Nikki Boltja, one of nine seniors on this year's squad, ranks second nationally in goals with 52.
April 16, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The University of Louisville women's lacrosse team, sitting atop the BIG EAST standings as the lone undefeated squad in league play, plays host to a pair of conference opponents in a week crucial to the regular-season standings and postseason play.
On Thursday, 18th-ranked Louisville faces Connecticut, which is in a tie for second in the BIG EAST, at 4 p.m. ET at the UofL Lacrosse Stadium. The Cardinals then play Rutgers on Senior Day on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Louisville will honor its nine seniors - Nikki Boltja, Hillary Bushway, Kelsey Garraty, Leslee Hefner, Ashley Herbst, Monica Negron, Colleen O'Malley, Amy Poteet, and Jamie Redding - prior to the game against the Scarlet Knights. The group already has compiled 34 victories, including three 10-win seasons, and four victories over top-20 ranked opponents.
Louisville defeated Temple and Villanova last week, helping the squad matched a program best six-game winning streak and improve to 10-3 overall, 4-0 in league action. On Tuesday, Boltja was named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week, and Stephanie McNamara earned defensive player of the week accolades.
Between the two games, Boltja combined for 13 points, including eight against Villanova. She moved into a tie for second all-time on the school's career chart with 174 goals. The Medina, Ohio, native ranks first in the league in goals per game (4.00) and points per game (5.23) and No. 2 nationally in goals (52) and goals per game. Her 68 points are fifth best in the country.
Statistically, Louisville ranks No. 1 in every category in the BIG EAST, while holding top-20 rankings in four major categories: draw controls per game (No. 1, 16.92), scoring offense (No. 6, 15.08 goals per game), scoring margin (No. 12, +6.46), and points (No. 19, 267).
Connecticut heads into Thursday's contest with an 8-5 record, including a 3-1 league mark. The Huskies, who have won seven of their last eight, rank second in the league in points, caused turnovers, and scoring margin, and boast the No. 37 national ranking with 8.54 caused turnovers per game.
The Huskies fell to Georgetown 11-10 and then beat Marquette 11-10 last week. Katherine Finkleston combined for nine goals in the two games, with four coming against Georgetown.
For the year, Lauren Khan leads the team with 48 points behind 27 goals and 21 assists. Khan also has been the most active defensively, boasting 32 caused turnovers. Finkleston has a team-best 36 goals, and Kacey Pippitt is first on the squad with 44 draw controls. Defensively, Shannon Nee owns an 8-5 record in goal and has made 86 saves.
Rutgers, which faces Cincinnati on Thursday, holds a 7-7 overall record.
The Scarlet Knights dropped to 1-3 in the BIG EAST after falling 15-10 to Georgetown on Sunday. Lauren Sbrilli had a game-best five goals in the loss, and Kim Kolodny added two scores. Hollie DiMuro anchored Rutgers' defense, totaling four caused turnovers and three ground balls. Georgetown finished with a 20-13 advantage in ground balls and 14-13 in draw controls.
Rutgers, which is holding opponents to 9.86 goals per game, is led by Sbrilli's 23 goals. The Scarlet Knights have utilized two goalkeepers this season, Amanda Currell and Candice Dandridge. Currell has played a majority of the time and holds a 9.62 goals-against average with 90 saves.
For the latest information on Louisville women's lacrosse, log on to GoCards.com, or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow the team's Twitter account at www.twitter.com/LouisvilleLax or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UofLLacrosse.