LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Nikki Boltja and Kaylin Morissette combined for nine goals, and the University of Louisville women’s lacrosse team dominated Rutgers 14-1 on Friday evening at the UofL Lacrosse Stadium.
The Cardinals (10-6, 2-5 BIG EAST), who limited their second opponent this year to just one goal in a game, set the tempo from the start.
Louisville spent the first two minutes in Rutgers’ zone and, even after the Scarlet Knights gained possession, Morissette forced a turnover that turned into an unassisted goal at the 26:46 mark. Moments later, Cortnee Daley ran through the defense and rocketed a shot high past the goalkeeper to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.
Rutgers (9-7, 1-6) got on the board at the 22-minute mark on a goal by Annie McGinley, but Louisville’s defense allowed the Scarlet Knights just two more shots the rest of the game.
“Everybody stepped up today,” head coach Kellie Young said of the team’s defense. “People were looking for checks from behind, our midfield defense had their sticks in the right place to funnel them in the right spot, and we were disciplined, not fouling, which was huge. Our defense was listening about stepping up, so they couldn’t get the pass over the pressure.”
Nikki Boltja responded with her first of five goals in the game, and scored what ultimately turned into the first of 12 unanswered goals. She beat a pair of defenders on both sides of her and shot the ball low past the goalie to increase Louisville’s lead to two. She registered her second goal on a free-position shot, going high past Rutgers’ goalkeeper Lily Kalata, who was credited with the loss.
Faye Brust, Morissette, and Jamie Redding each tallied goals before the end of the half, as Louisville carried a 7-1 lead into the break. Redding’s score, the final one of the half, came on a play where Katie Oliverio was positioned behind the cage and passed it to Redding on the doorstep for the goal.
Louisville came out firing on all cylinders in the second half as well, scoring four goals inside 10 minutes of play. Three of those goals belonged to Boltja, who now has 59 on the season. The junior needs just three more for sole possession of third place on the school’s single-season charts, surpassing Bergan Foley’s 2008 and 2009 totals of 61.
Morissette, who won four of her five draw controls in the second period, added one more goal before the end of the game.
“The draw controls is the most impactful part of it because she has struggled on the one-handed grab,” Young said on Morissette’s performance. “We were actually trying to get her to get out of the circle because of that, and yet, she was so powerful on that today.”
As a team, Louisville dominated all phases of play. The Cardinals outshot Rutgers 29-6, held a 15-11 advantage in ground balls, and edged the Scarlet Knights 11-6 in draw controls, four of which went to Laura Patterson. Rutgers turned the ball over 14 times in comparison to the Cardinals’ season-low six.
With much of the time spent on Rutgers’ side of the field, Ashley Herbst had a quiet day. The junior stopped three of the four shots she faced, capturing her 10th win of the season and lowering her goals-against average to 8.97.
Louisville returns to action on Sunday for Senior Day, facing Villanova at home at 1 p.m. Seniors Danielle Pawliw, Janaye Dzikewich, and Oliverio will be recognized before the game.
· Louisville has limited its opponents to one goal twice this season.
· Additionally, the Cardinals have held opponents to three of fewer goals in six of their 10 wins.
· Louisville had a season-low six turnovers today. In their last two games, the Cardinals have only turned the ball over 14 times – the number of times the Scarlet Knights turned the ball over today.
· Junior Nikki Boltja recorded her fifth game this season with five or more goals.
· Freshman Kaylin Morissette won five draw controls to give her six games this season with five or more.