Tribe Men’s Soccer Falls to No. 18 Louisville 2-1 in Season Opener

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Courtesy TribeAthletics.com
Courtesy TribeAthletics.com

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The William & Mary men’s soccer team battled No. 18 Louisville to the wire in its season opener, but fell 2-1 on the road on Friday night.

Freshman Antonio Bustamante scored the Tribe’s lone goal. With the decision the Tribe falls to 0-1-0, while the Cardinals improve to 1-0-0 on the young season.

“We are certainly disappointed to have lost tonight, but we are encouraged by the performance,” Coach Chris Norris said. The goals we conceded are correctable and we consistently looked like we could be dangerous moving forward.”

The Tribe opened the match on the attack, and fired the game’s first shot. In the eighth minute sophomore William Eskay had a shot, but it was blocked. Following that in the 10th minute W&M had a corner kick, but could muster anything off of it.

Despite the quick start for the Green & Gold, Louisville was able to score the night’s first goal. In the 22nd minute, Ben Strong sent a ball over the Tribe’s backline that found Andrew Brody, who chipped it into the goal. The tally lifted the Cardinals to a 1-0 lead.

W&M found the equalizer with a goal 41st minute. Bustamante lined up a free kick just outside of the box on the left side of the field. He was able to work the ball into the far right post of the goal. Bustamante’s first career goal knotted the score.

The Cardinals scored the game-winner just before intermission. Just two minutes after the Tribe’s equalizer, Tate Shmitt found the winner. From 16-yards out from the left side of the goal, Shmitt placed the ball perfectly into the upper left corner, lifting Louisville to a 2-1 lead.

W&M never went away and a couple of chances to find its second equalizer of the night. Maybe its best chance of the night came in the 59th minute when redshirt sophomore Alfonso Speed Jr. found space, but his shot caromed off the post to safety.

The Green and Gold had two final chances in the 81st and 82nd minute both off of the foot of senior Jackson Eskay. His first shot attempt was blocked, and Nick Jeffs saved his second.

For the match, Louisville held a slight 8-6 advantage in shots on goal, but both teams were even in the second half with three apiece. The Cardinals did have a 4-2 advantage in shots on goal. Bustamante and Jackson Eskay led the College with a pair of shots.

In goal, redshirt junior Mac Phillips got the starting nod. He finished the night with a pair of saves.

The Green and Gold returns home for its home opener on Tuesday, Sept. 1 when they welcome in-state rival Liberty to Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field. Kickoff for the match is set for 7 p.m.