Tampa, Fla. (November 2, 2007)With about 30 minutes remaining in regulation Friday night in the Sunshine State Conference post-season women’s soccer tournament semifinal match, Lions’ sophomore forward Hannah Beard (Liverpool, England), went down after being accidently kicked on the top of her foot by a Nova Southeastern University player. 

It didn’t look good for the All-Conference player, or Saint Leo, who found itself on the short end of a 1-0 score. However, after being given treatment by the Saint Leo athletic training staff, Beard was good to go.

And boy did she ever go from this point on. She was just about a one-person offensive show the rest of the way, scoring two goals, including the game-winner with 30 ticks left on the clock in regulation as Saint Leo (15-3) rallied to post a 2-1 victory over Nova Southeastern (11-3-2) and in the process reach the championship match Sunday at 1 p.m. The Lions, seeded No. 2, will take on top-seeded University of Tampa.

Saint Leo dominated action for the initial 15 minutes of the match, but couldn’t get the ball past Sharks’ goalie Sarah Glass.

Nova Southeastern dented the scoreboard first with 16:56 left to intermission on a defensive lapse by the Lions. A defender failed to clear a ball properly and in the process junior goalkeeper Lauren Hudson (Odessa, Fla.) was caught about eight yards out. Kelly Diershow found Lauren Prow standing alone at the side of the net, booted the ball to her and Prow tapped it in for the goal.

With 41 minutes and 32 seconds remaining in regulation, the Lions received a big break when a long ball by the Sharks hit off a Saint Leo defender and went right to the feet of Shurell Burton, who missed a wide open net at the top of the 18-yard box.

With 28:38 left in regulation, Beard was Johnny-on-the-spot at the top of the 18-yard box as she won a battle for a loose ball, and drilled it into the top right corner of the net past a stunned Glass to tie the match.

Saint Leo gained control of things at this point and kept the ball in the Nova side of the field and finally it paid off as Beard went on a long run, streaking down the side and wasn’t marked. She calmly booted the ball into the upper left corner for her second unassisted goal of the night. Beard, who was named to the All-Conference team as a second-team member earlier this week, took over the team scoring lead with her sixth and seventh goal of the season to give her 25 points on the year. Sophomore midfielder Sara Macko (Valrico, Fla.) and freshman forward Stacey Rodwell (Southport, England) also had one shot on goal each.

Saint Leo outshot Nova 12-10 on the night and had seven shots on goal to six for the Sharks. Beard led the way with six shots with five on goal.

The Lions had nine corner kicks to three for the Sharks.