Feb. 24, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Entering the 2012 season, one of the questions surrounding the University of Louisville women's lacrosse team was who would lead the offense? The returnees accounted for just 17 percent of Louisville's goals from a year ago.
Sophomore Nikki Boltja entered her name as one of the potential candidates Friday, scoring a career-best seven goals to lead the Cardinals to a 19-8 victory over Longwood at the Athletics Complex in Farmville, Va.
A Medina, Ohio, native, Boltja scored 293 goals in her career at Medina High, tying the state of Ohio's record. With threats such as Bergan Foley and Liz Lovejoy gone, Boltja displayed her goal-scoring ability in the win, tallying a hat trick in the first period and adding four goals in the second. She accomplished the feat, which ties Foley for the second most in a single game, on just 13 shots while also collecting four ground balls and causing one turnover.
Louisville (1-1) found itself in a quick 2-0 hole just minutes into the game, but turned the tables and rattled off eight-straight goals from six different players. Sophomore Hillary Bushway began the run at the 22:49 mark, scoring one of her three goals in the game. Classmate Kelsey Garraty scored her first career goal, capping the run and putting Louisville ahead, 8-2. With two more scores, the Cardinals entered the break ahead, 10-5.
In the second period, Louisville's offense continued to push while the defense remained strong. Longwood (0-2) attempted only nine shots in the half and scored just three times. Goalie Danielle Pawliw, who earned the win the last time the two teams met, made two saves for the win to improve to 2-0 this season. Along with Boltja, Monica Negron and Colleen O'Malley each picked up four ground balls and Negron forced three caused turnovers. Freshman Casey Pepperman had another strong game, forcing a game-high four turnovers. She also won a game-best five draw controls.
Six players finished the contest with at least three ground balls, and 10 players had at least one caused turnover.
Freshmen Casey Pepperman and Emily Kolsevich tallied their first collegiate goals, giving Louisville 10 players with a goal in the victory.
For the game, Louisville finished with the advantage in free-position goals (5), draw controls (16), ground balls (30) and shots (41), while forcing 26 turnovers.
The Cardinals quickly return to action on Sunday, Feb. 26, facing Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va. First draw is set for noon at Powhatan Sports Complex.