November 26, 2016
Kathryn L. Knapp
PLAYING TO WIN
Louisville hosts Notre Dame in NCAA Tournament Action
Chicagoland Soccer News Contributing Editor
Sunday evening the No. 4 seeded Louisville Cardinals host No. 13 seeded Notre Dame. In their second meeting of the 2016 campaign, the Irish look to avenge a 1-0 loss earlier in the season. But both teams will be battling to the final seconds as the bigger prize on the line is a trip to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament.
Louisville (13-5-2) snuck by UCLA in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, with a 2-1 win. The Cardinals wasted no time, tallying a goal in the 2nd minute of the tournament. UCLA tied it up in the 54th minute, but in the 94th minute, Tate Scmitt found the net, helping Louisville advance. Louisville dropped a 2-1 decision to Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament semifinals on November 9th, before earning the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Cardinals have outscored oppnents 35-13 during the 2-16 campaign, led by Mohamed Thiaw with 11 goals and one assist (24 points). Tim Kubel has been the lead assist man for the Cardinals with 10 assists and three goals on the season (16 points). Ten players have found the net for Louisville this season, including eight who have multiple goals.
Defensively, Louisville ranks ninth in the nation in Goals Against Average. Stefan Cleveland has manned the goal every second of the season for the Cardinals, allowing 13 goals for a 0.63 GAA, while making 48 saves and posting 10 shutouts.
Notre Dame (12-6-2) started the season ranked No. 1. The Fighting Irish took a 6-0-0 record into Lynn Stadium in Louisville, where the Cardinals bested them 1-0. Notre Dame let the loss inspire them as the club went on a five-game unbeaten streak. Four losses in a row gave Notre Dame a dose of reality. The club fought back to earn a No. 13 seed in the season. Wake Forest handed the Irish their last loss of the season November 6, a 1-0 loss in the ACC Championship Quarterfinal. Notre Dame topped Loyola (Chicago) 1-0 in the second round of the tournament, courtesy of a Jon Gallagher goal in the 78th minute.
Offensively, the Fighting Irish has outscored opponents 35-15 during 2016. Gallagher leads the attack, posting 13 goals and seven assists (33 points). Brandon Aubrey ranks second on the team in scoring with nine goals and one assist (19 points). Nine Notre Dame players have combined for 35 goals on the season.
Defensively, Chris Hubbard has been strong in goal, allowing 14 goals for a 0.68 GAA, while making 55 saves and recording nine shutouts. Hubbard and Ryan Krutz have combined for a team 0.71 GAA, 17th in the nation.
Notre Dame and Louisville met once this season, with the Cardinals posting a 1-0 win. The two teams also both lost in the ACC Tournament to Wake Forest. Sunday’s match will be a true battle, with the winner advancing to face the winner of No. 5 seed Stanford and No. 12 seed Virginia in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.