Ft. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Saint Leo women’s soccer team (7-4-1, 4-3-0 SSC) used a second half scoring explosion to down Sunshine State Conference foe Nova Southeastern (6-6-1, 3-4-1 SSC)3-1, Saturday evening from the NSU Soccer Complex,

After a sluggish start offensively for the Lions, the Saint Leo attack awakened to score three goals in the second half. Sara Macko opened up the scoring in the 60th-minute, connecting on a penalty kick. Hannah Beard followed with her 11th goal of the season in the 73rd-minute and solidified the contest with her 12th tally of the season in the 83rd-minute. NSU made the contest close in the second half, as they scored their only goal in the 79th-minute. However, it was not enough as the Lions gained three pivotal points in the Sunshine State Conference standings.
Nova Southeastern started out the aggressor in the early parts on the first half, testing Lions’ goalkeeper Cristina Coca on multiple occasions. Still, Coca and the rest of the Lions’ defense remained up to the challenge, keeping the Sharks off the board. Soon after, the Lions began to generate chances on the offensive end. The Lions totaled seven shots in the first 45 minutes, and made NSU goalkeeper, Sarah Glass, to make two saves. Still, the game was scoreless heading into halftime.

Out of the break, the Lions continued to heat up on the offensive end, eventually breaking through in the 60th-minute. After Nova committed a foul in the box, senior Sarah Macko stepped up and knocked home her seventh goal of the year to give the Lions a 1-0 advantage. 12 minutes later, Beard found the back of the net with her first goal of the contest. Sophomore Pia Soesemann sent a through ball to Beard who collected it with her foot and went in against the goalkeeper alone. In stride, she delivered a shot with her right foot into the back of the net. The goal eventually registered as the game-winner as Nova cut the lead in half in the 79th-minute.

Beard answered the Nova goal with the final tally of the game in the 83rd-minute. The Liverpool, England native received a pass from Chrissy Darwell, shielded off a pair of defenders and while in stride delivered her 12th-goal of the year past Glass.

The win gives Saint Leo 12 points and sole possession of fourth-place in the conference.

In goal, Coca (4-3-1) performed well for the Lions, making two saves on seven shots.

Combined, both teams committed 26 fouls, while Saint Leo held a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks.

The Lions return to SSC action on Wednesday, October 8th for a showdown with rival the University of Tampa. Kickoff for the conference battle is set for 7:00 p.m. from Pepin Stadium on the campus of University of Tampa.