2014 Season Review Advancing to the round of 16 of the NCAA Championship for the fourth time in the last five seasons, the University of Louisville men's soccer team ended its 2014 season with an 11-8-3 record overall. The Cardinals, seeded 13th nationally entering the tournament, was eliminated in the third round with a 1-0 loss to UMBC at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium. Overall, Louisville advanced to the NCAA Championship for the eighth straight season while also hosting postseason matches for the fifth straight year.
INAUGURAL ACC CAMPAIGN SUCCESSFUL FOR LOUISVILLE
Competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time, Louisville represented itself well highlighted by advancing to the title match of the ACC Championship. After finishing with a 4-3-1 record in the Atlantic Division to earn the No. 6 seed in the post-season tournament, the Cardinals earned a 1-0 victory over North Carolina in a quarterfinal match in Chapel Hill. Following a 2-1 win over No. 2 seed and top-ranked Syracuse in the semifinals, Louisville was moments away from winning the ACC title when Clemson scored with just two seconds left in regulation to send the match into overtime, where they eventually won 2-1.
KUBEL NAMED ACC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR; STRONG, VELAZCO ADD ALL-ACC HONORS
Louisville defender Tim Kubel was named 2014 ACC Freshman of the Year while junior midfielder Ben Strong and junior forward Ricardo Velazco earned All-ACC honors during the Cardinals' inaugural season in the conference. The Louisville trio was among the numerous award winners announced by the ACC on Nov. 13 on the eve of the conference semifinals. Along with being named as the ACC Freshman of the Year, Kubel was also named to the All-ACC Second Team and was a member of the ACC All-Freshman Team. Strong was selected to the All-ACC First Team, while Velazco was named All-ACC Third Team in a vote of the league's 12 head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own players.
Kubel started all 22 games for the Cardinals, tallying a team-leading seven goals and five assists for 19 points in his rookie campaign. Louisville's right back throughout the season scored three game-winning goals. It is the third straight season and the sixth time in the last seven seasons a Louisville player has earned a major conference award.
In his first season playing for the Cardinals after transferring from Virginia Tech, Strong scored 14 points, third most on the team in 2014. Overall, Strong had five goals and added four assists, highlighted by his two-goal performance against Duke on Sept. 13. Strong started 21 of Louisville's 22 matches this season with all of those coming in the attacking midfield.
Velazco earned all-conference honors for a second straight season after scoring four goals with three assists while starting 16 of 17 regular season matches in 2014. Highlighted by a pair of goals in the Cardinals' win over Pittsburgh on Sept. 26, Velazco has 13 career goals in his two seasons in Louisville.
ACC LEADS THE WAY ON THE PITCH
Virginia won its seventh NCAA title while ACC teams have won 17 national championships overall, including seven of the last 10. The ACC led all conferences with seven teams (Clemson, Louisville, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Virginia, Wake Forest) in the 2014 NCAA Championship field, the second highest total in conference history. Louisville was among five ACC schools selected as seeded teams (No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 7 Clemson, No. 9 Syracuse, No.16 Virginia), the most of any league this season.
LOUISVILLE NOTES AND TRENDS...
• Prior to 2014, three other Louisville teams earned top 16 national seeds -- No. 1 in 2010, No. 12 in 2011 and No. 10 in 2012.
• The Cardinals played 12 teams in this year's NCAA Championship field in the regular season and was 6-6-2 in those 14 matches.
• Louisville entered the NCAA Championship having played six straight matches and nine of its last 10 matches against NCAA qualifiers.
• Freshman Tim Kubel led Louisville with seven goals in 2014, including three game-winners.
• Senior defender Daniel Keller started all 22 matches on the Cardinals' backline in 2014. He had 62 career starts and 74 match appearances for Louisville.
CARDINALS CLOSE SEASON IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
Following the season, Louisville was ranked 18th in the final NSCAA Top 25 released on Dec. 16. After rising as highly as No. 2 in the nation early in the season, Louisville fell out of the national rankings on Oct. 14 following a four-match losing skid. The time out of the top 25 was short-lived as the Cardinals returned to the Soccer America poll on Oct. 21 at No. 11. The Cardinals opened the season with a 1-0 win over then-No. 2 Maryland and then made a big move in the rankings replacing the Terrapins as the No. 2 ranked team in the NSCAA Top 25 on Sept. 2. The No. 2 national ranking was the highest for Louisville since opening the 2011 season ranked No. 1. The Cardinals were also ranked No. 1 in the nation in 2010 before closing the season as NCAA runner-up after reaching the College Cup title game.
LOUISVILLE LEADS NATION IN TOTAL ATTENDANCE IN FIRST SEASON AT LYNN STADIUM
After entering the season with great excitement for the move to the ACC and the opening of the nation's most spectacular collegiate soccer facility, Louisville fans responded by packing Lynn Stadium for the Cardinals in 2014. Louisville led the nation in total attendance as 46,433 fans attended the Cardinals' 13 home matches this season. With an average of 3,572, Louisville ranked second nationally in per match attendance while the season was highlighted by the 7,047 fans for the opening-night victory over Maryland.
Louisville freshman defender Tim Kubel was named First Team All-South Region by the NSCAA while junior midfielder Ben Strong was a Third Team selection. Kubel led the Cardinals with seven goals and added five assists while starting all 22 matches in his first collegiate season. Selected as the 2014 ACC Freshman of the Year as well as an All-ACC Second Team honoree, Kubel scored three game-winning goals this season and was 3-for-3 on penalty kicks. In his first season playing for the Cardinals after transferring from Virginia Tech, Strong scored five goals and added four assists in 21 starts. Highlighted by his two-goal performance against Duke on Sept. 13, Strong was an All-ACC First Team selection in 2014.