- Cleveland State scored twice in the final 20 minutes to tie No. 14 Louisville, 2-2
- Sophomore Jannis Schmidt scored his first collegiate goal and assisted on the tying strike
- Senior Gabriel Pewu scored the game-tying goal, his second career goal in a season opener
- True freshman Omeed Naeemy made four saves in his debut
- Each team had six shots on goal
- The match was the first as a collegiate head coach for Sinisa Ubiparipovic
- A trio of Vikings made their collegiate debuts, two of which started
- The Vikings had to play the match without Thomas M'Barek, a usual starter at center back
- This was the first tie in a season opener for CSU since 2005
- This is the second straight season CSU earned a road result against a Power Five foe
The Cleveland State University men's soccer team, and first-year head coach Sinisa Ubiparipovic, got their 2019 campaign off to a rousing start as the Vikings tied defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion Louisville, 2-2, Friday evening at a warm and sunny Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Stadium.
The fact that CSU scored twice within the final 20 minutes of regulation to overcome a 2-0 deficit made the result against the 14th ranked Cardinals even sweeter.
Sophomore Jannis Schmidt's first collegiate goal gave the Vikings a lifeline, and his assist just over 10 minutes later was even more important. Senior Gabriel Pewu netted the tying strike, the 10th marker of his career.
True freshman Omeed Naeemy made four saves in net in the first collegiate action of his career. Redshirt sophomore Andrew Nicholas was the other Viking newcomer to earn a start, as he occupied an advanced position down the left flank.
The match, and the season, got off to an inauspicious start for the Vikings when a cross from the right flank by Louisville was headed into the net by a CSU defender fewer than 10 minutes into the match.
The Vikings did not drop their heads though as they produced some dangerous chances over the next 15 minutes.
Senior Vlad Jandric had an effort from inside the box on an angle palmed away after his run from midfield where he gathered Pewu's flicked header.
Pewu seemingly earned a penalty kick about 10 minutes later when he was hauled down in the area, and the referee pointed to the spot. However, after rethinking the decision, he awarded a free kick outside the box, and CSU's subsequent shot was blocked.
Louisville added a second goal with just over 10 minutes to play in the half when a free kick was not cleared at the first attempt and then was poked over the line from close range.
The second half belonged to CSU as Louisville's chances were few and far between. One of the only quality chances for the Cards came in the 57th minute when Naeemy came out to play the ball and wasn't able to get back to the goal mouth in time. However, junior Dan Manolache game up big, clearing the ball off the line.
In the 72nd minute, senior Lawrence Karpeh held up the ball in the attacking third off a throw in. Schmidt then played the ball forward to Pewu's run into the box. Pewu tried to circle the oncoming keeper, but the goalie got a piece of the ball on the way by. Schmidt pounced on the ensuing deflection at the top of the box to pull the Vikings within one.
The goal gave the Vikings a new life, and they pressed forward with more urgency. In the 83rd minute, CSU found the equalizer.
Junior Zack Kluever started the sequence by winning the ball off a Cardinal before playing it forward to Schmidt. After a few touches, Schmidt found sophomore defender Ryan Kolonick's overlapping run down the left. Kolonick crossed from near the end line, and Schmidt's first-time shot was saved. However, Pewu was in perfect position to redirect the ball into the net before the goalie could recover.
Desperate for a winner, Louisville would began to tighten the screws in the overtime periods, but the Vikings were able to withstand the pressure. Naeemy was called into significant action for the first time in awhile right at the end of the first overtime as he punched clear a wicked strike from outside the area.
The Cardinals had a couple free kicks in dangerous spots and a couple corner kicks in the second overtime but could not find the net. Naeemy made a couple of saves in the extra session, including one in the final minute on a free kick.
After enduring all that pressure, Cleveland State nearly won the match at the death. Sophomore Ivan Babic played a nicely weighted ball down the left into the path of Nicholas with just seconds left. Nicholas put his tight-angle effort on frame, but the keeper managed to redirect it to safety.
Redshirt freshman Nick McCausland made his collegiate debut as he came off the bench to play 72 minutes on defense.
With the result, CSU's last seven head coaches are 5-0-2 in their first match leading the Vikings.
The Vikings are now 2-2-1 all-time against Louisville.
With a positive result to start the season, Cleveland State will play its home opener Wednesday, Sept. 4, when it welcomes Robert Morris.