LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville women’s lacrosse team dropped its first match of the year on Saturday, falling at Denver, 19-13, in Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.
Unlike two of their first three victories of the year, where the Cardinals’ (3-1) stifled their opponents to just three goals each, Louisville’s defense struggled to stop Denver’s trio of Kara Secora, Meredith Harris and Jenn Etzel, who finished with a combined 14 scores.
Despite four-goal performances from Katie Oliverio and Nikki Boltja, and Erika Eipp tallied two goals, the team’s offense couldn’t string together large enough runs to mount a comeback.
The Cardinals, who were making their first road trip of the year, had trouble overcoming a sluggish first period in which they turned the ball over 13 times – they finished with a season-worst 19 turnovers – and managed to score on just five of their 10 shots.
In the early stages of the second half, Denver (3-1) pushed its lead to six after four-straight goals, one that ended the first half and three straight to open the period. Kara Secora, who finished with a game-high five scores, tallied back-to-back goals to begin the second.
Louisville responded with three-straight scores that cut the deficit to 11-8, but that was the strongest run the Cardinals compiled. After Boltja’s goal at the 23:10 mark, Cortnee Daley scored her seventh goal of the season and Boltja capped the rally with her third goal of the contest.
Denver, though, put together its own run with four-straight goals, and after enlarging its lead to seven, the two teams traded scores for the remainder of the contest. During that stretch, Laura Patterson recorded her first collegiate goal at the 9:34 mark following Oliverio’s second assist of the game.
Offensively, the Pioneers held a 14-6 advantage on draw controls in the second period and, defensively, Denver finished ahead 7-4 on ground balls and limited Louisville to just 3-for-8 on free-position attempts.
Denver opened the game on a 3-0 run, including two goals from Etzel.
Oliverio halted the spurt with her sixth goal of the season, but Denver’s Harris scored two of the game’s next three goals and Secora netted her first goal of the game to increase the Pioneers’ lead to four at 6-2.
Louisville climbed within two after scores from Boltja, Colleen O’Malley and Oliverio’s second goal of the contest. However, Jill Remenapp found the back of the net with just 26 seconds left in the first half to keep Denver ahead, 8-5.
Another physical contest for the Cardinals, the game featured 55 fouls, with nine yellow cards distributed.
Monica Negron had a team-best four caused turnovers, and Kaylin Morissette, who finished scoreless, won four draw controls.
The Cardinals return home on March 6 for a 1 p.m. matchup against Vanderbilt at the UofL Lacrosse Stadium.
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.