Gerding Lifts Undefeated Louisville Over Irish in OT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - University of Louisville senior Kelli Gerding was feeling a little under the weather heading into Saturday’s showdown against Notre Dame.
She left UofL Lacrosse Stadium on top of the world.
Gerding’s goal in the fourth minute of overtime lifted the 11th-ranked Cardinals to a 10-9 win over the fifth-ranked Fighting Irish in a battle of unbeatens and Atlantic Coast Conference co-leaders.
“Yesterday I had the stomach bug," said Gerding. "I was throwing up all night, but I’m okay now. I had nice big bowl of white rice, so I was good to go. You’ve got to step up in the game, when you’re playing Notre Dame, it’s no excuse not to play.”
And step up she did at the start of the second 3-minute period of the overtime, when she took a pass from Kaylin Morissette and streaked to the goal.
“I knew I was open and I got the ball and I didn’t even feel like it was really real, but I just went around my defender and shot and then it hit the back of the net, and I’ve never been happier,” Gerding said.
Notre Dame (5-1, 1-1), though, couldn’t have been happier with its start to the game. The Fighting Irish tallied two goals, one by Kiera McMullan and one by Nikki Ortega, in the first four minutes.
Louisville (7-0, 2-0), coming off an impressive 10-4 win over No. 10 Northwestern on Thursday, was undeterred. The Cardinals quickly tied it up with goals from Koloski and Morissette in the seventh and ninth minutes, respectively, in a matchup between two of the stingiest defenses in the country - Notre Dame entered fourth nationally (allowing only 4.8 goals per game), while Louisville was fifth (at 4.83).
The Fighting Irish took control midway through the first half with three goals - from Stephanie Toy, Cortney Furtunato and McMullan - in a 3-minute span to open up a 5-2 lead.
Louisville senior Cortnee Daley trimmed ND’s lead to two 2:01 before intermission, but McMullan answered 38 seconds later to cap off her hat trick and give the Fighting Irish a 6-3 lead.
Early in the second half Louisville began chipping away at Notre Dame’s advantage. Daley sandwiched goals around Fortunato’s second before Koloski netted her second to pull the Cards within one.
Grace Muller’s goal in the 51st minute gave Notre Dame breathing room, but only for a little while. That’s because 35 seconds later Koloski scored, then Morissette scored 12 seconds after that to tie it up at 8.
Louisville took its first lead on Koloski’s fourth goal - and third of the second half - with 3:02 to play.
The Cardinals appeared to have the game in hand before a late Louisville turnover led to Rachel Sexton’s game-tying goal with 64 seconds left.
That set the stage for Gerding’s heroics as UofL beat the Fighting Irish for just the second time in eight meetings.
“It’s a phenomenal win for us,” Cardinals coach Kellie Young said. “Notre Dame is such an incredible program. They’ve played so well this year, for us to have played Northwestern really 48 hours ago and come out and have the legs to execute like we did today, (I’m) really proud of this team. We just had a great win over a great program.”
The victory also continues the best start in program history for Louisville, which was picked to finish seventh in the ACC Women’s Lacrosse Preseason Poll.
“This is awesome,” Koloski, a junior attacker, said. “It shows what kind of team we are this year, I’m super-excited about it. It just shows how much we have in store for us this year, how different we are this year and how resilient we are. Games like this are going to prepare us for the future and with tougher teams to come.
“One of our mottos is, ‘Expecting to win every time you step on the field.’ This game there wasn’t a point where I thought that we were not going to win. Even when we were down, even at half, I was like, ‘We’re going to get back.’ I just had trust in every single one of my teammates and I knew we were going to come out with a win today, no matter what.”
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