Cards top Rutgers in Big East semis
In its first Big East Tournament since 2008, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team was defeated by No. 17 Louisville yesterday in Washington, D.C., 17-6.
The Scarlet Knights (9-9, 3-4) had no answers for the Cardinals (14-3, 7-0) all game and finished the season with a 9-9 record in their final season in the Big East.
Louisville controlled the game from the beginning, scoring six goals in the first 10 minutes of the contest. The Knights never recovered from the Cardinals’ run early in the game, and the score was 13-2 by halftime.
The Knights came out loose in the second half and were able to set up their offense more effectively. They cut the score to 15-5 after sophomore midfielder Chrissy Schreiber scored at 14:29 in the second half.
But Louisville answered, much like it did all game.
For the Cardinals, their top players put on an offensive display.
Big East Attacker of the Year Nikki Boltja totaled eight points off of five goals and dished three assists, while Big East Midfielder of the Year Kaylin Morissette scored a game-high seven goals.
Morissette’s biggest contribution was on the draw as she collected 12 draw controls.
The draw control was one of the biggest areas of focus for the Knights, but the team combined for only five on the game for Rutgers’ second-lowest total on the season.
Louisville totaled 20 draw controls as a team and also had clear advantages in shots (29-16) and ground balls (11-5).
The Cardinals ability to win the draw allowed them to dominate possession and control the game from the moment it started.
Rutgers never had the opportunities it needed to make a run and get back into the contest.
“It was really because they constantly had the ball from winning on the draw,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “We were just sitting back in the first half and waiting to see what they would do, and that along with not getting the draw didn’t result in a lot of success.”
Sophomore midfielder Chrissy Schreiber and sophomore attacker Kim Kolodny led the Knights with two goals apiece, while senior attacker Megan Clements added a goal and two assists.
The Knights defense allowed its third-highest goal total of the season with 17. Rutgers was constantly defending as Louisville maintained its high-tempo offense for the duration of the game.
“They’re just a really talented team,” said senior defender Chelsea Intrabartola. “They have really great shooters and once they got inside on us and got a chance to shoot it, they are most likely going to finish, and we just had some trouble stopping them from getting inside.”
When Rutgers played Louisville on April 19 in Kentucky, the result was similar.
The Cardinals won, 18-6, while dominating the Knights in every facet of the game. Although Rutgers was focused on avenging its previous loss, the Cardinals were simply too much to handle.
Despite the disappointing end to the season, the Knights had a successful year overall.
In what was its final year in the Big East, Rutgers fulfilled its main goal of making the Big East Tournament.
“The season had its up and downs, but I’m so proud of the seniors and I’m upset that they’re leaving, so it was a great season overall,” Kolodny said.
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