Louisville wins first tourney game
Cardinals defeat Dayton 2-0, await Memphis in second round
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- With goals from senior Kaitie McDonald and sophomore Angelika Uremovich and another strong performance from senior goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer, Louisville earned its first NCAA tournament win with a 2-0 triumph against Dayton on Saturday at Cardinal Park.
With the victory, the Cardinals improved to 13-6-3 overall and advanced to a second-round matchup against fourth-seeded Memphis, a 7-0 winner against Tennessee-Martin on Saturday.
The 13 wins for Louisville matches the school record set in back-to-back seasons in 2006 and 2007. Saturday’s game was Louisville’s first NCAA tournament game at home and its first NCAA appearance since 2007.
“First and foremost, I want to say congratulations to Dayton because through our preparation, we knew they were a fantastic team and today they made us earn this one,” Louisville head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes said. “We knew we had to raise our level of play and battle the way that we did tonight. I’m incredibly proud of our team because I thought the difference tonight was that we did battle. At times it wasn’t always pretty soccer, but we had to win this one physically and we did that.”
In a wild, back and forth first half of action, Louisville connected for the only goal during the first 45 minutes when McDonald scored on a header from directly in front of the goal for a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute. The goal, which was the second of the postseason and the second of the career for McDonald, came on a well-placed corner kick from fellow senior co-captain Jennifer Jones, who was credited with her team-leading fifth assist of the season.
“I saw that Jennifer had overhit it a little on the corner and I was trying to do anything I could to put something on it,” McDonald said. “On the initial contact, it hit the goalkeeper, who was in the goal, so I thought it was a goal. After that, it deflected around again and we were able to score it.”
After holding that one-goal lead into the halftime break, the Cardinals put the game away for good in the 76th minute of play as Uremovich took a pass from freshman Casey Whitfield on the left side of the box and scored inside the far post from 20 yards away for the final 2-0 margin. The goal for Uremovich was her fourth of the season, while the assist for Whitfield was the first of her career.
Kiefer finished with six saves overall for Louisville, including several spectacular stops, to clinch her eighth shutout of the season, which is tied for the second most in school history. This season, Kiefer has played more than 2,092 minutes in goal, which ranks second all-time at Louisville. She is only 19 minutes shy of surpassing the school record for goalkeeper minutes in a season of 2110 set by former All-American Joanna Haig in 2007.
“We had a lot of focus tonight and Dayton really came after us hard, which we knew they were going to do because they are a good team,” Kiefer said. “They obviously like to shoot it from anywhere, but I expected to have a busy game. We made the plays tonight.”
Overall, Dayton finished with an 18-16 advantage in shots, including a 7-6 edge in shots on-goal. The Cardinals had a 4-3 edge in corner kicks and Louisville was whistled for 15 fouls to the 13 fouls for the Flyers. In goal for UD, Jordin Melchert finished with three saves.
“It feels good to get that first NCAA win for the program and it’s something we’ve all dreamed of,” McDonald said. “It’s such an honor to do it with this team. We’re behind each 100-percent and I think that’s the reason why we’ve had so much success this year.”