By Matt Bradshaw —

Lacrosse started 2019 with three straight losses at No. 7 Northwestern, Marquette and No. 19 Denver. The program has never started a season 0-3, but records don’t always speak to the hard work student athletes put in to compete.

On the three-game road trip, the Cardinals held their own against tough teams in unfamiliar environments. Scott Teeter is guiding a young squad in his second year as head coach, and battling with ranked schools is an achievement in and of itself.

Louisville lost 21-11 to Northwestern in the season opener. The Cardinals were outplayed for much of the match, though they outscored the home team 7-6 in the second half.

“Northwestern is a great team and they exploited our youthfulness a bit,” Teeter said. “We did some positive things, especially there in the second half, but we just need to work harder and avoid costly mistakes.”

The Wildcats outshot the visitors 36-20, and the Cards ended with more turnovers at 19. Senior Tessa Chad led the way with a hat trick. Sophomores Caroline Blalock, Sarah Blalock and Kayla Marshall scored two goals each.

Two days later, Louisville traveled north and fell 15-12 to Marquette. It was a match of scoring runs as the Golden Eagles continued pushing their lead, while the Cardinals fought back with resolve to keep it close.

“A great learning lesson for a young team,” Teeter said. “You can’t spot a team a five-goal lead in the first ten minutes of the game. We need to compete at the beginning of the game. I am proud of how we responded and tied it late in the first half. Then we got into card trouble.”

Chad notched another hat trick alongside sophomore Ally Hall. Caroline Blalock recorded a team-high four ground balls, sophomore Alex McNicholas a team-high four draw controls and junior Lexie Ball seven saves.

The Cardinals traveled again and lost 18-2 to Denver. The conditions were snowy and Louisville struggled as they trailed 11-0 at halftime.

Up next, Louisville lacrosse hosts its home opener against Mercer on Saturday, Feb. 23 at noon.

You can follow the Louisville Cardinal on Twitter @thecardsports.

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal