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November 16, 2012
Junior defender Andrew Farrell and the Cardinals take on Winthrop University Sunday night at 7. The Cardinals will be competing in the second round of the Men's Soccer NCAA Tournament.
CardinalSports.com's Adam Donaldson got to sit down with Farrell, the Big East Defender of the Year, before UofL takes on the Winthrop Eagles to discuss his path to back to Louisville and his feelings on the season.
AD: Thanks for spending some time with me Andrew. So you found out Monday that you guys are the 10th overall seed in the NCAA tournament this year. Were you surprised at all?
Farrell: "We were pretty surprised because in the RPI (rankings based on strength of schedule) we were like 13th. It doesn't necessarily go off of the RPI, but we thought we were going to be between 10th and 16th. We were going to be in that range. "
AD: What was Coach Lolla's reaction to the 10th overall seed?
Farrell: "He was excited for 10th. He thought we deserved it, obviously. Some of the results [this season] didn't go well, but we played the toughest schedule in the country, six of the 16 seeded teams we played. We've been happy, but there's only one game we got to focus on right now and that's (Winthrop)."
AD: You see that Notre Dame is the number one seed overall in the NCAA tournament this year. They also won the Big East tournament. But you guys took them down 2-1 in the regular season. What does that do for your confidence?
Farrell: "I mean they had a good season. I think they've only lost like three games. But it gives us confidence We have the best schedule in the country, but we've beaten the best teams. And I think this tournament (NCAA) is wide open. There's no clear favorite this year, as supposed to like last year and the year before It's pretty wide open. And knowing that we beat Notre Dame already, the guys are pretty excited about that."
AD: A National Final your freshman year and an Elite Eight finish in your sophomore season. It's been a winning attitude since you've been here. I know Coach Lolla has always preached to strive for a National Championship. Has that always been the goal since day one?
Farrell: "That's the goal. Obviously Coach Lolla has done a great job recruiting and coaching wise, he's gotten some of the best players here. We always strive to be in the National Championship. That's always the goal, never anything less."
AD: Talk about being named the Big East Defender of the year? What does it mean to receive that award?
Farell: "I'm thankful for getting the award. Without my teammates I wouldn't have been able to get it The team was doing well, we were 7-1 in the Big East So individually I get the award, but it's more of a team thing because without the team I wouldn't have been able to play well."
AD: Regarding the strength of the Big East Conference?
Farell: "Every game is going to be tough, every game is a grind. Game by game, you never know what could happen. And that's why the Big East is one of the best conferences."
AD: I don't mean to bring up a harsh memory, but because of the rivalry, talk about the loss to Kentucky earlier this season?
Farrell: "They're a good team. They got a new coach this year and he kind of changed things around. But I mean, it's obviously bitter losing to Kentucky. It's always bitter losing a home game to your rival. I mean, what happens, happens. They got a good free kick, scored it and they had like two or three chances in the game. We had like 10. Story of soccer. We lost that game early and we've done pretty good since. I think that game was kind of like the changing point, I guess.
AD: I've heard a lot about your upbringing and that you lived in Peru for a while. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Farrell: "I moved there (Peru) when I was like five, from Louisville. I went there because my parents were missionaries of the Presbyterian Church. And [my brother and sister] stayed there for 10 years. I liked it. We went to a Peruvian school for the first couple of years, but then I went to like the Embassy School. I miss it sometimes, like [the] food, the different style of soccer. Here you have a basketball game, there it's just soccer. All the time. And that's what I love about it."
AD: You think playing over in Peru helped your game out a lot?
Farrell: "Yeah. I think that's where I grew the most, but here as well. Coach [Lolla] has taught me a lot. Instinct's wise, I learned a lot from there. I came in [to Louisville] more of like an athlete, coach made me better. More of a soccer player."
AD: I know this is a tough question to answer, but was there a point in your career where you were like, 'wow I'm pretty good at this sport?'
Farrell: "Yeah, I think it happened in college. It probably happened in my freshman year. I was starting outside back, first game of the season. So I was like, 'wow I can really play with these guys. Hopefully, like improve every year.' As the season went on our team kept doing well. Freshman year I didn't provide as much, but I could keep up with the guys. And then sophomore year I helped a little bit more."