NEWBERRY, SC – Claiming their fifth consecutive victory, the Saint Leo women's lacrosse team jumped out early and then held off a furious rally as they defeated host Newberry College 9-8 on the road on Saturday afternoon.
Saint Leo (8-5) opened up the afternoon's scoring with 26:13 on the clock as Alix Murray tallied the first goal of the day, before assisting on Joanna Chadwick's goal less than a minute later. With 24:06 on the clock, benefited from a Paige Leggio assist as she put the Lions ahead of the Wolves (7-7) 3-0. A second goal by Chadwick extended the Lions run to four straight goals, before the Wolves called a timeout with 19:05 remaining in the first half.
It appeared the Wolves were unable to use the timeout to stop the Lions' building momentum, as Saint Leo controlled the following draw. Murray was soon disposed by Barlage who picked up the ground ball and sprinted down the field toward goal where she beat Brittany Millsap for her first goal of the day.
Barlage wasn't done as she netted another goal two minutes later to bring the Wolves within two goals of the Lions. Saint Leo responded to Barlage's offensive assault with three straight goals before halftime to send the Lions to half with a 6-3 lead.
The second half began with Newberry controlling its first draw of the day as sophomore Victoria Thomas opened up the half with the ball in her position. After sophomore Tessa Davis saw a shot saved by Millsap, who immediately saw her outlet pass set up the seventh goal of the game for the Lions.
Another full field performance for a Newberry player soon followed the Lions' seventh goal, as junior Olivia Lawnick ran the length of the field and scored her first goal of the season to cut the Saint Leo lead to 7-4.
The three goal difference was short lived as the Lions struck for a pair of goals under the 20-minute mark to take a 9-4 lead.
After four minutes of lacrosse with little offensive movement, Newberry freshman Jessica Baxtrom forced a Saint Leo turnover before recovering the ground ball and leading the Wolves to a successful clearance. With the ball in Newberry's offensive third, Barlage drew a free position opportunity and scored her 38th goal of the season.
Momentum continued to shift Newberry's way as Thomas controlled the ensuing draw at 13:33 and soon saw freshman Carly Marksberry curl from behind the goal to slot a shot past Millsap for the Wolves' sixth goal of the day.
Newberry's goal scoring streak continued soon after some strong play on the defensive end. The Wolves successfully blocked a Saint Leo free position shot with 11:27 remaining, before turning toward their own offensive end and drawing a free position as a Saint Leo player headed to the sideline with a yellow card. After some confusion in front of the goal crease, Newberry freshman Alexis Cathcart drew a second straight free position chance, which she converted for her fourth goal of the year.
The following nine minutes of the game saw the Wolves and the Lions' defenses do battle as both teams saw chances in their offensive thirds turned away by strong defensive play. In one of the biggest moments of the day, Thomas forced a streaking Allie Shefthall out of bounds with under two minutes to go, allowing the Wolves another offensive opportunity.
Baxtrom tested Millsap, but was turned away before Davis took a chance herself and saw the ball beat Millsap for her 13th goal of the year. Saint Leo looked to ice the game after controlling the following draw, but wound up turning the ball over off a caused turnover from Baxtrom. Baxtrom's forced turnover resulted in a Newberry clearance and a shot by Cathcart which was saved by Millsap.
Millsap looked to wind down the clock by launching the ball downfield, where it was picked up by Lawnick. With the ball in the offensive end, Newberry looked to tie the game up, as Barlage found space to shoot, but saw her shot waived off despite the ball settling in the back of the net.
The Lions return to Florida and now prepare to face Florida Southern on April 12. Saint Leo and the Moccasins will get underway at 7:00 p.m. in Lakeland.
For the latest news, updates, and information, fans can 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Portions courtesy of Newberry College Sports Information