SAINT LEO, Fla. – Nine different Lions scored to help the Saint Leo women's lacrosse team edge Southern New Hampshire University, 11-10, on Tuesday evening at University Turf Stadium. The win gives Saint Leo a mark of 3-1 on the season, marking the best start in the Lions' three years as a program. The loss drops SNHU to a record of 0-2 to start their 2014 campaign.
Southern New Hampshire was led by Phoebe Clark and Emily King, who each netted a hat trick. Clark earned a game high four points as she added an assist on the night. Casey Duggan scored two goals, while Alexa Allen and Ellie Morin earned one goal each to close out the Penmen's goal count. Allen and Lindsay Bucknam contributed one assist each to round out the scoring for SNHU.
Defensively, Brittany Millsap earned eight saves on the night, facing 21 shots and 18 shots on goal by the Penmen. Joanna Chadwick led the game with four draw controls, while Sheftall picked up a team best four ground balls.
The Lions jumped out to a three goal advantage to open the first half, with Sheftall scoring the first goal of the game off of an assist from Murray, and Minneci and Jolly placing the ball between the pipes on free position shots. Duggan and Clark answered back with two free position goals of their own to pull to within one of the Lions, 3-2, with 14:52 to go in the first half, but Saint Leo pulled ahead as McGovern connected a pass to Fraser 13 seconds later to pull ahead 4-2.
Clark and Duggan teamed-up to tally the Penmen's next goal, but an unassisted goal from Burns with 10:23 left in the period gave Saint Leo a 5-3 lead. SNHU rallied and netted the next two, knotting the score at 5-5 with 8:29 remaining in the first, but Johnson closed out the first half scoring by converting a free position shot to give the Lions a slim 6-5 lead at the half.
The Lions jumped out of the break and scored two straight to pull ahead, 8-5, with 21:19 left in the game, but a push from the Penmen over the ensuing 12 minutes helped them rattle off four straight, including a goal by Clark with 7:02 left to give SNHU its first lead of the game, 10-9.
Saint Leo used the final minutes to play strategically, and with an unassisted goal by Burns with 6:39, tied the score at 10-10. Minneci then earned the game-winner off of an assist by Murray with 4:16 left in play, and the Lions were able to keep the Penmen off the scoreboard as the clock ticked down to zero.
Saint Leo led the shot count, 26-21, as well as the shots-on-goal total, 19-18. The Penmen won 12 draw controls to the Lions' 11, but the Lions did more damage on the ride, holding SNHU to just eight successful clears on 18 attempts, while making good on 11-of-14 clear attempts of their own.
The Saint Leo women's lacrosse team returns to action on Saturday, March 8, when the host Mount Olive at 1 p.m. at University Turf Stadium. Fans will be able to catch the action live on the Saint Leo Sports Network at SaintLeoLions.com.
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