In a rematch of a Sept. 22 regular season contest that ended in a 0-0 tie, the Ohio State men’s soccer team lost to Louisville 2-1 in a third-round NCAA Tournament match Sunday night.
Backed by a Cardinal Park crowd of 4,251, Louisville advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals and ended the Buckeyes’ season.
Midfielder Charlie Campbell gave No. 1-seeded Louisville (18-0-3) a 1-0 lead midway through the first half. The Buckeyes (11-6-3) responded early in the second half with a tally from sophomore midfielder Austin McAnena to tie the game at 1-1. Cardinals junior defender Austin Berry made the decisive goal for Louisville in the 63rd minute.
Both teams spent much of the first 20 minutes feeling each other out. The Cardinals finally sprang to life, taking the game to OSU with constant attacking pressure. Buckeye goalkeeper Matt Lampson stood tall, saving four of the Cardinals’ eight first-half shots.
Lampson couldn’t handle Campbell’s perfectly placed header in the 24th minute, however. Campbell leapt and met the ball, which fell to him off a redirection from a long throw-in, sending it into the upper right hand corner of the net as Lampson scurried down his line in the opposite direction.
“We run a set play on long throws,” Campbell said. “I cover the backside of the box and sweep up balls that get through. It worked out.”
Despite continued pressure from the Cardinals, McAnena silenced the crowd when he slotted the ball past Louisville ‘keeper Andre Boudreaux for a 52nd-minute goal that brought the Buckeyes even at 1-1.
Cardinals players seemed to think McAnena’s goal was undeserved.
“It was a soft goal,” Berry said. “But we knew to keep our composure and we knew we’d get a goal.”
Berry eventually provided the goal himself when he scored Louisville’s second close-range header of the game in the 63rd minute. Berry banged heads with teammate Nick DeLeon as they both went up for the ball inside the Buckeyes’ penalty area. Both players fell to the ground in pain and remained there after the play ended.
“It was a good pain,” Berry said of the mid-air collision. “I knew I got the ball though.”
Louisville’s strong offense served as an effective defense as it continued to apply pressure in the waning moments of the match. The Cardinals took 10 second-half shots and forced two Lampson saves as time ticked down.
Senior midfielder Konrad Warzycha, who launched a team-high seven shots, tried to lead the Buckeyes to a late, equalizing goal. Time expired on OSU as a last-ditch corner kick attempt, with all 11 players pushed into the Louisville penalty area, failed.
OSU coach John Bluem praised his team’s performance after the match, but rued a season that “should have held more” for his team.
“Louisville was the better team tonight,” Bluem said. “We staged an excellent comeback and gave a good account of ourselves.
“We accomplished a lot,” Bluem said of the 2010 campaign. “I’m disappointed for our guys. When we look back on this season, I think we’ll all feel that there could have been more for us.”