“It’s going to be a huge loss … after we win the national championship.” Those were the words of Louisville’s Andrew Farrell after his team’s scoreless draw with Rutgers Saturday night.
I asked Farrell about this year’s senior class and what they meant to this team, and he paused to make sure he stated that they still have a lot of work to do.
Farrell’s words seem bold for a team that has one conference win with only two regular season games remaining. It’s not surprising, however. “When we win the national championship” has been a phrase I’ve heard again and again this season, after big wins and disappointing losses. I’ve heard it echoed after practice and from coach Ken Lolla as recently as a week ago.
Many of the leaders on this team were there last season when the Cards reached the NCAA College Cup Final. They know what it’s like to reach the pinnacle of success in soccer, and they understand how hard it is to get back there. They also fully believe they’ll be there again this year.
Truthfully, there is no reason Louisville can’t get back to the College Cup this season. They have the talent and experience to do so. The one thing they’ve lacked down the stretch is luck. There is no statistical measurement for luck, but if there were, it would also be the most variable statistic. It can change any moment. Certainly this team needs to improve in several areas, but with a little luck, their record would look much different than 8-5-2 (1-4-2 in the Big East).
I recently had a conversation with Lolla about Louisville’s conference situation. It could have big implications for Cardinal soccer if the school moves to the Big 12, as many project. The Big 12 Conference does not play men’s soccer, meaning the program would find refuge elsewhere. When I asked Ken Lolla about it, his attitude echoed that of his players.
“We’re going to win a national championship if we’re in the Big East or any other conference. It doesn’t matter,” he said.
It may seem unlikely now, but the Cards seem poised to prove their doubters wrong.
The Cards close out the regular season at Villanova Saturday at 1 p.m.
photos courtesy of Louisville Athletics
Category: U of L Soccer Report