SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo women's lacrosse team matched up well with their opponent on paper, but couldn't place their shots between the pipes as the Lions fell to Belmont Abbey by a final score of 16-5 on Friday evening at University Field. The Lions drop to 1-5 on the season, while Belmont Abbey advances its overall record to 3-2.
The Lions trailed the Crusaders by eight on the shot count, 29-21, but both teams came up even in the ground ball battle, pulling in 23 apiece. The Lions held Belmont Abbey to just a 48 percent success rate on clears while making good on 76 percent of their clear attempts, and both teams walked away from the evening with 24 turnovers apiece. The Crusaders came up big off the draw, winning 17-of-23.
The Lions made big strides in the midfield, with strong play from Joanna Chadwick and Andrea Kuhl who earned a team high four ground balls each. Midfielder Heather Hedrick grabbed two ground balls of her own and caused a turnover, while defender Cathryn Winslow earned a caused turnover and ground ball of her own.
In cage for Saint Leo, Brittany Millsap earned seven saves in 39 minutes between the pipes. Nicole Sirota-Plotnikov closed out the evening, setting aside one shot while allowing six in net. Their counterpart for Belmont Abbey, Tory Morgan, set aside nine shots while yielding five in a full 60 minutes.
Christina Minneci led Saint Leo on the goal count with two on the evening. Matching Minneci with two points was Alix Murray, with a goal and assist. Kasey Tanner and Alyssa Viscomi completed the Lions' scoring efforts with one goal each.
Belmont Abbey was led by Emily Hudgins with a hat trick and five assists for a game high eight points. A total of 10 different Crusaders contributed to the scoring efforts on the night.
Minneci scored the first goal of the game with 27:09 on the clock, but the remainder of the first half saw Saint Leo suffer a scoring drought as the Crusaders pulled ahead to a 6-1 advantage at the half.
The second stanza opened up with four more goals from Belmont Abbey in the first three minutes, setting the score at 10-1 with 27:02 remaining. Viscomi and Murray scored the next two for the Lions, but the Crusaders bounced back with three of their own to put the scoreboard at 13-3 with 16:33 to go. Despite their best efforts, Saint Leo found themselves outscored 3-2 in the final 15 minutes of play.
The Lions return to action on Wednesday, March 14, when they host Pfeiffer University. Game time against the Falcons is set for 11 a.m. at University Field. Fans will be able to catch all of the action live at saintleolions.com. For the latest news, updates, and information, be sure to follow the Lions on Facebook and Twitter.