LAX HAS ALLOWED JUST TEN GOALS AGAINST TWO TOP 25 TEAMS SO FAR THIS YEAR.
There is an old, tongue-in-cheek adage about the way to win athletic events. You either outscore your opponent or hold them to less points than you. If you need more of an explanation on this, I just don't know how much more I can help you...
The Louisville Lacrosse squad has come out and played shut-the-door defense in the squad's first two games this season -- allowing #9 Denver just five goals in a heart-breaking 5-4 loss, and limiting #24 Colorado to five goals in a resounding and convincing 12-5 win. The effort has moved Louisville into #24 in the IWLCA rankings. Does it make a statement about how good the Cards are defensively, or a statement about how over-rated a few of the west coast schools are this season?
One thing that points to an improved Cardinals defense is the play of Sara Addeche at goalkeeper.. She's recorded 21 saves in just two games this season and it's interesting to note that Denver came back after the low-scoring win over Louisville to put up 12 goals against Vanderbilt next time out.
A good defense doesn't begin and end with the goalkeeper, obviously, and the Cards have gotten some great defensive play from Maggie Foster, Sydney Kirchenheiter, Ava Coyle, and Olivia Toll.
Looking at the ACC some of the numbers for the Cards competition there reveal some interesting items. The cumulative conference record is 11-1 so far, with (you guessed it) Louisville recording the only loss. It's too early for a lacrosse top 25 to come out yet, but with ten ACC teams playing lacrosse now, one would have to put at least five schools, in my opinion in that top 25. USA Lacrosse puts six ACC schools in their top 20 (UNC, BC, Syracuse, Duke, Virginia and Notre Dame) and Louisville got consideration votes.
Ask Scott Teeter. He'll tell you that the defense (and Addeche) carried the Cards against Colorado and played excellently all game long against Denver.
On the offensive side of things, a vet (Nicole Perroni) and a sophomore (Izzy Seikel) are leading the way in scoring with four goals each. Other top efforts have also come from newcomer freshman Negal Nakazawa (Kokoro's younger sister), grad student Hannah Morris and sophomore Lauren Figas. It's good to see the younger players making a sizable impact on the team's fortunes. It shows, if anything, that the recruiting is having a favorable impact on the squad's abilities and now that the roster is at full, the number of impact players has the potential to become larger and larger
Yes, the conference still looks tough as ever and newcomer Clemson put up 23 goals in their most recent outing against Wofford. while allowing just one.
Lindenwood comes to the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium Sunday for the WLAX Cards third match of the season. All they did last year was win DII women's lacrosse. They moved up to DI and they're 1-1 in DI this season, with a season opening loss to California 17-9 and a win over Central Michigan 17-15. We'll get more into then as the game gets closer.
Over the years, and especially in the Teeter rebuild years, we've seen a huge effort by Scott and his coaches to build trust, unity and a feeling of team and shared goals. Things that were sorely needed when he came to town. He warned me back then that it wouldn't come overnight. The thing is, the team has gotten better at it each year since he's been here. It's no small feat to accomplish all that in the best women's lacrosse conference in Division I. But, it's getting there. Going into the 2018 season, you had to wonder if the program could recover...but, recover it has and showing steady improvement..
In summing up the defense, it might be best to wait and see how the squad performs against the ACC schools before placing a lot of crowns on their heads. If Lax can hold traditional conference powerhouses like UNC, BC, Syracuse and Virginia to less than double digit scoring, let's go ahead and confirm the earlier observations....this Cardinals defense is pretty good.
Here at Cardinal Couple, we certainly hope the Cards defensive excellence can continue as the season goes on. Another old saying is that..."offense fills the seats but defense wins games". I've got a feeling the UofL women's lacrosse coaching staff just might agree with that so far this season, and it'll be fun to see how they've progressed in putting the ball in the net by the time they've reached the midseason mark.
(SOME JARED ANDERSON PHOTOS USED HERE)