LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The eighth-ranked University of Louisville field hockey team defeated No. 6 Northwestern 2-0 Sunday afternoon at Trager Stadium. Junior Nicole Woods and sophomore Taylor Stone registered a goal apiece and sophomore Ayeisha McFerran had two saves as the Cardinals posted their sixth shutout of the season.
Louisville (11-3) opened the scoring in the eighth minute of the game. Freshman Bethany Russ moved the ball past the 25 yard line and directed a pass into Louisville's offensive circle where Woods deflected the shot into the cage past Northwestern goalkeeper Lindsay von der Luft for her third goal of the season.
The Cardinals took the 1-0 lead into the break after Northwestern held a 4-3 edge in shots and a 2-0 advantage in penalty corners.
Louisville attacked early in the second half, firing off three shots and earning a corner in the first 15 minutes of the period. Von der Luft turned back two of those shots and the other hit the post to keep the score at 1-0.
Midway through the second half, the Cards capitalized on the second of their two corners in the contest. Senior Stephanie Byrne got the corner started and junior Marigrace Ragsdale provided the stop for sophomore Taylor Stone who notched her fourth goal of the season to put Louisville up 2-0 at the 54:03 mark in the game.
The Wildcats (10-4) appeared to pull within a goal six minutes later when Dominique Masters sent the ball toward the cage and Pescale Massey deflected it into the cage, but the goal was disallowed due to a dangerous hit.
We recognized Ayeisha McFerran and Victoria Stratton, newest All-Americans to our Field Hockey program with an honorary passback and banner! pic.twitter.com/oXMDLMHRSg— Louisville FH (@ULFieldHockey) October 9, 2016
With 5:27 remaining in the game, Northwestern pulled von der Luft out of the cage in favor of an extra field player and increased its attack in their offensive circle, but the Cardinals defense held the Wildcats at bay for the 2-0 win.
In the game, Louisville outshot Northwestern 9-4 while the Wildcats held a 3-2 edge in corners. McFerran (10-3) had two saves in her fifth shutout of the season. Von der Luft (10-4) had four saves.
"After Friday night's performance, we really wanted to get back to our identity and the way we play hockey," Louisville coach Justine Sowry said. "We had to take a look at our press and our big message was 'do your job'… defensively we did that much better and with the ball, we had to get back to how we play hockey, and that's to pass the ball and have that 360 degree support. And we were able to do that. I thought Northwestern came back and started to control it a little bit in the second half, but credit to our defense for holding strong."