Tag Archives: Derek Brightwell

Photo by Austin Lassell

Lacrosse defeats Georgetown

By Derek Brightwell

The University of Louisville Lacrosse team opened up their Big East schedule with a 14-13 upset victory at No. 14 Georgetown on Saturday, improving their record to 7-3 on the season.

The Cardinals were led in goals by junior Faye Brust, who had five, three coming in the second half including the Cardinals final two goals. Her 34 goals on the year are just six less than her total from her first two seasons, with six games still remaining in the 2014 season.

The victory marks the first time in eight games that the Cardinals defeated the Hoyas and was the second win over a Top 20 opponent this season.

Senior Nikki Boltja increased her team high point total with three goals and two assists in the game, giving her 52 points on the year, 40 of which are goals.

One of the biggest keys for the Cardinals all year has been sophomore Kaylin Morissette’s draw control ability; she tied her own school single-game record 11 in the win over Saturday to put her season total at a school record 82.

Despite Georgetown (3-6, 0-1) only having the lead for a total of 15 seconds in the game, Louisville was never able to pull ahead comfortably until Brust gave them a three goal lead in the final 12 minutes that the Hoyas couldn’t overcome.

Louisville continues their five game road trip in Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats on Sunday, Arpril 6th. They’ll return to home to close out their season with three straight home games on April 17th against UConn.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Senior Nikki Boltja stepping up for Lacrosse team

By Derek Brightwell

Nikki Boltja could leave the University of Louisville as the school’s most decorated lacrosse player. As a junior, she was named a third-team All-American and a first team All-Region. She is a highly efficient scorer and electric on the field. So it may be a surprise to find that she is every bit as quiet off of the field as she is explosive on it.

Boltja started playing lacrosse in the seventh grade, which in Ohio is the youngest you can start playing it. In high school she was a standout at not only lacrosse but also cross-country and track. Her choice of lacrosse over those two came down to one simple fact.

“It’s more fun than running cross-country,” she said laughing.“ I just like lacrosse more than running.”

For Boltja, lacrosse is a family tradition. Her father, Tom Boltja, played lacrosse as well as her two sisters. That family support was vital for her starting out.

“It was really important. I could always play with my sisters or practice with my dad and he knew enough to teach me how to play. I played with my sisters in high school, so I always had someone to catch and throw with and learn how to play at home, away from practice.”

In her final year with the Cardinals, Boltja doesn’t feel the pressure that comes with being an All-American.

“I don’t think I expect anything different from myself,” she says with a smile.

An explosive offensive threat, tallying 22 goals and five assists in the team’s first five games, Boltja recognizes that offense alone doesn’t win championships.

“I mean, you get more attention if you score goals, but the caused turnovers and ground balls are what win us games,” Boltja said. “Anyone can score a goal.”

It is that kind of selfless mentality that strikes you when you talk with her. Her low-key mentality is perfectly embodied with her story of why she chose to play for the Cardinals.

“I didn’t know a lot about it,” she said, looking out over the Lacrosse Stadium. “But it’s close to where I live, so that kind of made the decision. But I’m glad I came here.”

She joins a program that’s still in its early years, but already is gaining national attention. Only seven years into its existence, the University of Louisville has already had two players named All-Americans, with Boltja being the second. Currently, the team ranks just outside of the Top 20.

“It’s important that we’re competing with those teams,” Boltja said of the team’s growth into a nationally recognized program. “We need to be one of those top teams if we want to go far in the tournament.”

The growth can be attributed to head coach Kellie Young, who has been at U of L for all seven years the program has existed.

“She’s constantly pushing all of us to get better so we never settle,” remarked Boltja of her only collegiate coach. “She always looks for areas we can improve and always gives feedback. So it’s good to have somebody constantly telling you how you can get better.”

Boltja and the Cardinals currently rank 8th nationally in points and are looking to continue their strong performance.


Lacrosse returns from weekend road trip 3-1

By Derek Brightwell

The Cards turned in a strong road performance at Old Dominion with a 15-12 win Friday and an 18-5 win at

William & Mary on Sunday, securing their first road victories of the season.

At Old Dominion the Cards relied on another strong performance from senior All-American Nikki Boltja. She

led an aggressive offensive attack for the Cards who had three different runs of scoring three or more unanswered


Boltja scored five goals on Friday and seven on Sunday, pushing her total to 20 on the season. But the Cards

maintained an offensive balance throughout the weekend with a total of six players scoring against Old Dominion

and William & Mary. Balance is key for Louisville moving ahead.

“A balanced offense is tough to beat,” head coach Kellie Young said. “Nikki was solid again and along with her

were huge efforts from Faye Brust and Courtnee Daley.”

Brust scored five times, giving her ten on the year and Daley’s three in each game put her at ten for the year.

The depth of the team has been a pleasant surprise for the coaching staff, with at least five different players

scoring in each of their first four games.

“Courtnee Daley has been a beast for us, so solid and consistent,” Young said of her sophomore midfielder. “Faye

Brust has found her game, impacting multiple areas of our game.”

This year the Cards schedule is overwhelmingly road-heavy, with only six of the 17 games coming at U of L.

“Travel makes us tougher,” Young remarked of the schedule. “A game like tonight at Old Dominion, when

we are playing a team in their home opener with tons of home field supporters in the stands brings great mental

toughness and a true effort in attacking the game play by play. As we get closer to post season, the experience on

the road will certainly help.”

One aspect of the game that the Cards have thrived at this year has been controlling the draw. Sunday’s win at

William & Mary was the third consecutive game in which they had 17 draw controls.

“Our draw possession has been consistent and possession of the ball drives the game,” said Young. “Having two

draw specialists has given the draw a different look for opponents to scout.”

The Cards are now 3-1 on the season; their next game is against Denver, March 1 at 1:00 pm.