By Dalton Ray–
The 11th-ranked Louisville lacrosse team defeated no. 10 Northwestern 10-4 March 3. The win is one of the biggest in school history and the first ever win over the seven-time national champions.
Julia Wood, Cortnee Daley, Kaylin Morisettee and Kelli Gerding led the Cardinal’s attack. Wood and Daley both had hat-tricks, and Morisettee scored twice giving her a team-high 15 on the year. Gerding added four assists. Goalkeeper Brittany Read had a career-high 13 saves.
With such a big win for the program, Louisville head coach Kellie Young was ecstatic after the match.
“This win is everything, the obstacle for Northwestern with us has just been our mindset and never talent,” Young said. “For this to not be a close game but a dominate win is such a powerful statement and shows how far we’ve come. I’m so proud of this team right now.”
The visiting Wildcats scored two of the first three goals in the first five minutes. After Wood’s goal at the 21:27 mark, Northwestern didn’t lead again. Wood scored a minute later and the Cards never looked back after the 3-2 lead. Louisville led 5-2 at the break.
To start the second half, Northwestern scored first again, but it was as close as they would get. Morisettee and Gerding scored in the 22nd and 21st minute to extend the lead. Seven minutes later, Morisettee found Wood and Daley 20 seconds apart to finish off the Wildcats. Heidi Smith sent in the final goal of the match, her second on the year.
The difference maker for the Cards was Read. She not only set a career-high for saves, but save percentage at 77 percent.
“She’s just steady, she doesn’t get rattled, doesn’t get emotional and reads things incredibly well,” Young said. “That calmness is what allows her to find the ball, the chaos in front of her doesn’t matter she just racks the ball. She’s such a big part of our success and we’re thrilled she’s a Cardinal.”
Senior attack Gerding had one of her best games of the year. She had a season-high four assists and found the back of the net in the second half. Her assist total on the year hit 12, one away from last year’s total of 13. Fellow senior midfielder Morisettee continues to show why she is one of the best in the nation as she dominated draw controls, scored twice and found two teammates for scores.
Louisville has now defeated back-to-back ranked opponents in Boston College and Northwestern. The tough stretch isn’t over yet as Louisville hosts fourth-ranked Notre Dame Saturday and travels to 14th-ranked Duke next Saturday.
“We’ll celebrate for about five minutes and then we’ll start breaking down Notre Dame,” Young said. “We’ll get the scouting report done tonight and give it out tomorrow after classes, this is a big win but now it’s on to Notre Dame. These games are just huge for us, last spring we didn’t get our first big win until later in the season. To beat two great programs like BC and Northwestern just gives us confidence.”
The Cardinals are 6-0, tying their best start since 2011. The 2 p.m. game Saturday against Notre Dame will be at U of L Lacrosse Stadium as they look to defeat the Irish for the second time. The game can also be watched on ESPN3.
File photo / The Louisville Cardinal