By Matt Bradshaw —
It takes dedication to stay positive amidst a string of tough losses. Lacrosse embodied such dedication and more with a huge margin of victory in its home opener.
Louisville (1-3) broke an 11-game losing streak with a 20-2 romp over visiting Mercer (0-3). The Cardinals dropped eight games to end 2018 and three games to start 2019. They turned that momentum around with a week’s prepration of hard work.
“It was a great way to finish a great week of practice,” head coach Scott Teeter said. “It was a tough week of practice, but it was a great week of practice. The girls came out ready to play and played hard for 60 minutes.”
Last season, Mercer grabbed an early 7-1 lead before the Cards came back for a 21-14 win. This time around, Louisville held a 14-0 advantage at halftime following 30 minutes of goal after goal.
Leading the way were senior Tessa Chad and sophomore Shayla Scanlan, scoring five goals each.
“They were on fire,” Teeter said. “They’re tough. They can be an excellent tandem inside. They both use their size well and they have unbelievable hands.”
Attacker Chad leads the team with 12 goals this season. She notched four in the first half under a sizable crowd at U of L Lacrosse Stadium.
“A lot of our parents came out to cheer us on,” Chad said. “We take a special honor in playing on our own field, protecting our own field.”
Attacker Scanlan, who scored five goals overall as a freshman, matched that total in one outing against the Bears. The sophomore has plenty of room to continue thriving, with a knack for scoring and keen vision on the field.
“Shayla’s got excellent hands,” Teeter said. “She was finding herself in the right spots and we were finding her when she was open. When she gets inside, there isn’t any goalie that can stop her.”
Also producing for the Cardinals was sophomore Caroline Blalock, who recorded a hat trick and a team-high three assists. Sophomores Ally Hall and Alex McNicholas scored two goals each.
The 18-goal gap from Mercer, marking Louisville’s largest margin of victory in five years, provided ample opportunities for playing time across the board.
“When we get to empty our bench and play everyone, it’s good to reward the players that work hard in practice and give them an opportunity to go out there and show their talent,” Teeter said.
Up next, Louisville hosts Vanderbilt on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 1 p.m. The Commodores are 3-0 to start the season.
“Vanderbilt is playing really well,” Teeter said. “I told the girls postgame, ‘Enjoy this feeling.’ This is the feeling they wanted in the locker room. They’re happy, they’re excited, they’re dancing around. They need to remember that feeling, but also, remember the work they put in to get that feeling.”
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Photos by Matt Bradshaw / The Louisville Cardinal