LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville women’s lacrosse team quickly is putting together the best season in program history. The Cardinals tied a program best their sixth-straight victory, posting a 16-9 decision at Villanova on Sunday afternoon in Villanova, Pa.
Nikki Boltja paced 19th-ranked Louisville (10-3, 4-0 BIG EAST) with six goals, five in the second half, and two assists for eight points, tying for the third-most points in a game in school history. Faye Brust added four goals, and Pennsylvania native Cortnee Daley tallied three scores, one assist, two caused turnovers, and a game-high four ground balls.
It is the fewest games in school history the Cardinals needed to reach the double-digit plateau. The victory also preserves Louisville’s lead atop the BIG EAST standings, holding the only undefeated record in the conference.
The Cardinals, much Friday’s win over Temple, dominated the second half. Outscoring Villanova 10-5, Louisville eclipsed the double-digit goal plateau in the final period for the second-consecutive game.
Coming out of the halftime break with a 7-4 lead, the Cardinals distanced themselves with five unanswered goals. Boltja tallied consecutive scores, Brust scored the third goal of the run, Daley registered her third goal of the game, and Brust capped the spurt at the 19:47 mark.
Louisville’s defense held Villanova (7-6, 2-2) for more than 12 minutes without a score in the period before Kelsey Denihan found the back of the net at the 18:30 mark to bring the Wildcats within six, 11-5.
Boltja then scored two goals over the next two minutes, with Colleen O’Malley recording her second goal of the game in that timeframe. Villanova notched three goals over the final nine minutes of the contest, but Brust and Boltja tacked on one score apiece inside that span to keep Villanova out of reach.
The Cardinals went 12 for 13 on clears and also posted a 35-17 advantage on shots. The Louisville defense finished with 13 caused turnovers, including two apiece from O’Malley, Monica Negron, and Carissa Corbett.
Villanova took a quick 1-0 lead in the first half, scoring less than two minutes into the contest.
Louisville countered with three goals, first by O’Malley, then one by Brust, and the third from Daley.
Consecutive Villanova goals tied the game at three apiece, but Morissette’s lone goal, her 27th of the year, put Louisville ahead 4-3 and the Cardinals never trailed from that point. Boltja and Daley scored the game’s next two goals before Villanova tacked on the final one of the half.
In addition to her one goal, Morissette tied a career best with three assists and won nine draw controls.
While Ashley Herbst recorded her 10th goal of the year in goal, freshman Ashley Peacock totaled a season-best five saves behind 31:07 in the cage, also a season high.
Louisville returns home for its final three regular-season games next week. Louisville faces Connecticut on Thursday at the UofL Lacrosse Stadium at 4 p.m. ET and then the Cardinals play host to Rutgers on Sunday at 1 p.m.
For the latest information on Louisville women's lacrosse, log on to GoCards.com, or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow the team's Twitter account at www.twitter.com/LouisvilleLax or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UofLLacrosse.