No. 2 Syracuse Downs Louisville for 11th Straight Victory

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville showed poise in the second half despite its youth against second-ranked Syracuse, but the Cardinals were unable to overcome a slow start and fell to the Orange, 16-9, on Friday evening at the U of L Lacrosse Stadium.

Despite being down by six at halftime, the Cardinals (3-11, 1-6 Big East) surged in the second period and hung with fourth-best scoring offense in the country. Sophomore Nikki Boltja and freshman Faye Brust combined to score eight of Louisville's nine goals in the final period, with the other goal coming from Colleen O'Malley. The Cardinals won the ground ball (10-9) and draw control (10-8) battles in addition to being outscored by just one goal, 9-8, in the final period.

“Despite the loss, I am very proud of this team,” head coach Kellie Young said. “Down 7-1 at the half, our youth chose to keep fighting and came out on fire. The 9-8 second half is sign of who we are and who we will become. We were not intimidated by playing the No. 2 team, and we embraced it as another chance to learn.”

Syracuse (12-2, 5-0) began the final 30 minutes of action with a score three minutes into the period. Boltja, though, netted two of the game's next three goals to cut the deficit to six, 9-3. The Orange responded with three-straight scores to increase their lead to nine.

In less than two minutes of action, Faye Brust scored goals nine and 10 on the season – both unassisted – to stop Syracuse's momentum. Boltja tacked on a goal three minutes later and, although Louisville scored three of the game's final four goals, the first-half deficit proved too much to overcome.

“Nikki was a force on the field,” Young said. “She found a way to score while being face guarded, a sign that she will not be stopped.”

Brust scored the game's opening goal at the 26:18 mark, and the Louisville defense kept the Orange off the scoreboard for the first nine minutes of the game. Janaye Dzikewich had a team-best two ground balls in the first half, while leading the defense to force five Syracuse turnovers.

At the 21:21 mark, Syracuse turned the tables and went on a 7-0 run to close the half. The Orange's Sarah Holden tied the game at one apiece, and then Becca Block and Michelle Tumolo combined to score three goals over the next three minutes of play. Syracuse's final three goals of the half all came within the final 10 minutes of the period.

Collectively, Syracuse won the ground ball (17-14) and draw control (14-13) battles and went 15 for 15 in clear opportunities.

Danielle Pawliw played 49 minutes in goal for the Cardinals and made a game-high 10 saves. Dzikewich finished with a game-high six ground balls, and defender Monica Negron tied a game-high with three caused turnovers. Freshman Casey Pepperman won a team-high five draw controls.

“Danielle gave us a strong performance in the cage today,” Young continued. “She made some beautiful saves and kept finding a way to make the stops.”

The Cardinals conclude the regular season on Sunday, April 22, at home against Connecticut. First draw is set for 11:00 a.m. at the U of L Lacrosse Stadium, and prior to the game, Louisville will honor the career of Eleni Kozas on “Senior Day.”

* * * *

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Junior Becca Block (Stratham, N.H.) recorded her first career hat trick to lead No. 2 Syracuse to a 16-9 victory at Louisville (3-11, 1-6) on Friday, April 20. With the victory, the Orange (12-2, 5-0) extended its winning streak to 11 and remained unbeaten in Big East play.

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