-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)
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