--By Jared Anderson
--Photo by Jared Anderson
Freshman Maisie Whitsett has been quick to make an impact for the Louisville women's soccer team. The forward from San Diego, Cali., has become a big name for the Cards early in the 2018 season. She earned her first collegiate award, being named the ACC Offensive Player of the Week.
Whitsett scored twice and had one assist in the season opening victory against Wright State before scoring the game winner in overtime against Xavier on Sunday evening.
With three goals and one assist, Whitsett is the leader in points and goals for Louisville.
North Carolina's Julia Ashley and Virginia Tech's goalkeeper Mandy LcGlynn shared ACC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photos also by Mike Gilpatrick
The Louisville Cardinals Women’s Soccer team played their second game of 2018, and defeated Xavier 2-1 on a late goal.
The score was tied at 1 each at the end of the first half. Louisville had the 8-2 shot advantage. The Cards also led with 4-2 shots on goal.
Xavier scored first. Sydney Schembri scored an unassisted goal in the 31st minute of the match.
Then, less than three minutes later, Delaney Snyder scored a goal off a throw in from Nadege L’Esperance. The goal came at the 34:12 mark in the first. It was Snyder’s second goal of 2018. She scored her first in the opener against Wright State.
Louisville ended regulation with a 13-5 shot advantage. Seven Louisville shots were on goal. Xavier saved five.
Maisie Whitsett hit the game-winner with eight seconds left in overtime one. She received a perfect pass, heading it past the outstretched arms of the goaltender. It was assisted by Allison Whitfield.
The Cardinals move to 2-0. They take on Dayton on the road on Thursday at 7. They return to Lynn Stadium on Friday, August 31st against Kentucky. The battle for the bluegrass will take place at 5:30. It’s the first game of a Soccer double-header. The men play at 7:30 that day.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photos by Seth Spalding, River City Cards
The University of Louisville Women’s Soccer Team kicked off the 2018-19 athletic year with a record-setting win in the first official game.
Namely, a three-goal attack within two minutes, and five-goal attack in the in the second half propelled the Cards over Wright State, 8-1.
Erin Graefen slipped a free kick between groups of Louisville defenders and into the back of the net at 10:42. The kick was into the top right corner of the net, past Gabrielle Kouzelos.
Emina Ekic found the top of the net just a few minutes later, at the 19:53 mark in the first half. The goal was off a corner. Nadege L’Esperance kicked the ball to Ekic, who slipped the ball over Wright State’s keeper’s hand.
Just a couple minutes later, Kennadi Carbin made a perfect pass to Masie Whitsett, who booted the ball perfectly into the left corner past Maddie Jewell. The goal came at the 27:34 mark of the first half.
Louisville went up 3-1 at the 30:00 mark. Delaney Snyder found the back of the net off an assist by Whitsett.
At the half, Louisville led 3-1. The Cards had a 12-1 shot advantage. They did not make a save. The ball was in the attacking side for most of the half. Seven of Louisville’s shots were shots on goal.
Carbin scored her first goal of 2018 at the 6:23 mark of the second half. Allison Whitfield passed a ball, and Carbin was able to loop it past Jewell in the back of the net.
37 seconds later, L’Esperance scored. She was assisted by Brooklynn Rivers.
52 seconds after that, Ekic scored her second goal of the night. It made the game 6-1.
Whitsett waited a little while before scoring her second of the evening. She scored at the 58:12 mark of the game. The play was assisted by Allison Whitfield.
Taylor Kerwin joined the party with 20:55 left in the game. She found the ball from Snyder.
Louisville Women’s Soccer opens 2018 1-0. They take on Xavier Sunday at 7:30. The game will be at Lynn Stadium. The Louisville men’s soccer team will play their second exhibition of the season Saturday at 5:00 pm. The game is at Lynn.
--By Jared Anderson
--File photo by River City Cards Staff
Following a rough conclusion to last season the Louisville women’s soccer team hopes to climb the ladder this season. In 2017, the Cardinals finished 9-7-2 and posted a 3-5-2 mark in conference play. Looking ahead to the 2018 season they have a chance at improving those numbers.
Emina Ekic (MF): As a freshman led the team with seven goals and tied for most assists with three. Unfortunately, she suffered an injury late in the season that took much off the offseason to recover from. The Louisville native is on the preseason watch list for the MAC Hermann Trophy, an award given to the top men and women’s soccer players. Ekic will be THE player opponents will game plan around.
Gabby Kouzelos (GK): The redshirt sophomore heads into her second season as the starting goalkeeper, where she captained the Cards last year. Kouzelos saw action in every game and saw 97% of the action last season among the goalkeepers. Having recorded 50 saves in 2017 she stopped nearly three-quarters of shots on goal. The Ohio native averaged one goal per game last season, which gave the offense a fighting chance every game.
Gabrielle “Gabi” Vincent (MF/D): Entering her senior year, Vincent is expected to maintain one of the centerback positions, where she and Inger Katrine-Bjerke manned the defense last year. One of the fastest and most agile players on the team, Vincent is tough for opposing attackers to maneuver around. Vincent has been a vocal leader and has proven that she is not afraid to get physical against stronger opponents.
Other players to keep an eye out for include Taylor Kerwin, Mollie Rouse, Brooklynn Rivers, and Allison Whitfield.
Keys to Success
Avoid Intimidation: The ACC is a powerhouse in soccer just like it is with most sports. Almost every opponent will be ranked or have an RPI in the Top 25. Instead of being scared look at it as an opportunity to be the underdog to take down the beast.
Play ‘Til the Final Horn: Often soccer players will slow down and not push as hard as the clock winds down into the final minutes. Whether trailing or deadlocked at an even score keep pressing forward. A late goal to even the score can break the spirits of the opponent heading into overtime. Getting that late goal could easily turn a loss into a draw or a draw into a win.
Avoid Injury: This one isn’t really in the hands of the players other than proper conditioning and stretching. Injuries affected the outcome of several matches last year. Big time players such as Emina Ekic, Taylor Kerwin, Allison Whitfield, Niamh Nelson, Sarah Feola, and Shelby Cohen all spent some part of the season in recovery mode. A minor injury to a player or two won’t ruin a season, but a small group of them can quickly send a season south.
Five of the 17 opponents are ranked in the preseason Top 25 with a couple more in the receiving votes category. Luckily, for Louisville those are all conference opponents and will come in the back half of the season. They can use the opportunity early in the season against weaker teams to build confidence going into conference play.
I expect to see Louisville finish in the ballpark of 9-6-2, like last year’s result. ACC play will improve some as the Cards go 4-4-2. The bunny games should be sure-wins and some of the road games against ranked opponents will be tough. As long as this roster remains healthy this squad has the talent to square up against any team in the country.
The Louisville women’s soccer team shares one of the best collegiate soccer stadiums in the country with the men’s soccer team. Just being able to experience the venue in person should draw a crowd but watching the crazy talent on the team seals the deal. Soccer games are ticketed events. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the gate. Please note the clear bag policy the remains in effect from last year.
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