LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Behind a strong first-half performance, the University of Louisville women’s lacrosse team outlasted Vanderbilt, 13-10, on a chilly Wednesday afternoon in the UofL Lacrosse Stadium.
Louisville (4-1), which came out sluggish in the first period in its last game, set the tone by scoring seven goals in the first 16 minutes of the match.
The Cardinals’ offensive catalyst, Nikki Boltja netted the game’s first goal at the 25:49 mark on a free-position attempt. Just 20 seconds later, Katie Oliverio found the back of the net to put the Cardinals ahead, 2-0.
After a rare own goal by Vanderbilt that extended Louisville’s lead by three, the Commodores’ Carly Linthicum scored her first of five goals on the day.
Louisville’s defense, which forced Vanderbilt into 20 turnovers, kept the Commodores off the scoreboard for the next 10 minutes, and the Cardinals’ offense fed off of it with four-straight scores.
Colleen O’Malley, on an assist from Oliverio, started the run with her ninth goal of the year at the 23:12 mark. Erika Eipp and Oliverio added the next two goals, and Kaylin Morissette netted an unassisted score to push Louisville’s lead to six at 7-1.
Vanderbilt closed the half on a 3-2 run after a pair of goals in the final three minutes of the period.
Louisville proved to be the dominant team in the half, limiting Vanderbilt to just four goals on 11 shots, and forcing 10 Vanderbilt turnovers.
After Boltja’s third goal of the game, Vanderbilt’s offense started to come together, as Linthicum scored three-consecutive goals, and Abby Wheeler netted the Commodores’ fourth-straight to bridge the gap at 11-8.
Morissette, who has shined during her freshman campaign, scored two of her three goals over a three-minute span, with Boltja registering a goal in between, to push Louisville’s lead back to five. While the Commodores scored two late goals, the deficit proved to be too much to overcome.
Monica Negron played a significant role in the win, as she tallied a career-best seven draw controls and was one of three players with three ground balls. Cortnee Daley recorded a team-best two caused turnovers, and Ashley Herbst, improving to 4-1 in the win, made seven saves for the decision.
Louisville returns to action on Saturday, March 9, in Cumming, Ga., for a neutral-site contest against Presbyterian. First draw at West Forsyth High is scheduled for 5 p.m., and it marks the first of five-straight games away from home for the Cardinals.