No. 8 Vanderbilt Escapes with Two-Goal Win vs. Louisville

NASHVILLE - Sophomore Katie Mastropieri scored five goals to lead eighth-ranked Vanderbilt team to a 14-12 win over Louisville Wednesday at the VU Lacrosse Complex.

The Commodore scored the first three goals in less than three minutes and would lead for the entirety of the game, though Louisville never let the game get out of hand. The Dores led by between two and four goals for the majority of the game, with the Cardinals getting with one at 8-7 early in the second half.

"We knew Louisville would come in well-prepared, and we knew they were going to be extremely aggressive," VU Head Coach Cathy Swezey said. "We have to continue to work on getting the draw controls, but with the number of legs we were playing I think we had a good game plan coming in. Even though I would have liked to see our defense play a little better, I thought our attack produced above what they have the last few games."

The Dores held an 8-4 lead at the 10:30 mark of the first half before two goals from Louisville's Nikki Boltja brought the Cardinals within two at halftime. Boltja finished the game with six goals, including three in the second half. But Mastropieri tallied four times in the final 26 minutes to keep the Commodores on top.

"That's a great game for Katie," Swezey added. "I'm really pleased for her to have that kind of scoring production. She's a fabulous shooter, so I'm not too surprised."

Four Commodores scored multiple goals in the game, including a hat-trick for senior Kendall PIttinger. Seniors Kacie Connors and All-American Ally Carey had two goals apiece. Carey also led the Commodores with four draw controls and had two caused turnovers shortly after lost draws. Senior Natalie Wills made five saves to earn her fourth win of the season.

The Commodores open American Lacrosse Conference play this weekend when No. 11 Penn State visits the VU Lacrosse Complex for a 1:00 p.m. CT match.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Sophomore Nikki Boltja scored a game-high six goals, but a rally by University of Louisville fell short at eighth-ranked Vanderbilt in a 14-12 setback Wednesday afternoon at Vanderbilt Soccer/Lacrosse Complex in Nashville, Tenn.

Vanderbilt (5-1) led 8-4 with 10:30 left to play in the first half before Boltja swung momentum back in Louisville's favor, netting consecutive goals in less than a minute span to cut the Cardinals' deficit to two.

Less than 90 seconds into the first half, Boltja picked up where she left off, scoring her third unassisted goal of the game at the 28:35 mark in the second period. Vanderbilt, however, countered with two scores, both from Katie Mastropieri, to give itself a two-goal lead.

The Cardinals' offense remained aggressive, though, and scored three of the next five goals. Boltja tallied her fifth goal of the game on a pass from Hillary Bushway, and then Jamie Redding and Boltja sandwiched two Vanderbilt goals to keep the Cardinals within two. Faye Brust and Eleni Kozas added one goal apiece in the final seven minutes of the game, but Vanderbilt's late scores ultimately staved off the comeback.

“We just played the No. 8 team in the country to a two-goal game,” head coach Kellie Young said. “We can no longer say we are young. We are playing with the best. Our first years and sophomores are competing with All-American juniors and seniors. It's time we realize how good we can be; we need to become better students of the game and go into attack mode.”

Louisville (2-4) got off to a slow start in the first half as the Commodores netted three unanswered goals to open the game. Boltja and Redding scored to stop the run, but Vanderbilt scored in between Louisville's tallies and the Commodores then tacked on goals at the 22:02 and 19:21 marks.

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