LOUISVILLE — Even after finishing with only five wins last season, Louisville believed it could build something special this season.
"We came in with high hopes," sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Vancil said.
Hopes have become realities for the No. 18 Cardinals, who have equaled last season's win total just five games into the season.
That they did it with a 2-0 win over Kentucky in front of a record crowd of 2,643 at Cardinal Park on Thursday night made it all the more special.
"This is an amazing feeling and it gets us all more confident," said Caitlin Rehder, who scored the first goal with 21 minutes to go in the game.
The second goal was a rebound shot by Angelika Uremovich.
Rehder, who called her goal "a big sigh of relief," said she was as surprised as anyone to score the game-winner, giving the Cards their first win over UK since 2006.
Her first surprise came just before her goal. She was waiting to hear a whistle in the box on a foul she saw in front of her.
She was even more shocked to find the ball at her feet with nothing between her and the goal but air.
"I was surprised that the opportunity was there in front of me, but I'm thankful I put it away," Rehder said.
It was the first miscue in an otherwise solid game for UK keeper Sydney Hiance, who recorded a career-high-tying 10 saves in the loss.
In the first half alone, the senior saved six shots, many at point-blank range.
Coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes kept wondering whether the Cardinals (5-0) were going to get one past Hiance.
"That goalkeeper was fantastic," the Louisville coach said. "She was absolutely spectacular."
But Ferguson-Dayes liked the way her team was playing, too.
"I thought if we kept persevering and getting after her, that eventually it would have to go in," Ferguson-Dayes said.
The coach was just as pleased with her own keeper, who on one sequence used nearly every part of her body to block three UK shots in less than 20 seconds.
"I actually said to my staff, 'Are there two of her in goal right now?'" Ferguson-Dayes said of Vancil.
Coach Jon Lipsitz was pleased with the Cats' performance in the first half, but he said they got away from the things they do best in the second half.
It was the second straight game Kentucky (3-2) failed to score.
"We just completely forgot about passing to teammates and we became an individual show," he said. "We tried to win the game on one pass and that's not who we are."
Louisville 2, Kentucky 0
Goals—Caitlin Rehder, Angelika Uremovich.
Goalkeepers—UK: Sydney Hiance; UL: Taylor Vancil.
Records—Kentucky 3-2, Louisville 5-0.