SAINT LEO, Fla. – Despite playing hurt for the majority of the game, Saint Leo women’s soccer sophomore Pia Soesemann gutted out a huge performance as she sparked a second-half rally that saw SLU score three unanswered goals, including two of her own, as the Lions defeated Lynn University 4-2 in Sunshine State Conference action from University Field on Friday night.
Things didn’t start well for the Lions as they surrendered the game’s first goal just 16 minutes in. After Saint Leo (5-2-1, 2-2 SSC) failed to clear the ball inside the box, Amanda Romeo-Gallo dropped a pass toward the midfield, where it caught an onrushing Alison Ramsey. Ramsey controlled the pass and unloaded on a line-drive shot from more than 25 yards out. The shot tailed up and away from SLU ‘keeper Christina Coca as it managed to slip under the crossbar, giving Lynn an early advantage.
In what proved to be a first half filled will goals from distance, SLU would draw even in the 28th-minute as Chrissy Darwell and Sara Macko repeated the Fighting Knight goal from 12 minutes previous. The junior Darwell dropped a pass to Macko, who was 25 yards out, and the senior blasted a shot over the Lynn goalkeeper.
Lynn (6-6, 1-3) wasted no time with the answer as Breanna Heising zipped a 35-yard shot toward the crossbar in the 30th-minute. The ball would carry just over Coca’s deflection attempt and under the bar to allow the visitors from Boca Raton to regain the advantage heading into the intermission.
Something at halftime woke the Lions up as they came out a reenergized team. They showed that fact just three minutes out of the break as Hannah Beard split two Fighting Knight defenders at the edge of the box. Seeing an advancing Kelsey Butler, Beard slotted the ball to Butler’s right and managed to guide it inside the post to even the game.
The final 10 minutes was when Soesemann showed her worth. Playing with a bruised hamstring suffered in the first minute of the match, the German had missed on two second-half golden opportunities up to that point. Playing in obvious pain, Soesemann picked up a midline pass from freshman Kelli Jones and took it down the sidelines. She then cut back toward the box and, like Beard, beat her defender and slotted the ball past Butler to give the Lions their first lead of the night.
In prime position for the win, Head Coach Ged O’Connor did not change his formation, a decision which allowed three Lion attackers to hook up in one of the more beautiful goals of the year. Darwell took a ball even with the touch-line and down into the corner before sneaking it to Beard, who was standing inside the 18-yard box near the end line. Beard then drew the attention of two LU defenders and the ‘keeper Butler as no one, save for Beard, saw Soesemann sneaking into the middle of the box. Beard lofted a beautiful cross in front that Soesemann one-timed into goal to finish off the SSC win.
Statistically, the Lions dominated the contest posting a total of 19 shots, while the visitors only had five. Saint Leo also did not concede a corner kick the entire night, while collecting six of their own. Lynn’s Butler made four saves, mostly in the second half, while Coca only posted one.
Showing signs that they may be back to form, the Lions will travel to Miami Shores as they will face the Barry Buccaneers in another Sunshine State Conference game. The Lions will be back in action on Tuesday as game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Buccaneer Field on the Barry campus.