The University of Louisville women's soccer team opened regular-season play with a 2-0 victory over Butler University Friday night at Cardinal Park.
The first half of the game was a physical defensive battle in which neither team was able to put the ball in the net. Louisville came out of the gate with an aggressive attack. Although they were unable to score, they controlled the tempo and dominated possession throughout the opening period.
The Cardinals aggression was apparent, as they closed the half with a decided 5-2 shots on goal advantage. Louisville also had five corner kicks to Butler's zero.
Bad breaks and miscues were what kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard in the first half. The Cardinals‘ first missed opportunity took place near the 16-minute mark, when senior midfielder Charlyn Corral made a beautiful cross to the middle of box that her teammates misread.
Another opportunity for a first half lead slipped away when a kick from freshman Rachele Armand hit the top of the goal, ricocheted to the ground, and took an unlucky roll away from the line.
After a rough first half that featured 16 total fouls between the two teams, Louisville wasted no time finding the goal in the final period.
The Cards captured the game's first point just 50 seconds into the half, when a corner kick by Corral was headed in by senior forward Christine Exeter.
Following Exeter's goal, much like the first half, the Cardinals continued to control the tempo with their attack.
The Cards all but sealed the season-opening win with about five minutes to play when sophomore Hannah Konermann pushed the attack down the left side and crossed to the middle where Corral was able to push the Cardinal lead to 2-0.
"To get a win in your opening game is always a great way to start the season," head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes said after the game.
"From the warm-up, from the start of the game to the end of the game (the players) were all about ‘we're going to win this game, we want to win this game, we're a championship team,‘" Ferguson-Dayes said of her team's mindset. "At some point that's what allows you to win a game."
The Louisville women's soccer team, now sporting a 1-0 record, will play host to Illinois on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Cardinal Park.