LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville women’s soccer team fell to Illinois State in a shootout after playing to a 1-1 tie in regulation in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Cardinals finish the season with a 12-5-2 overall record while Illinois State moves to 14-6-1.
“First and foremost, congratulations to Illinois State on advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament,” said UofL head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes. “Losing in penalty kicks is devastating for anyone so I think that that’s a pretty difficult way to lose a game. With that being said, I thought we had chances throughout the course of regulation and certainly in the overtimes for it to not have gone to penalty kicks. But, unfortunately, we didn’t put those chances away.”
Louisville took a 1-0 lead on Lexie Niedoba’s goal in the 40th minute of the game. Illinois State’s Hannah Leinert evened the score in the 54th minute to make it a 1-1 game. After two 10-minute sudden-victory overtime periods, the game entered a best-of-five shootout which Illinois State won 4-3.
The teams played through 38 scoreless minutes before the Cardinals broke through. After a corner kick, senior Chelsea Hunter took a pass from Erin Yenney and fired a shot which was stopped by Illinois State goalkeeper Aryn Newsom, but sophomore Lexie Niedoba’s was on the right post for the rebound and netted her first goal of the season to give Louisville a 1-0 lead. The Cards took the 1-0 lead into halftime after outshooting Illinois State 7-2 and holding a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks. Illinois State’s Aryn Newsom collected three saves in the half.
In the second half, both teams battled for possession, trading shots in the first eight minutes of the frame before Illinois State’s Anna Stinson sent a cross from the left side of the goal to the right post where Hannah Leinert connected to tie the game at 1-1. Louisville went on to hold a 12-8 advantage in shots – including one by senior Charlyn Corral which glanced off the right post - while the Redbirds had a 2-1 edge in corner kicks. Louisville’s Taylor Smith had four stops in the half, while Newsom collected seven saves.
With the score still knotted at 1-1, the teams moved into the first of two 10-minute overtime periods. The Cardinals launched three shots, all of which went wide of the goal, and had three corner kicks. After an initial scoreless overtime, the game moved into a second sudden-victory period which saw Illinois State hold a 4-2 edge in shots and each team awarded one corner kick.
The game was decided by a best-of-five shootout. Corral made good on the Cardinals first attempt while Illinois State’s Rachel Tejada matched it. Caroline Kimble’s shot sailed wide right, but Illinois State’s Kyla Cross converted to give the Redbirds a 2-1 edge. On Louisville’s third attempt, Hunter’s shot was stopped by Aryn Newsom. Smith stopped Stinson’s shot to keep the margin at 2-1. Louisville’s Christine Exeter drilled Louisville’s fourth attempt to even the tally at 2-2. Allie Newsom followed and directed a shot past a diving Smith into the left corner to give the Redbirds a 3-2 edge. Niedoba connected on the Cards’ fifth attempt to tie it back up at 3-3, but Dagny Olson’s shot into the upper right corner sealed the win for the Redbirds.
In the game, Louisville outshot Illinois State 24-14 including a 12-6 advantage in shots on goal. The Cards also held an 11-3 edge in corner kicks. Smith had five saves while Aryn Newsom had 11 stops.
The Cardinals finish the season with a 12-5-2 record after making their fourth NCAA appearance.