March 27, 2012

Louisville Rolls to Easy Big East Win over Cincinnati

from press release

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Behind a strong first half on both sides of the ball, the University of Louisville women's lacrosse team rolled to an 18-7 victory over BIG EAST foe Cincinnati on Tuesday evening at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Courtesy of four goals within the first seven minutes of the game, Louisville (3-6, 1-1 BIG EAST) jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead. Nikki Boltja, Faye Brust and Casey Pepperman all scored unassisted goals, and Colleen O'Malley netted her sixth goal of the year on a pass from Cat Gordon.

Cincinnati's Megan Bell momentarily stopped the run with her 12th goal of the year, but the Cardinals were able to tack on five-straight goals, closing the half on a 10-1 run.

Boltja and Eleni Kozas each netted hat tricks by halftime to put Louisville ahead, 13-2. Louisville's defense limited Cincinnati to just five shots while forcing nine turnovers.

"This first half was one of our strongest we have played in five years," head coach Kellie Young said. "We showed great team play, beautiful transition and stingy defense. I'm so proud of this squad, and we are getting better with each day."

Cincinnati (3-6, 0-1) was only able to match Louisville's scoring output in the second half, as both tallied five goals.

Boltja finished the game with four goals, giving her 36 for the year, while maintaining her four goals per game average that ranks second nationally. Kozas had just as much of an influence offensively, finishing with three goals and career bests in assists (2) and points (5).

Pepperman, Gordon, Jamie Redding and Monica Negron, who had a team-high five draw controls and a game-best four caused turnovers, each scored in the final period. Negron also was one of three players to finish with three ground balls.

In goal, Danielle Pawliw improved to 3-5 after holding the Bearcats to just two goals in the opening period. Ashley Herbst came in for relief in the second and made two saves.

Collectively, Louisville outshot Cincinnati, 33-18, won the ground ball battle, 19-11. Cincinnati, the top-ranked draw control team nationally, edged Louisville by one in that category, 14-13.

The Cardinals return to Louisville for a two-game homestand, beginning with Loyola (Md.) on April 5. First draw at the U of L Lacrosse Stadium is set for noon.


- Louisville's 10 turnovers are a season low.

- Eleni Kozas career best in assists (2) and points (5).

- Louisville improves to 34-2 all-time when holding opponent to less than 10 goals.

- The last time Louisville scored at least 13 goals in a half against a league opponent was last year, when the Cardinals posted 13 in the opening against Cincinnati on March 27, 2011.

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