The Louisville women’s soccer team received an at-large bid into the 2011 NCAA Championship and the Cardinals will host the University of Dayton in a first round game on Saturday at 7 p.m., ET at Cardinal Park.
Louisville, the 2011 BIG EAST Conference National Division champions, will be hosting an NCAA match for the first time in the program’s history and the Cardinals are making their third NCAA Championship appearance overall. It will be their first NCAA appearance since back-to-back berths in 2006 and 2007.
Tickets for Saturday night’s first round game will be $7 for adults, $5 for students (with ID), senior adults and children and $4 for groups of 10 or more. Group tickets must be purchased in advance through the U of L ticket office and will not be available at Cardinal Park on game day. All tickets will go on sale through the U of L ticket office on Tuesday at 9 a.m., ET.
The Cardinals enter the NCAA Championship with a 12-6-3 record overall after advancing to the BIG EAST Championship title game for the first time in school history last weekend. Louisville, which had its school record eight-game winning streak halted in a 2-0 loss at No. 11 West Virginia in Sunday’s BIG EAST title game, closed the regular season with an 8-1-2 league record setting a school record for conference wins.
Dayton enters the NCAA Championship with a 19-3 record overall after earning the automatic bid from the Atlantic 10 Conference with its third straight A-10 Tournament title on Sunday. The Flyers enter Saturday’s game riding a season-high seven-game winning streak. Directed by head coach Mark Tucker, who is in his 17th season at the helm, UD’s offense is led by a trio of double-figure goal scorers in Colleen Williams (16 goals, 15 assists), Kelsey Smigel (13 goals, five assists) and Juliana Libertin (10 goals, 10 assists).
Saturday’s game will be the 12th meeting all-time between the Cardinals and Flyers with UD having won all 11 previous matchups. This will be the first meeting between the two programs since 2002, when Dayton earned a 3-0 win in Louisville. Saturday’s game will be the first ever post-season meeting between the two programs.
The winner of Saturday’s Louisville-Dayton match will advance to a second round game against either No. 4 seed Memphis or Tennessee-Martin.
About the 2011 Cardinals
Directing the way for the Cardinals is head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes, who was named 2011 BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year after leading Louisville to its first ever conference title. She has guided the Cards to all three of the NCAA bids and earned career win No. 100 on Oct. 22 at Cincinnati as U of L clinched its National Division title with a 1-0 victory over the Bearcats.
Louisville is led offensively by sophomore forward Christine Exeter (Pickering, Ont., Canada/Pickering HS), the 2011 BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year. Exeter totaled 24 points and scored a league-leading 11 goals in conference action in 2011. She recorded at least one point in 10 of 11 league games and has 14 goals and 31 points overall entering the NCAA Championship. Exeter, who has 21 career goals in less than two full seasons, became the first Louisville player to be named BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year only one season after she was the first Cardinal to be named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year (2010).
From a leadership standpoint, the Cardinals are led by senior co-captains Jennifer Jones (Louisville, Ky./Assumption HS) and Kaitie McDonald (Nashville, Tenn./Franklin Road Academy). Jones, a 2011 Third Team All-BIG EAST selection and a member of the 2011 BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament Team, is second on the team with three goals to go along with a team-leading four assists. McDonald was a 2011 BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament Team selection after scoring her first career goal and adding an assist in the Cardinals’ 2-1win over Notre Dame last Friday in the BIG EAST semifinals.
Defensively, Louisville is anchored by senior goalkeeper Chloe Kiefer (Whitefish Bay, Wis./Divine Saviour HS), who has a 0.94 goals against average while playing every minute of every game in 2011 and leading the Cardinals to seven shutouts this season.