An unprecedented twenty-win undefeated season still wasn't enough to ease the sting of the 0-1 loss to Akron this afternoon in the College Cup Final. Clearly the better side in the second half, the Zips deserved to win the trophy.
Louisville looked exhausted in the last twenty minutes of the match. Dead legs led to several missed connections and normally consistent players made poor decisions. The Cards had their chances to tie the game in the final seconds, including a low shot from the top of the 18 yard box that was miraculously saved by the Zips keeper's foot. And moments later a point-blank opportunity for Aaron Horton off a rebound that the freshman forward kicked right at the last defender's legs.
But it wasn't meant to be. This is how the journey ends.
Frustration will slowly turn to appreciation of a special season. For non-revenue sports, this was the biggest moment in Louisville history. The dream of winning a national championship in men's soccer went from unlikely to "oh my god these guys might actually win this thing" in the span of just three months.
All the praise in the world should go to coach Ken Lolla and his players for bringing such pride to the city of Louisville. Who knew we'd be watching college soccer on ESPN2 in December?
One final thought. As we mentioned on the preview today, Akron went undefeated in 2009 until losing in the College Cup Final to Virginia. A year later, the Zips bring home their school's first team national title ever. Louisville knows what it takes to get here again. Odds are, we'll be watching--and celebrating--again come next December.
Thanks for the memories