Only after their loyal stopper, Timothy Murray, had leapt to his right to make a double-palm block on Gerardo Chavez, who had smoothly circumvented defenders Justin Kahle and Michael Narciso, did the Friars long-barren strike force perk up.
At that point, the 29th minute of the opening half, Chavez had made the Louisville Cardinals a decent two-for-three in terms of SOG precision, their other stab finding the back of the cage courtesy of John Jonke at 7:15. Afterward, Providence finally hatched the egg on its shot clock and ran up an 8-2 discrepancy in terms of mere attempts for the rest of the half.
By the final horn of the day, the Friars were up, 16-13, in the way of shots, and up in terms of corner kicks taken (10-7). But with no change in their trend of futility, they let the 1-0 deficit turn to stone.
Every sign building up to the end result was favorable enough. Feisty senior middie Ryan Maduro –who by his output in the first six games this season may as well have been in Portugal, as rumors held all last winter- blasted off for five of his team’s registered stabs. Sophomore Alex Redding, granted just his second start of the year after the promise he had sculpted late last season seemingly disintegrated, resurged for three boots of his own.
From that angle, the Friars everyone got to know in the brighter days of 2007 could unmistakably have been back yesterday, if not for Louisville’s instinctive coverage of Maduro and Redding and rookie goalkeeper Andre Boudreaux’s dignified responsiveness on PC’s infinitesimal three shots on net.
And so, Providence is officially scoreless in its last three full games and 386:44 of overall playing time, dating back to Timothy Ritter’s conversion at Holy Cross 17 days ago.
The disparately bright facet was, of course, that Murray had consumed a similar run of shutout action all for himself, effectively keeping his club –four goals for and all- from making its first dip into the L column. But yesterday, his impeccability expired at 336:37 when the Cardinals –who have been good for a substantial 12 strikes in their first seven games- pounced on their second free kick of the day in just the eighth minute.
Senior midfielder Aaron Clapham –whose later shot in the 75th minute effectively knocked defender Kevin Neumen out of the game when Neumen sacrificed his mug to divert it- let a nimble bender skip through a dense collage of bodies. Jonke got a piece of it and whipped it home to the left of Murray.
After the Friars cleared their zone within moments of Chavez’s near-miss, they proceeded to run up the shooting gallery, 14-5, between the 20th and 71st minutes of action. And the Cardinals all but invited their hosts to put their brittle lead on the edge in the way of three unanswered yellow cards.
But Boudreaux was only required to touch three Providence shots, all of them in the first half, before his guards filtered all six of the Friars’ purposeful boots in the latter 45 minutes.
In the 67th minute, Murray lashed out to snuff Chase Kreger’s long-ranged bid that ended a 49 minute, 41 second fast from SOGs for the Cards. Once thawed out on that front, Louisville cracked down, authorizing three more far-flung bids from the Friars and absolute zilch after the 69th minute elapsed.
In that climactic stretch, Louisville discharged five unanswered shots, earned five corner kicks, and induced PC to pick up two yellow cards of its own.
Maduro was flagged for the first of those cards in the 77th minute when he characteristically impugned a whistle that had beat Chris Stoker’s net-bound scorcher, zapping the would-be equalizer.
Seeing how that particular play unfolded, the passion is not to be questioned, but the productivity is still conspicuous by its absence.
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press