LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- For nearly 30 minutes, the Vanderbilt lacrosse team had a leg up on the 10th-ranked team in the country.
The Commodores drew first blood and every time the Cardinals responded, Vanderbilt answered right back. In fact, the 'Dores didn't trail the entire half until the last 14 seconds.
But the second half was a different story. Playing their fifth ranked team in as many games, Vanderbilt couldn't keep pace with No. 10 Louisville and suffered a 16-9 loss on Wednesday afternoon.
Sophomore attacker Caroline Peters tied a career high with three goals and one assist but it wasn't enough as Vanderbilt suffered its fifth straight loss. The team mustered only two goals and six shots in the second half. It was a far cry from the first half in which the Commodores scored seven goals, notched the opening goal 39 seconds in and held a two-goal lead twice.
The Cardinals outscored Vanderbilt 8-2 after intermission and controlled the draw 8-3. Louisville midfielder Kaylin Morissette, who entered the game second in the country in draws per game, dominated the circle with 13 draw controls.
""We did our best to prepare for Morissette and her ability to control the draw, and we felt we did a great job in the first half," Vanderbilt coach Cathy Swezey said. "Unfortunately in the second half, she found her rhythm and it seemed to change the tone of the game. Our offense does need to be more consistent as this is the second game where we've only had two goals in a half."
The Cardinals (6-2) scored four of the first five goals after halftime to take a four-goal lead. Vanderbilt answered right back to pull within three with more than 18 minutes remaining. But that would be the last goal for the Commodores (3-5) as Louisville ended the game on a 4-0 run.
Freshman Kayla Peterson, the reigning BIG EAST Rookie of the Week who made her first career start, gave Vanderbilt an early 1-0 lead just 39 seconds in on a quick stick goal thanks to an assist from Jill Doherty. After Louisville tied it up, Peters and Alexa Kunowsky scored goals a minute apart for a 3-1 lead. Louisville once again knotted the game, but Vanderbilt pushed it to a two-goal lead thanks to goals by Emma Dagres and Mallory Schonk.
The Cardinals responded with two as well, but Peters scored on an assist from Amanda Lockwood for a 7-6 lead with 4:41 remaining. That would be the last lead for the Commodores. Kaylin Morissette scored one of her game-high five goals a minute later. Then, after Vanderbilt turnover, Faye Brust fired in a goal for an 8-7 Louisville lead with 14 seconds before halftime.
"We had a pretty amazing first half - both defense and offense," Peters said. "We really played as a team and did very well. Our shots were on. Our defensive stands were killing it and our transition was great. We just need to come out next time and finish it."
In addition to Peters' three goals, Schonk had two goals and two assists and Kunowsky added a pair of goals. Kayla Peterson and Dagres each had a goal and Doherty and Lockwood dished out assists.
Louisville took advantage of an edge in possession. The Cardinals won the draw control battle 19-8. She entered second in the country with 10.71 per game. As a result, Louisville had 35 shots compared to just 18 for Vanderbilt. Morissette and Cortnee Daley each had five goals for U of L. The Cardinals also turned it over just seven times. Vanderbilt was whistled for 41 fouls. Twenty-four came in the first half -- more than Louisville had for the entire game (22).
Sophomore goalkeeper Callahan Kent made her fifth start of the season and kept the Commodores in the game with 10 saves, including six in the first half.
Up next for Vanderbilt is another ranked foe, No. 6 Florida. The Commodores host the Gators at noon on Sunday in a game that will be broadcast on SEC Network +. Vanderbilt sophomore Max Herz will be on the call, while former Commodore and All-ALC attacker Abby Wheeler will serve as the color commentator.