Behind a pair of second half goals, No. 5 Stanford continued its pursuit of back-to-back NCAA championships with a 2-0 victory over the No. 4 Louisville men’s soccer team in Saturday night’s NCAA quarterfinal match at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium.
With the victory, the Cardinal (14-3-4) advanced to the College Cup and a national semifinal contest against No. 9 North Carolina on Friday in Houston, Texas. The host Cardinals closed their season with 14-6-2 record after advancing to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championship for the fourth time in seven seasons.
“I congratulate Stanford. They’re a good team and a tough team to play against. Throughout most of the game, we felt we were in control and really not too threatened. Obviously, what changed it was the corner kick that was scored. That put us in a place where we were chasing the game and having to commit numbers forward,” said Louisville head coach Ken Lolla. “I’m proud of our guys and proud of the effort today. I think we executed the game plan in everything we wanted to do except score the goal.”
After the teams played to a scoreless first half, the Cardinal broke through for the pivotal goal in the match when Foster Langsdorf scored on a header off a corner kick from Derek Waldeck in the 64th minute. Waldeck’s serve from the right side curled into the six-yard box, where Langsdorf flicked a header near the far left post glancing off a Louisville defender and into the goal. The goal was the 15th of the season for Langsdorf, while Waldeck was credited with his third assist.
Nearly 15 minutes later, Stanford added the final goal of the match after Sam Werner served a free kick from 28 yards into the upper corner for the 2-0 lead in the 79th minute. The goal, which curled inside the far right post while dropping just beneath the crossbar, was the second goal of the season for Werner.
The Cardinals did not get a favorable result despite finishing the match with a 12-6 advantage in shots. Stanford had a 5-4 edge in shots on-goal, while corner kick chances were even at 3-3. The result marked the fifth straight shutout in a postseason match for Stanford, which has not allowed a goal in more than 517 minutes dating back to last season’s NCAA quarterfinal win over Wake Forest.
“It hurts and it should hurt. We invested a lot into the season and I felt like there was more out there and that part of it hurts,” said Lolla. “It’s part of competition – the vulnerability of it. You put yourself out there with a chance at great success, but with it, there is a chance of failure. It’s worth the risk because you have moments like the last two games at home, which are awesome moments and good experiences. Those are things these guys will forever remember because, collectively, they’ve invested a lot with and for each other. When you’ve had those moments like we’ve had this season, there is bonding that goes on. Today is a day that certainly didn’t go our way, but the memories and relationships and bonding that went on with these guys will live forever.”
The 14 wins for Louisville in 2016 rank as the third most in a season in school history equaling the totals of the 2011 and 2012 teams, which also advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championship. The Cardinals finished with a 10-3-1 record at home this season and have a 23-9-6 record all-time at Lynn Stadium.
Junior Mohamed Thiaw led Louisville with 12 goals, tied for the fourth highest total in a season in school history. Junior Tim Kubel matched a single season school record with his team-leading 11 assists, while the 10 shutouts for graduate goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland were the most in a season since Andre Boudreaux had 11 in 2011.
Fans can follow Louisville men’s soccer on Twitter (@UofLmenssoccer) at http://twitter.com/uoflmenssoccer and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UofLmenssoccer.
Assistant Sports Information Director