game for the majority of the succeeding quarter hour, culminating in earning a second penalty kick in the 68th minute after Louka Masset was clumsily taken down- this time the chance was buried by Geoffrey Dee while captain Tate Schmitt looked on.
Despite heaping the pressure on as the clock neared it’s expiration, the Cards would have to be satisfied with the single goal margin, despite forcing the opposition into 5 saves and amassing 17 shots on the contest.
Coach Lolla on the result: “We knew they were going to be tough coming in physical, big, but I thought we wore on them through the match… I thought we did a good job defending”
The team returns to the pitch Tuesday night as they host Georgia State.
UofL- 20:31, Ryosuke; 68:08, Dee (Penalty)
St Bonaventure- 14:54, Nwafornso (Penalty)
--By Jared Anderson
--Photo by Jared Anderson
The second official weekend of Louisville Cardinals fall sports is nearly upon us. It is jam-packed full of events from four different teams. Here is a look ahead into the weekend...
Thursday, August 23
Women's Soccer at Dayton, 7:00 p.m.
--It is premature to the weekend, but the only team to have played a regular season game so far continues on to face their third straight Ohio-based team. The 2-0 women's soccer team hits the road for the first time this year and hopes to match last year's start of three straight wins.
Friday, August 24
Volleyball vs Tennessee-Martin, 12:30 p.m.
--The 2017 ACC Champions kick off their season hosting the Cardinal Classic. They will play two matches on Friday with the first falling at lunchtime at Cardinal Arena.
#12 Field Hockey at Indiana, 3:00 p.m.
--They had a good showing in the Alumnae Game and a scrimmage against highly-ranked Michigan at a neutral site. Field hockey kicks off their season on the road against a tough foe in Indiana.
Volleyball vs Southern Illinois, 7:30 p.m.
--Volleyball will have a quick turnaround following a match earlier that day. They will continue their Cardinal Classic adventures in the evening.
# 6 Men's Soccer vs St. Bonaventure, 7:30 p.m.
--The first men's team to play in the 2018-2019 school year will be the men's soccer team. Coach Lolla's squad is currently riding back-to-back Elite Eights and is preseason ranked 6th in the country.
Saturday, August 25
Volleyball vs IUPUI, 5:00 p.m.
--Finishing up the Cardinal Classic, Louisville Volleyball will face the Jaguars from right up I-65. This will be the last time to see them play at home until Sept. 14, when they host Kentucky.
Sunday, August 26
#12 Field Hockey vs Ohio State, 1:00 p.m.
--Playing at Trager Stadium for the first time this year, Louisville Field Hockey will face their third straight Big Ten foe (second in the regular season) when the Buckeyes visit town. Ohio State is 27th in the RPI rankings currently.
Women's Soccer at Michigan, 2:00 p.m.
--Continuing their brief road trip, the women's soccer team will head up to Ann Arbor. Starting the season 4-0 would be the best start since 2012, when the Cards won six straight en route to a 10-4-4 season.
--By Kevin Kernen
--Image by Kevin Kernen
UofL Men’s Soccer held their media day Monday, Coach Lolla spoke with the collected press along with captains Senior Tate Schmitt, Sophomore Liam Bennett, and Junior Cody Cochran.
In their words and attitudes, players and coach alike were confident in the team this season. Despite only being together less than two weeks, everyone is chomping at the bit to get down to business. There were a few overarching motifs on the day, and nobody made no bones about their goals for the end of the season:
On the beginning of the season, coach offered the following:
“As usual there's a high expectation, but I think also strong feelings about this year, encouraged by what we’ve seen so far, and the players we have and the goals ahead of us. We feel this as a staff as well. The 40th year of the program, it's an exciting time”
Lolla also feels that it’s time to push the team a step forward.
“for us, it is important this season that we make some gains to push the program into a new light, to reach new levels and for the future of the program”
Tate was similarly motivated, both by the possibilities ahead and the sting of losing last season two games short of the final.
“From what we’ve seen in the past, what we’ve accomplished, we know we have to build on that, from the past years of finishing in the Elite 8, we know that we were capable of being in the final… we just have to learn from our mistakes last year and what we did well, just continue pushing and continue working”
Transfers are a big talking point ahead of the season, with Lamine Conte and Louka Masset joining the defensive ranks, it’s yet to be seen how they will figure into the lineup.
“We’re still learning a lot about them. What I like most is the type of people they are. When you talk about guys like Kino, Lamine, Louka, the transfers and even the young guys, Pedro [Fonseca], William Portman, those are guys that could factor in this season, but most importantly they’re really good team guys. As far as their impact this season, I think they could be impactful, the big question is how much and we’re still learning so much about them. It’s clear that Kino [Ryosuke] is a talented guy, it's clear Lamine is talented… my guess is that there’s still a lot more out there” said coach.
He continued on Kino Ryosuke working with Tate, compared with Tate and now-pro Mo Thiaw working together last season:
“It’s different. It’s going to be much different. Kino is a much different player than Mo… because Kino is so active, we’re trying to find the best way to play with his qualities, he’s going to be such a great player for us over the next two years”
Although it seems Tate may have to step into more of a midfielder role (further suggested by the fact he’s taken the number 10 jersey and Kino will wear 9), Schmitt is looking forward to the striking pair’s future
“Very excited to play with Kino up top. He had a good last two years in Junior College and this previous summer with the Des Moines Iowa Menace, and he was the PDL player of the year, had a bunch of goals, he’s a very, very talented player. He’s a great guy in the locker room, doesn’t know too much English, but he’s really caring about his teammates a lot, and he’s going to be a good player in that position and he’s going to score a bunch of goals for us this year”
With players of no fewer than 9 nationalities, the locker room is a veritable melting pot of cultures and languages, as Cochran has eperienced:
“I think it’s pretty cool. I grew up here… you come in here, there’s different people, different cultures, different beliefs...just different things around you and you just soak it in, like ‘wow’”
Coach Lolla also commented on the makeup of the team, and touched on what he looks for in a player, regardless of origin:
“Culturally, it’s awesome that they get to experience that. Many times you have to travel to different places around the world to experience different cultures… regardless of where they’re coming from, their character values- who they are- is massive, and i think we have a good group of guys in the locker room, one of the best that I’ve ever had”
“There’s a collective unity to what we’re doing and they know what we’re pursuing”
With the 3 transfers, 5 incoming true freshmen to complement the 5 redshirt freshmen, the squad enumerates 27 in total, there’s going to be rotation and battles everywhere this season, not least of which will be in goal between Jake Gelnovatch and Will Meyer, as Lolla expressed his thoughts on the situation:
“We’re contemplating how to take care of that. With both right now, they’re both deserving of starting for us, and we will decide that… both have different qualities… I feel good with either one of them in any game that we will be successful”
Defense as well will provide a bit of a rotation, as midfielder Cody Cochran commented on:
Cody: “I think right now it’s a toss up between everybody in the back. It’s just competitive. Everybody, from Louka, to Lamine, for the Center Back position, and Chris, it’s a competitive race right now, they’re all fighting for that spot, I just think that we’re solid back there."
Building from the teams comments during the kickoff banquet last Friday, along with a couple of wins in the preseason, there's plenty for soccer fans in the city to be excited about.
--By Kevin Kernen
--Image by Jared Anderson
Despite being ranked 6th in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll and being picked to finish 3rd in the ACC, coach Ken Lolla, entering his 13th season at the helm of the Cards’ soccer program, is very bullish on the team’s chances at the sharp end of the season.
Speaking with media before the annual kickoff banquet on Friday, coach Lolla was forthcoming with how the team is shaping up:
“For us to be a team to win a national championship, we have to be a better unit, but so far I like the pieces that we have…
“Could we be better than last year? I think we could”
“For a program like ours, with the resources we have, I think every year we should be competing for an ACC and National championships, for our group and what we’ve talked about early in the season, those are absolutely on our radar”
UofL is returning after a strong season last year, advancing to the quarterfinals in the ACC tournament before clocking a run all the way to the last-8 against Lolla’s former team, Akron, falling in penalties. With games decided in penalty kicks counted as draws, UofL lost just twice last year.
Coach and players alike expressed during the banquet ceremony that their loss to Akron is still fueling them. The team last year was punctuated with some stellar individuals, and it’s going to be tricky to replace the likes of Mo Thiaw and Tim Kubel, who combined for 14 goals and 9 assists last season, but Lolla has been very savvy with signing transfers- this season is no different.
Coming into the fold are a trio of exciting transfers from the lower ranks of collegiate soccer, Lamine Conte, Louka Masset and Kino Ryosuke. Conte, a Guinean national and Philadelphia Union product, comes by way of the University of Mobile where the defender tallied 7 clean sheets en route to a NAIA second team all-american selection. Louka Masset, a Parisian, comes to Louisville by way of the University of New Hampshire. In Division II play, Masset, another Center Back, accumulated a Northeast-10 all-conference last season in his sophomore year, building on his conference all-rookie team selection in ‘16. Rounding out the transfers is Kino Ryosuke, an attacker who tallied 27 goals in 28 PDL starts in the last two seasons, one with the Des Moines Menace and the other with FC Boulder U23, culminating in winning the MVP award this season with the Menace.
Returning players include Adam Wilson, who tallied 6 assists from the midfield last year and led the team in that category over ACC play, Cherif Dieye, who should figure into a few more matches this season in an attacking role and Tate Schmitt, who led the team with 9 goals.
Also returning this year are both goalkeepers who played last season, Will Meyer and Jake Gelnovatch. Both netminders were supportive of one another, and despite only being back together for a little over a month, Jake assured me the team is coming together: “ We’ve been here since mid-July and we’ve all gotten to know each other so well. It’s a really tight group.”
Coach Lolla hasn’t made a decision on a starting Goalkeeper, in fact both players can expect to see playing time. On the whole, there is little in the way of drop-off between the perceived starting eleven and the reserves, important as collegiate scheduling usually features Tuesday and Friday matches in the same week.
As the night neared its conclusion, Lolla took the stage for some comments on the season, and he made sure to set the stage for the season. As with any other season, it will take a measure of development to achieve what’s expected of them this campaign:
“I measure my success here at the University of Louisville by growth… my growth as well as the growth of the program...With the team we are right now, there’s no chance of us to win a national championship...By December, in Santa Barbara, we will be a good unit. We will be a great unit”
Putting a stake in the ground, then. This promises to be as exciting season as ever for UofL Men’s Soccer, everyone around the program is primed and the players are hungry.
Season starts friday.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photos by Jared Anderson
The No. 6 Louisville Cardinals Men’s Soccer team won their second match of exhibition play Saturday. They defeated the Evansville Purple Aces, 3-0.
Louisville had an 8-0 shot advantage in the first half. It was a defensive half, with the Cardinals keeping the ball away from Jake Gelnovatch. The Sophomore didn’t need to save a shot.
Kino Ryosuke scored Louisville’s first goal in the 51st minute of the match. Evansville fouled Louisville, sending the Junior Forward to the box. He hit a dribbler past Frederik Reimer to score his first exhibition goal.
Haji Abdikadir made Louisville’s next goal from well beyond the box in the 53rd minute. He booted the ball from deep, getting it past Greg Niven.
Louisville’s next goal came in the 71st minute. Cameron Wheeler kicked a ball, which was tipped by the Evansville keeper, and into the back of the net. It officially came at the 71:18 mark of the game.
The Cardinals open 2018’s regular season Friday, August 24th, at 7:30 pm. They take on St. Bonaventure.
Kevin Kernen is the senior men's soccer correspondent for River City Cards. He also is the color commentator for Louisville City FC, and co-host of Soccer City Radio... MORE