Heartbroken Hurricanes unable to hold off Louisville late

Miami stood seven minutes from a one-goal win to begin Atlantic Coast Conference competition on Friday, but instead allowed two late goals in a devastating 3-2 defeat against Louisville in 105 minutes of play.

“The game was in our hands, but Louisville is a good team, so our expectation was that they were going to come out and throw everything at us in the second half, and they did,” Miami head coach Sarah Barnes said.

Junior midfielder María Jakobsdóttir started the Hurricanes’ first-half scoring efforts, tapping in a 25th-minute goal into the upper right corner off a header from redshirt sophomore defender Jackie Koerwitz.

Sophomore midfielder/defender Katerina Molina then netted her second goal of the season from the top of the penalty box for the 2-0 lead.

Scoring two goals in the span of 12 minutes, Miami appeared to have full command. That rapidly changed when both teams returned from the locker room after halftime.

From the 46th minute onward, the Hurricanes (3-4, 0-1 ACC) allowed the Cardinals (5-1-1, 1-0 ACC) to gradually mold their comeback, as Louisville layered on three second-half goals.

Louisville midfielder Hayley Howard ignited the spark on goal off a corner kick, slicing Miami’s advantage in half, 2-1.

As 25 total fouls were whistled, Miami’s most costly originated in the 83rd minute. Junior defender Emma Tucker tripped forward Ravin Alexander, spurring Cardinals defender Sarah Hernandez to line up a shot from the penalty mark. Junior goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais was unable to prevent Hernandez’ sole shot on goal from slipping past the goal line and collecting her season-high eighth save.

“It’s about the inches, just trying to find that one inch that gets you a little closer,” Barnes said. “We’ve got to look back at the film and try and find the inches and make improvements between now and Thursday.”

Entering extra time for the third time in five matches, the Hurricanes hopes of prevailing past the 90th minute evaporated. With each team still tied at two goals apiece after ten extra minutes, the Cardinals again exploited the Hurricanes’ physicality near the Miami penalty area.

The final penalty whistle was blown, leading to a free kick for midfielder Maisie Whitsett from the left side of UM’s penalty box. Louisville’s 10th shot on goal sailed into the back post as the Cardinals rejoiced on their completed second-half surge.

“They’re hurting right now,” Barnes said. “I think that’s the sign of a team that cares deeply. They’re going to take the rest of tonight and tomorrow to try and recover from this.”

Up next, Miami hosts Notre Dame on Thursday. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.