LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Nikki Boltja had a team-high five goals, including the Cardinals’ fourth unanswered goal to open the game, but the University of Louisville women’s lacrosse team was unable to sustain its scoring and dropped its season opener at No. 6 Duke 14-11 on Sunday in Durham, N.C.
Louisville (0-1) showed little hesitation in facing a top-10 team to begin its seventh season in school history. Not only did the Cardinals’ defense hold the Dukes, which scored 25 in its season opener, without a goal for the first seven minutes of the game, but they rallied a 4-0 run over a three-minute stretch.
Senior Colleen O’Malley registered her lone goal to begin the game, and Faye Brust and Cortnee Daley each added scores to push Louisville’s lead to three. Boltja capped the spurt at four with her first goal.
Kaylin Morissette and Monica Negron continued with one of their strengths from the 2013 campaign on the draw. Morissette won two of her game-high seven draw controls in that timeframe, while Negron secured one of her five during Louisville’s unanswered run.
The Blue Devils (2-0) responded with a goal from Sydney Peterson on a feed from Kerrin Maurer before Louisville’s Brust found the back of the net for her second time in the game.
Duke then showcased its scoring attack, recording the next six goals for a 7-5 lead. Over that time, Maurer recorded three goals and Peterson added her second of the game.
Boltja, Louisville’s leading scorer and All-American from a season ago, stepped in and stopped the run with her second score to bring the Cardinals within one at 7-6. Maurer, though, added one of Duke’s final two goals of the half to give the Blue Devils a 9-6 lead at the break.
The second half opened with Duke extending its lead, but the Cardinals answered with four of the game’s next five goals, including Brust’s contest-tying goal at 10 apiece. The junior connected on one of Louisville’s four free-position goals with 19:15 remaining. Anna Kopecka tallied her first Louisville goal on a free-position shot during the run.
Duke regained the lead with consecutive goals over a three-minute span for a 12-10 advantage. Boltja’s fifth goal cut the deficit to one at the 8:52 mark, but the Blue Devils secured the win by holding Louisville scoreless and adding to additional scores.
Louisville’s defense finished with nine caused turnovers, led by Leslee Hefner’s game-high three. She also registered four ground balls.
Duke’s goalkeeper, Kelsey Duryea, ranked in the top-10 nationally last year in save percentage and made 11 stops for the win.
Louisville returns to action with its home opener on Feb. 16. First draw against Detroit at the UofL Lacrosse Stadium is set for 1 p.m. ET.
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.