LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Junior Mohamed Thiaw connected for his fourth goal of the season and graduate student Stefan Cleveland registered his fifth shutout as the Louisville men’s soccer team defeated No.1 Notre Dame 1-0 on Friday night at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium.
Thiaw’s first half goal proved to be enough as the Cardinals (5-1-1, 2-0-0 ACC) limited the Fighting Irish (6-1-0, 1-1-0 ACC) to just six shots, 10 fewer than their season average. Friday’s result, played in front of a crowd of 4,043, marked the second time in the last three seasons Louisville has defeated a top-ranked foe after upsetting No. 1 Syracuse in 2014.
“It feels good and I think we deserved it as well. I thought we were a little bit nervous and had some jitters, but after about the 15-minute mark, we started playing,” said Louisville coach Ken Lolla. “Once we started, I thought we ended the first half pretty well and what a goal by Mo. In the second half, I thought we simply managed it and didn’t give anything away. We defended very well but it seems like Stef needs to come up with one (big save) each game and he was huge on that late shot. They’re a very good team and that’s a huge win.”
The only goal of the night came in the 25th minute after junior Joey Kunkel delivered a deep ball across the midline to Thiaw, who won the ball in the air before connecting on a right-footed lob over Notre Dame goalkeeper Chris Hubbard. The perfectly placed shot was out of the reach of Hubbard, who had moved forward off his line, and tucked beneath the crossbar.
“I saw the goalie off the line like it was just a challenge and the ball bounced right back. I looked up, saw the keeper of his line and I just gave it a try and it went in,” Thiaw said of his game-winning goal. “It feels good to beat the number one team in the country. We want to be the number one team in the country and this is what we had to do”.
Cleveland, who has played all 653:14 minutes in goal this season for the Cardinals, needed just three saves to clinch his third consecutive shutout. The biggest stop of the night came in the 85th minute when Cleveland made a leaping, one-handed save on a well-struck shot from Notre Dame’s Jon Gallagher. A Dartmouth transfer, Cleveland has allowed just two goals in seven matches for a 0.28 goals against average.
Friday’s match marked the first time this season Louisville has not out-shot its opponent as Notre Dame finished with a 6-3 edge in shots, including a 3-2 margin on goal. The Fighting Irish also had a 6-3 cushion in corner kicks.
The Cardinals moved to 3-0-1 at home this season and improved to 6-3-1 all-time at Lynn Stadium against nationally ranked foes. That record includes two wins against teams ranked No. 2 in the nation and Friday’s triumph over No. 1.
Up next, Louisville takes to the road for a non-conference match at Saint Louis on Tuesday at 8 p.m., ET.
Official release from UofL sports information