By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/5/08
Bergan Foley thought she’d like to get involved in something new when she decided to leave the Philadelphia area and accept a partial scholarship to play for a brand new program at Division I Louisville.
But even the freshman attacker from Gwynedd Mercy Academy admits she never envisioned getting off to a start like this: After three games, Foley has a team-high 14 goals and Louisville is a perfect 3-0.
In Louisville’s historic opener Feb. 22, Foley tallied four goals and two assists as the host Cards rocked Division II Bryant University, 21-3, before 727 people in cold and rainy weather. Two days later, Foley erupted for six goals in a 21-8 rout of visiting Manhattan.
Then, on Sunday at Louisville Foley added four more tallies in a 19-3 blitzing of Robert Morris. Can you believe it?
“No,” she said in a phone interview. “When I first came here, I didn’t know what to expect. But in Fall Ball, we beat top established teams that have been around. I don’t think anyone in the lacrosse world expected us to make these accomplishments – even our coach (Kellie Young) wasn’t expecting it.
“Now, coach says we keep raising the bar more and more. We’re making such progress and getting better and better.”
Foley, who scored 247 goals at Gwynedd Mercy and soon is coming home to play five games in the Philadelphia area, said she came to the Kentucky school most known for football and basketball for several reasons. The main ones were the coaching staff and the way the school embraced the coming of a new program.
“Originally, I wanted to stay close to home, but when I came here, I loved everything about it,” said Foley, who also considered Richmond, Georgetown and Penn State and is a business major. “The coaching staff is probably one of best in the country.”
Young coached four years at James Madison and is considered one of the top up-and-coming coaches in Division I.
“It clicked right away,” Foley said. “Everybody gets along so well in the community and everyone supports each other. They really make you feel welcome whether you’re an athlete or not.
“At a lot of schools, I could tell the main focus was men’s basketball and football. Here, everyone is treated equally. And they have put so much into the lacrosse program.”
The hard work apparently has paid off for the Cardinals, who move into the Big East next year. This year, most figured they’d struggle, but Foley said the team came together immediately.
“Everyone has improved so much from the fall,” she said. “For me, I have improved my tempo, my shots…honestly, I don’t really keep track of how much I am scoring. I didn’t expect this. I’m really happy with the way everything is going, and we have like eight girls scoring a lot.
Foley said she’ll never forget the first game – despite the fact the weather was miserable.
“It was awesome,” she said. “We had fireworks, cheerleaders, a dance team, smoke coming on the field, and about 800 fans. It was terrible weather – it was snowy and freezing, and people still came out.”
How good is Louisville? Or better yet, the queston is, “How good can the Cards be?”
“I think a couple weeks ago, LaxPower did a poll, ‘How long do you think Louisville will take to be ranked in the Top 20?’ Foley said. “Forty or 50 percent said within the next two years.
“With the progress we are making, if we keep getting better, we all want the wild card spot in the NCAAs. What first-year program is able to be ranked in the Top 20 and makes the NCAAs? It would be amazing.”
The early-season success makes this week’s homecoming even more special for Foley. The Cards begin a six-game, 15-day road trip mostly to Philadelphia and the surrounding area Friday when they play at St. Joseph’s at noon.
They play at La Salle Sunday and at Lafayette Tuesday, at Rutgers on March 14, at Villanova on March 16 and then they wrap up the trip March 21 at Virginia Tech.
The Cards return home March 30 to host No. 9 Georgetown.
“I am really excited because people around home get to watch me,” she said. “I’ll get to play against some girls from around Philadelphia. I am excited to be playing in my home town.”