March 30, 2011

Louisville Stifles, Upsets No. 13 Vanderbilt

from press release

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Just days ago, head coach Kellie Young was overwhelmed - and not in a good way - on the heels of her team's first conference victory of the year after what she believed to be an uninspiring performance.

At the conclusion of Wednesday's game, Young had the same reaction. This time, however, she was overwhelmed with elation when the final seconds ticked away and the No. 20-ranked University of Louisville women's lacrosse team had upset its highest ranked opponent in school history in 13th-ranked Vanderbilt, 12-6, at the U of L Lacrosse Stadium.

"Not even beating a ranked team, but beating Vanderbilt - a powerhouse program - is great," Young said. "For us to show the discipline we did and follow the game plan from top to bottom - I couldn't be prouder."

The Cardinals' offense, which has been the team's motor for nearly the entire season, came on strong toward the end of the game, but it was the defense that had the Commodores (6-5) in disarray. The backline not only held Vanderbilt to a mere six goals, which is tied for the lowest total this season, but the unit also only allowed Vanderbilt to rack up 13 shots, the lowest amount in 2011. Of the 13, a total of 10 were goal and four were stopped by goalkeeper Ashley Herbst.

Despite Vanderbilt scoring the game's first goal at the 24:07 mark, Louisville (8-1) responded with five-straight scores. Lianne Bobal tied the game at one apiece, and the Cardinals then received goals from Emily Dashiell, Liz Lovejoy, Katie Oliverio, and Sammy Allen, who found the back of the net with seven seconds remaining, to put Louisville ahead, 5-1, at the end of the first half.
 
The second period featured more offense, as Vanderbilt tried to sneak back into the contest, scoring three of the first four goals. Ally Carey's two goals, which sandwiched a Katherine Denkler score, brought Vanderbilt to within two, 6-4, with 21:36 remaining in the contest.

"We knew they were going to score goals, so we weren't rattled when they cut it down to 6-4," Young comments. "We just had to be focused on the attacking - when we were shooting and where were we shooting. We did. There's nothing else a coaching staff can do from the sideline but give the team the information and have them absorb it and execute it."

That was the closest the Commodores would get, as the Cardinals put together one of its many runs this season, notching four-straight goals. Lovejoy started the spurt on a goal at the 16:27 mark on a pass from Oliverio. Bergan Foley then showed why she was the nation's leading scorer in 2010, registering two unassisted scores with ease. Dashiell capped the run at the 12:16 mark to put Louisville up, 10-4.

Vanderbilt and Louisville traded two goals apiece, and the Cardinals held the Commodores scoreless for the final 8:44 of the game for the win.

"We had a game plan coming in and that was to take time off the clock, and make sure that we had more possession minutes than they did by the end of the game," Young says. "We knew that when they had the ball, they are a powerful offense and they can score. I think it rattled their attack a little bit, so when it got down to their end, they were forcing things a little bit, and our defense played solid.

"Even of their six goals, two of them were off free-position shots and you're going to have those. It was our team truly believing in the game plan and following it."

Lovejoy finished with game highs in goals (four) and points, while Allen had a strong all-around performance, finishing with one goal, one ground ball, three draw controls and a caused turnover. Meghan Ryan had a team-best four draw controls, tying a career high, and two caused turnovers.

For the game, Louisville finished with the advantage in ground balls (21-14) and draw controls (11-9) and forced Vanderbilt into 17 turnovers.

Herbst earned the win and improved to 8-1, while collecting a season-high four ground balls.

The Cardinals return to action on Sunday, April 3, against Ohio State, which is receiving votes in the coaches' poll. First draw at the U of L Lacrosse Stadium is set for 1 p.m. The contest has been tabbed as the `Friends of Jaclyn' game, and fans can donate to the foundation, which strives to improve the quality of life for children who have pediatric brain tumors.

Notes

With the Cardinals 12-6 victory, No. 13 Vanderbilt became the highest ranked opponent the Cardinals have beaten in program history. Previously, then-No. 16 Loyola (Md.) held the mark when the Cardinals took a 13-12 decision to advance to the BIG EAST Tournament in 2009.

Louisville expanded its double-digit scoring streak to 19-straight games. The Cardinals last failed to score at least 10 goals in a game at Notre Dame on March 27, 2010. The squad is 15-4 during that span.

Junior Meghan Ryan tied her career high with four draw controls. Previously, Ryan notched four against Georgetown during the 2010 season.

Freshman Ashley Herbst tied her season high with four ground balls, a mark also recorded against Oregon on March 4. Herbst went on to set the school record for fewest games to win eight decisions, needing just nine contests. Former goalies Jen Heup needed 12 games in 2008, while Danielle Pawliw needed 13 last season.


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