Louisville soccer fans accustomed to last minute NCAA tournament thrillers at Cardinal Park may have come away disappointed tonight because this one was over in the first minute.
Senior defender Greg Cochrane started the scoring just 44 seconds into the match, sophomore midfielder Dylan Mares added another goal before the half and two more in the second for a hat-trick, and junior UCLA transfer Zach Foxhoven finished Winthrop off with Louisville's fifth and final goal of the game in the 80th minute.
Winthrop had come from behind to win in their last four contests, including an 0-2 halftime deficit to Coastal Carolina in the Big South Tournament Championship Game that Winthrop won 3-2 in regulation. Their halftime speeches must be pretty killer, but Louisville was never losing tonight.
Aside from an early first half free kick that deflected off Louisville keeper Mike Mauro and the crossbar, Winthrop failed to create scoring opportunities and played uninspired soccer throughout much of the match. One might assume the long conference tournament run followed by air travel from South Carolina to Dallas to Louisville with one non-travel day in between took its toll.
There's not much else to take away from this one than the obvious. The best team won handily and will take some home field momentum heading into the third round of the tournament. Speaking of which, Northwestern upset #7 seed Marquette in the opposite side of Louisville's bracket tonight, which means the 10th seeded Cardinals will get to host the Wildcats next weekend at Cardinal Park--where U of L is now 10-2-1--instead of traveling to Wisconsin. Wisconsin sounds cold.
On a programming note, the announcers tonight mentioned that Louisville will play Northwestern on Saturday, but the actual bracket indicates the match will be played on Sunday.
This is shaping up to be a pretty solid November, you guys.
UPDATE: U of L's Twitter account announced the Northwestern game will kick off at 7pm ET on Sunday, Nov 25th.