Feb. 12, 2013
By Emily Ryan for GoCards.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The University of Louisville women's lacrosse team entered the spring season with an experienced defensive lineup, ranking in the top 20 last year for caused turnovers. Behind a strong defensive performance in its season opener, Louisville's back line, led by its veterans, held Canisius to just three goals.
Headlined by returning starters and co-captains Janaye Dzikewich and Monica Negron, this group also includes Kelsey Garraty and Leslee Hefner.
Dzikewich returns for her final season after helping shape the Cardinal defense since the inaugural season in 2008. In 2012, she recorded 35 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers, ranking second on the team for both. Her season high ground balls (six) and caused turnovers (four) were totaled against BIG EAST challengers Syracuse and Rutgers, respectively. Dzikewich also tallied two goals for the Cardinals last season. Through extreme efforts for the team, Dzikewich was named MVP for the 2012 season.
Back for her third year, Negron finished her 2012 campaign ranked 16th nationally in caused turnovers per game (1.8) and 34th in ground balls per game (2.4). Helping out in the midfield and on attack, Negron has shown strength in the circle with 40 draw controls last season and proven herself on the attack with five goals and one assist. Negron, who earned Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association all-West/Midwest region honors as a freshman and sophomore, became the first Cardinal to achieve the feat in their first two seasons.
Also in the defensive line up, Hefner, a junior, ended last season with 17 ground balls and four caused turnovers. A classmate, Garraty tallied six ground balls, four caused turnovers and one goal. Throughout the fall 2012 season, Hefner and Garraty displayed outstanding leadership qualities to incoming defenders.
Although a veteran to the team, junior Hillary Bushway is new to the Cardinal defensive line. Her speed and hustle on the field have earned her the right to run the midfield now and cross over into the defensive end. In her sophomore season, Bushway totaled five caused turnovers as well as five draw controls.
Now a sophomore, Carissa Corbett had a standout fall season after recording five ground balls and three caused turnovers last spring.
New to the Cardinal defense, Blair Bernhardt and Courtney Boyd are learning the ropes from the returnees and are expected to bolster the rotation.
Bernhardt was recognized at the state level, earning honorable mention accolades in the lacrosse-dominated state of Maryland. She is expected bring work ethic and enthusiasm after winning best sprit and sportsmanship her senior year of high school.
Boyd was a three-time all-conference player, all-county honorable mention and MVP of her high school squad her senior year.
Behind a rigorous work ethic, veteran leadership and talented underclassmen, the Cardinals' defense is sure to build on last season's accomplishments and give opposing offenses continuous fits.