Dec. 4, 2010

Courtesy of Louisville Athletics

Louisville, Ky. -
With a goal in the final minute of regulation, the top ranked Louisville men's soccer team defeated UCLA 5-4 on a snowy, cold Saturday evening in Cardinal Park. The Cardinals improve to 19-0-3 on the season and advance to the program's first ever NCAA College Cup.

The game started out slow as both teams were trying to get used to playing on the snow covered field. The Cardinals had the first shot of the match in the fourth minute when All-American Colin Rolfe dribbled into the right side of the box and blasted a shot that UCLA keeper Brian Rowe saved. The deflection from the save ricocheted off the crossbar out of bounds.

The Bruins got on the board first in the eighth minute as Eder Arreola received a pass into the left side of the box and was able to slip the ball past keeper Andre Boudreaux to put UCLA up 1-0. The assist on the goal went to Reed Williams and Kelyn Rowe.

Louisville had another close call at a goal as J.T. Murray collected the ball from about 25 yards in the 11th minute, sending a rocket towards the keeper who made a diving save to preserve the lead. Off a free kick from along the left side of the baseline, the Cardinals again almost scored as a header from Charlie Campbell went just above the crossbar.

UCLA scored again in the 18th minute as Kelyn Rowe struck a well placed ball off a free kick from 20 yards out. The ball just missed the outstretched arms of Boudreaux to extend the Bruins' lead to 2-0. The Bruins keeper came up with another save as a shot from Dylan Mares was knocked away by Rowe.

The Cardinals finally broke through in the 29th minute on one of the many chances they had as Rolfe took a free kick from about 22 yards. Rolfe's shot bounced into the air off one of the UCLA defenders and floated over the keeper into the goal making the score 2-1. UCLA came right back in the 33rd minute to make the score 3-1 when Chandler Hoffman broke through the Cardinal defense scoring the goal.

Louisville was awarded a penalty kick in the 40th minute when Aaron Horton was taken down in the box. Campbell took the shot for the Cardinals and was able to convert, cutting the UCLA lead to 3-2. The first half ended with the score remaining at 3-2 for UCLA.

Louisville finished the first half with an 11-9 shot advantage, while the corner kicks were tied at 1-1. Boudreaux finished the half with three saves, while Rowe had four.

The Cardinals came out quick in the second half tying up the score in the 48th minute. Paolo DelPiccolo took a free kick from 40 yards out that Rolfe was able to head in for his second goal of the game to even the score at 3-3.

Louisville scored again in the 55th minute when Campbell crossed the ball to Rolfe that nearly hit the post, but Rolfe was able to cut it back across to Nick DeLeon for the score to put the Cardinals up 4-3.

The Bruins tied back up the game in the 80th minute off a throw-in from Joe Sofia to a waiting Victor Chavez, who headed in the ball past Boudreaux to even the score at 4-4. The Cardinals came back in the final minute of play as Aaron Horton received a pass in the middle of the field and was able to work his way around a slew of UCLA defenders getting off the game-winning shot past a charging Rowe.

The Cardinals were able to weather a final flurry of UCLA chances as the seconds counted down to zero, sending Louisville to their first College Cup. The five goals scored in the game are tied for the most scored by the Cardinals in a game this season, as they scored five goals in the win over Appalachian State.

Louisville finished with a 20-18 shot advantage, along with a 4-2 corner kick advantage. Boudreaux finished with five saves, while Rowe finished with seven. The Cardinals set a new BIG EAST unbeaten record with their 22nd straight game without a loss, surpassing St. John's previous record of 21 set back in 1993.

The Cardinals will be back in action on Friday, Dec. 10 to take on North Carolina in the NCAA semifinal in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Fans are invited to send off the top ranked Cardinals to the College Cup by attending the free event at the KFC Yum! Center on Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 5:00 p.m. in the lobby. The first 500 kids at the event will get a free Louisville soccer t-shirt. The coaches and team will be available for autographs.