WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Behind a two-goal night from senior Hannah Beard and a one goal, three assist effort from senior Sara Macko, the Saint Leo women's soccer team defeated Palm Beach Atlantic University 7-2 in South Florida on Tuesday night.
Now 4-2-1 on the season and holding a #5-regional ranking, the Lions appeared poised for a big night from the onset as they pushed across four goals in the first 40 minutes and went into halftime leading 5-1. While the host Sailfish made some improvements in the second-half, the Lions held strong enough for a key regional victory.
After a fairly quiet first ten minutes of play, the ball started jumping all over the field as SLU struck first when Beard tallied her team-leading eighth goal of the season after a cross from Kelli Jones found its way into the box just under the 10th minute.
Palm Beach Atlantic (4-4) fought back quickly as Gabby Lopez collected a loose ball in the box and received a quick touch from Jennie Weil for the assist. The goal came less than one minute after the Lions’ first score.
From that point, the Lions took control for the remainder of the half, scoring four more times. Sara Macko delivered another goal in the 18th minute followed by a Pia Soesemann breakaway shot just before the 25 minute mark.
Jones and Beard connected next for SLU in the 34th-minute as Beard sent a cross in and Jones headed the ball into the back of the net for a comfortable 4-1 advantage.
Saint Leo closed out the half when Macko collected a loose ball in the box that quickly found Aija Bent-Trinder for the score.
SLU held an 11-3 shots advantage in the first period of play while entering halftime with a 5-2 lead.
The second 45 minutes saw Palm Beach’s Angie Kuhn take advantage of a “right place, right time” scenario in the 59th minute when a shot deflected off the hands of SLU ‘keeper Kelcee Mai which she deflected into the net.
As the contest wound down with the Lions in control, SLU added in goals by Andrea Lott (77th minute) and Beard again at the 80th minute.
Mai finished with six saves in goal for SLU while Morrell notched three saves and Webb made four saves for PBA.
After returning to campus early Wednesday morning, the Lions will begin to prepare for their Sunshine State Conference showdown with Lynn University on Friday. The Lions and Fighting Knights will kick things off at 7:00 p.m. at University Field.