LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The No. 17 Louisville men’s soccer team will open the 2013 NCAA Championship with a first round matchup against the University of Denver on Tonight at 7 p.m., ET at Cardinal Park. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students/youth and can be purchased through the U of L Ticket Office at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Tickets are also available by calling (502) 852-5151 or online here. Live video of the Cardinals and Pioneers will be available free of charge at GoCards.com and NCAA.com, while live scoring will be provided through the Gametracker feature on the Louisville men’s soccer schedule page at GoCards.com.
The Cardinals enter the 2013 NCAA Championship at 11-4-3 overall after winning the American Athletic Conference regular season championship. In its last outing, Louisville was eliminated in the quarterfinal round of the American Conference Championship on Nov. 9 with a 1-0 loss to Rutgers. Denver enters the NCAA Championship at 13-3-3 overall after sweeping the Summit League regular season and tournament titles to earn an automatic bid. The winner of the Louisville-Denver game will advance to a second round matchup against No. 11 seed Michigan State on Sunday at 1 p.m., ET in East Lansing, Mich.
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Cardinals’ NCAA Championship History
Making its seventh straight appearance in the NCAA Championship, Louisville is 9-6 all-time in the tournament with one College Cup appearance (2010). Thursday’s match will be the Cardinals’ first in a first round match since 2009. Louisville is just 1-2 overall in first round matches. The Cardinals are 7-2 all-time at home in NCAA matches, including three straight wins.
11/18 – 2nd Rnd vs. Winthrop (Louisville, Ky.) – W, 5-0
11/25 – 3rd Rnd vs. Northwestern (Louisville, Ky.) – W, 2-1
12/01 – 4th Rnd at Maryland (College Park, Md.) – L, 3-1
11/20 – 2nd Rnd vs. Bradley (Louisville, Ky.) – W, 3-2 (2OT)
11/27 – 3rd Rnd at Maryland (College Park, Md.) – W, 4-2
12/03 – 4th Rnd vs. UCLA (Louisville, Ky.) – L, 1-0 (2OT)
11/21 – 2nd Rnd vs. College of Charleston (Louisville, Ky.) – W, 3-1
11/28 – 3rd Rnd vs. Ohio State (Louisville, Ky.) – W, 2-1
12/04 – 4th Rnd vs. UCLA (Louisville, Ky.) – W, 5-4
12/10 – College Cup SF vs. UNC (Santa Barbara, Calif.) – W, 2-1
12/12 – College Cup Final vs. Akron (Santa Barbara, Calif.) – L, 1-0
11/19 – 1st Rnd at Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.) – L, 2-0
11/21 – 1st Rnd vs. Jacksonville (Louisville, Ky.) – L, 4-3 (OT)
11/23 – 1st Rnd vs. Duke (Louisville, Ky.) – W, 1-0
11/28 – 2nd Rnd at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio) – L, 1-0
Louisville Against the Field of 48
The Cardinals played five regular season matches against teams that qualified for the 2013 NCAA Championship earning a 2-1-2 record against those clubs. Louisville opened the season with a 2-1 win at Virginia, which earned the No. 8 overall seed in the tournament. The Cardinals also had a 3-0 win at Indiana, which won the Big Ten Tournament to earn an automatic berth. Louisville earned a 2-2 tie against UConn and a scoreless draw against USF, while dropping a 1-0 decision to UC Irvine, which earned the No. 12 overall seed.
Thursday’s match will be the first ever between Louisville and Denver on the soccer pitch. The Cardinals have one player, Kegan Harkenrider, who is in his third season in Louisville after transferring from Denver. Louisville has two players – Zack Foxhoven (Littleton, Colo.) and Santiago Vélez (Longmont, Colo.) – from the Denver area. The Pioneers have one player – starting goalkeeper Oliver Brown – from Louisville.
Ricardo Velazco leads the Cardinals with seven goals, nine assists and 23 points in his first season at Louisville. Andrew Brody is second on the team with eight assists this season to go with three goals, while Jimmy Ockford has four goals, including three game-winners. Zack Foxhoven, Marlon Hairston and Daniel Keller have three goals each for Louisville. Goalkeeper Joachim Ball, with 17 starts, has seven shutouts along with a 0.73 goals against average.
Entering the NCAA Championship, Louisville is ranked 26th in goals against average at 0.75, 33rd in shutout percentage at 0.44, 35th in points per game at 4.89, 36th in assists per game at 1.56 and 40th in scoring offense at 1.67 goals per match. Individually, Ricardo Velazco is ranked 11th nationally in assists per game at 0.50, 12th in total assists with nine, 33rd in points per game at 1.28 and 38th in points with 23. Joachim Ball is ranked 22nd in goals against average at 0.728, while Andrew Brody is 23rd in assists per game at 0.44 and total assists with eight.
Louisville enters the NCAA Championship ranked 17th in this week’s NSCAA coaches poll and 14th in the most recent Soccer America Top 25. The Cardinals have remained among the nationally ranked teams in the NSCAA poll throughout the season rising as high as No. 6 on Oct. 22 and slipping as low as No. 22 on Sept. 17. Denver is unranked in each of the two major national polls entering this week’s match.
Lolla Looking for 100th Win at Louisville
The winningest coach in the history of the Louisville men’s soccer program, head coach Ken Lolla will earn his 100th victory at the helm of the Cardinals with their next win. Having led Louisville to three conference championships in the last five seasons and seven straight seasons with at least 11 wins, Lolla has also guided the Cardinals to seven consecutive NCAA Championship appearances. Louisville has earned three straight NCAA Elite Eight appearances, including a national runner-up finish in 2010 when the Cardinals won a school record 20 games before falling to Akron in the title game of the College Cup in Santa Barbara, Calif.
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