Louisville Soccer advances to Sweet 16

The University of Louisville soccer team continues to dream big, despite driving rain on Sunday and lots of ups and downs during the season.

Freshman Tim Kubel scored in the 87th minute and Ken Lolla’s team is advancing to the Sweet 16 of the 2014 NCAA Soccer Tournament with a 2-1 win over St. Louis University Sunday.

UofL is one of five Atlantic Coast Conference teams to make the round, along with Notre Dame, North Carolina, Virginia and Syracuse. Still another ACC team could be there if Clemson wins against Coastal Carolina in a game that was postponed until Monday because of inclement weather.

Louisville will square off against Maryland-Baltimore, which defeated Maryland 1-0 at College Park, Md. The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. at at Lynn Stadium next Sunday.


Russ there when Louisville needs him against St. Louis

Saint Louis has finally made the game ugly enough to go ahead 29-27, with the University of Louisville missing its first 10 shots in the second half.

During those five and a half minutes, Stephan Van Treese blowing a point blank tip in, Chris Jones clunking on three attempts, including a layup, Montrezl Harrell missing three beneath the basket, Luke Hancock ricoheting three three-point attempts while committing two turnovers, and Russ Smith, playing with a thumb wrapped in tape, air balling a three-point attempt.

The outlook not good at this point for the defending national champions. Going downhill fast.

Rick Pitino has seen enough. Time out.

Russ Smith, his eyes glazed, his body aching, his thumb no longer wrapped in tape, somehow asserting himself, connecting on a floating jumper in front of the basket to tie the score. Stepping to the free throw line 40 seconds later, sinking two free throws to put UofL back in front. An absolutely critical sequence, Russ, the catalyst, ensuring it happens.

Not to be overlooked during the turn-around is a rare reverse layup for Stephan Van Treese.

A nice recovery by Russ after an error-plagued first half during which he is committing a career high six turnovers in one half and making one of four field goal attempts. He would, however, come through with five assists in the second half, three of them to Luke Hancock, and have a total of seven assists to go with his seven turnovers and 11 points .

Hancock, feeling the Saint Louis pressure, awkward at times, kicking or turning the ball over three times. Making two of his four three-pointers, both of them assists from Russ Smith, at crunch time.  He would have three assists and three steals with 21 points on his stats line as well.

Montrezl Harrell, hoping to meet one of those offensive-minded opponents sometime during the tournament, finally getting his only basket stuffer with 55 seconds left in the game. Harrell should get his wish in the Sweet 16 against either Wichita State or Kentucky.

Six days for Russ Smith to recuperate, hopefully returning to a full semblance of himself.

Saint Louis stands in Louisville’s way

Saint Louis used to be a regular on the University of Louisville basketball schedule, but the series never attained the stature of a rivalry status. Just another game most years.

What we remember most is the Saint Louis pep band had a habit of constantly playing the University of Kentucky fight song during games against UofL on the Billikens’ home court.

Not funny, not hospitable and not conducive to positive relations with the school.

UofL owns an all-time edge of 45-20 over the Billikens. They last played in 2005 when both schools were members of Conference USA, Louisville winning 84-66.

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Campus Insiders is a relatively new phenomenon to this observer. However, the web site is well organized, nicely designed, and sponsored by Reese’s. Most important, the analysts appear to be knowledgeable about NCAA basketball. Here’s their take on the Louisville-St. Louis matchup:

@CampusInsiders #whosgotnext