The University of Louisville men’s soccer team advanced into the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night with a 2-1 victory over Northwestern before about 2,000 fans at Cardinal Park.
The Cardinals (14-5-1) scored the game-winning goal in the 86th minute of the match when Dylan Mares fired a shot that missed the goal but bounded off a Northwestern defender and into the back of the net.
The own goal gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead and the victory once the final shot by Northwestern was wide of the goal.
”First of all, I'd like to say I'm extremely proud of our guys,” U of L coach Ken Lolla said. “We said afterwards that it wasn't necessarily our cleanest game and it wasn't our sharpest game in many respects, but I was proud of how they didn't panic. They were grinding it out a little bit towards the end and you could feel the momentum for us shifting in the second half.
”I thought we put enough good plays together and having somebody special like Dylan to create the goal at the end made the difference in the game. Having said that, I thought our defense was really solid other than the one restart we gave up early where I thought we lost focus after the score. After that, I thought we were really solid on the night. Mike (Mauro) as well as Daniel (Keller), Andrew (Farrell), Jerry (Ramirez) and Brock (Granger) were very good tonight. I'm proud of these guys and the journey continues."
U of L finished with five shots on goal, while Northwestern had four.
The Cardinals will now play at No. 2 seed Maryland on Saturday at 5 p.m. U of L lost 3-0 on Aug. 26 in College Park, Md.