LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville’s Nikki Boltja had the first and last words against her hometown team.
A Medina, Ohio, native, Boltja scored the first goal of the game and tallied the final two scores, including the game winner, to deliver the University of Louisville women’s lacrosse team a 12-11 upset over 13th-ranked Ohio State Saturday afternoon at the UofL Lacrosse Stadium.
Boltja finished the contest with four goals and an assist.
“Nikki played great,” Young added. “Two of her goals were perfectly placed, and she was unstoppable.
“It wasn’t her opening goal or game-winning goal, though. It was her defending.”
Young also praised the team’s defensive efforts after holding the Buckeyes to just 11 goals. Collectively, the Cardinals registered 13 caused turnovers.
“You expect the No. 13 team in the nation to score goals, but our defense stopped them when they needed too,” Young said of the team’s fourth win over a ranked opponent in program history. “Out of a rocky first half, we came out mentally tough ready to dominate the second half.”
Junior goalie Ashley Herbst had another outstanding game between the pipes, playing all 60 minutes, recording seven saves to improve to 2-0 on the year.
Only having led twice in the game, once after the first draw control and again in the final minutes of play, the Cardinals kept composure on both ends of the field to deliver the program its first win over Ohio State.
Led by Colleen O’Malley, who also finished with four goals, the Cardinals’ attack made a strong push with less than 13 minutes remaining.
O’Malley’s fourth score brought the Cardinals within one, and then Boltja did what she’s done best since last season. Boltja, a junior tied the game at 10 apiece with 10:53 to go. After a counter by the Buckeyes, Boltja tallied a pair of goals within two minutes of each other to put Louisville ahead for good.
In the final seven minutes, Louisville’s defense remained strong. Ohio State managed just four shot attempts, including two-free position shots, in the final minutes of the game.
The first half was just as close, represented by two ties and two lead changes. Ohio State never led by more than two goals and entered the half ahead, 5-4.
Louisville concludes its three-game home stand on Saturday, Feb. 23, against Old Dominion. First draw at the UofL Lacrosse Stadium is set for 1 p.m.
- Today marked Louisville's fourth win in program history against a ranked opponent.
- Today also marked the highest-ranked opponent Louisville has defeated.
Wins against ranked opponents
- #16 Loyola (Md.) 4/18/09 (13-12)
- at #19 Rutgers 4/30/10 (14-9)
- #13 Vanderbilt 3/30/11 (12-6)
- #13 Ohio State 2/16/13 (12-11)
- Two of Louisville’s four wins against ranked opponents have been decided on by one goal.
- After finishing just 3-of-11 on free-position shots against Canisius, the Cardinals buried three of their four free-position shots versus Ohio State.
- Junior Colleen O’Malley set a career-high with four goals.