LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Nikki Boltja tied her season in goals, but it wasn’t enough, as the University of Louisville women’s lacrosse team fell to Connecticut 12-11 in overtime on Sunday at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex in Storrs, Conn.
The Cardinals trailed only twice during regulation, but Louisville’s defense gave up the final four goals of the contest, including the game winner in overtime to drop to 8-6 overall, 0-5 in BIG EAST play.
Connecticut’s Kacey Pippitt tallied the Huskies’ first of an eventual four straight late in the second period to bring the deficit to two, 11-9. Carly Palmucci closed the gap to one just 22 seconds later, and Morgan O’Reilly just beat the buzzer to tie the game at 11 apiece.
With 15 seconds remaining in the first overtime period, Pippitt registered one of the Huskies’ two shots in the session, finding the back of the net on an assist from Morgan O’Reilly to give Connecticut its 11th win of the year.
O’Reilly and Pippitt sparked the Huskies’ comeback in the second half. After one goal by O’Reilly to open the second period, Pippitt registered two goals, including one during a man-advantage after Monica Negron was sent off due to a yellow card. Lauren Kahn capped the 4-0 run and put Connecticut ahead 7-6, its first lead since six minutes into the game.
Boltja initiated a three-goal swing for the Cardinals at the 18:48 mark, tying the game at seven on an unassisted score. Kaylin Morissette, who finished with a game-high four caused turnovers, found the back of the net for her lone goal of the game 34 seconds later, and Boltja’s sixth goal of the game, 51st of the year, gave Louisville a two-goal lead at 9-7.
More than six minutes of scoreless action passed before Connecticut’s O’Reilly tallied her second goal of the game.
Louisville responded with two goals, including Colleen O’Malley’s 18th goal of the year, to put the Cardinals’ lead at three, 11-8, with less than five minutes in regulation.
Tewaaraton Trophy watch list member Boltja was the difference in the first half, scoring four of the team’s six goals. She gave Louisville a quick 1-0 lead on a free-position attempt less than two minutes into the match.
Connecticut (11-1, 4-1) tied the game and then took a short-lived 2-1 lead on a score by Palmucci.
The Cardinals’ Erika Eipp and Laura Patterson scored in succession to return the lead back to Louisville. Both goals came off assists, with Eipp finding the back of the net after Katie Oliverio’s first of two assists in the game. The other assist came from Boltja, who scored the final three goals of the half for a 6-3 Louisville advantage at the halftime break.
Louisville finished the game with a 19-15 edge in ground balls, but had trouble gaining possession, losing the draw control battle 18-8. In the overtime period, Louisville was unable to register a shot or gain control of the draw. Collectively, the Cardinals converted a solid three of their four free-position attempts.
Louisville concludes the regular season with a three-match homestand, beginning on Saturday, April 20, against Cincinnati. First draw at the UofL Lacrosse Stadium is set for 5 p.m.