#7 Louisville Men's Soccer 2014 Preview

Louisville Cardinals

Overall Rank: #7
#4 ACC
#7 Louisville Men's Soccer 2014 Preview
Louisville Team Page


Louisville has now been to seven straight NCAA Tournaments and this year should make it eight. However, the big news of course is that the Cardinals are now in the ACC. The schedule is brutal and there are hardly any easy games in the ACC. The good news about the conference slate is that Virginia and North Carolina are not on there. The Cardinals did not do themselves any favors in the non-conference schedule. They play Michigan, Maryland, Saint Louis and Indiana. With all those tough games, if things start going bad, they could get really bad.

2013 Record: 11-5-4, 5-1-2
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Ken Lolla

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Ricardo Velazco, Junior, F, 7
Assists: Ricardo Velazco, Junior, F, 9
Shots: Ricardo Velazco, Junior, F, 77
Saves: Joachim Ball, Senior, GK, 53

Other Key Returnees: M Andrew Brody, M Nolan Moore, M Ivan Gutierrez, M Santiago Velez, D Daniel Keller, D Jerry Ramirez, D Taylor Curtis, D Michael DeGraffenreidt

Key Losses: F Zack Foxhoven, M/F Marlon Hairston, M Ade Akinsanya, M Derek McCaffrey, D Jimmy Ockford

More likely than not, Louisville will compete for an ACC title thanks to the return of Ricardo Velazco and Andrew Brody. Velazco, a 5-7 junior, scored a team high seven goals and nine assists. Brody is coming off of a superb freshman campaign in which he netted three scores and dished out eight assists. Midfielders Nolan Moore, Ivan Gutierrez and Santiago Velez were all part time starters in the midfield in 2013 and should step into bigger roles this year. As usual, Louisville has some quality transfers headed into the program. Shane Campbell, from Penn State, and Jonathan Zabasajja, from SMU, will bolster the back line which returns Daniel Keller, Jerry Ramirez, Taylor Curtis and Michael DeGraffenreidt. Also returning for the defense is senior keeper Joachim Ball. He allowed just 13 goals in 19 games and recorded eight shutouts.

Velazco is a superb scorer and Brody is mostly a setup man, although he will score some goals, but no other returning player took more than 15 shots. Somebody else needs to emerge as a threatening goal scorer, especially in the ACC where goals will be much tougher to come by. Senior Will Vitalis, who did not play in 2013, but started 17 games back in 2012, and freshman Papy Diouf are the only other strikers on the roster.

Final Projection:
Coach Ken Lolla has done great things at Louisville and it will be very interesting to see how the program fares in the Atlantic Coast Conference. After a disappointing NCAA Tournament in 2013, this team will be more than ready to make a tournament run in 2014. The schedule is absolutely brutal and this team will certainly be ready for anything the tournament can throw at them…if they can make it eight years in a row.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 1.50 (60th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 0.71 (18, 4)
Shutout Percentage: 0.45 (27, 3)
Save Percentage: 0.808 (34, 4)

Madness 2015 MLS Draft Rankings:
#14 Ricardo Velazco


See All College Sports Madness Top 44 Men's Soccer Previews