TAMPA, Fla. – The Saint Leo women’s soccer team (8-4-1, 5-3 SSC) finished out the regular season with a 2-1 defeat of the University of Tampa Spartans (6-11, 2-6 SSC) in an Sunshine State Conference battle from Pepin Stadium, Wednesday evening.
Sara Macko had a hand in both goals for the Lions, as she opened up the contest with the games first tally before setting up Chrissy Darwell for the eventual game-winning goal in the second half. Defensively, the Lions, led by Ana Davila and Francesca Williams, held the Spartans to nine shots while limiting them to just five shots-on-goal.
The Lions’ offense got rolling early, when Francesca Williams sent a cross to Macko on the left side of the 18-yard box. Macko settled the ball at her foot and sent a rocket past the outstretched hands of Kendall Bourbon for her eighth goal of the year.
Despite the early advantage, both teams continued to press on the offensive end as each generated scoring chances. However, it was the Spartans that answered next. Deep in their own defensive end, the Lions had a momentary lapse resulting in a failed clearance and a scoring opportunity for the home team. Tampa’s Megan Tobin capitalized on the miscue, taking the ball and sending it into the goal to even the match going into the locker room
Out of intermission, the teams continued to play a back-and-forth game. The Lions, however, connected on the go-ahead goal in the 69th-minute. After pressure on the offensive end resulted in a corner kick for the Lions, Macko stepped up and sent the ball into the middle of the area. From there, Darwell rose above all the defenders and headed the ball into the back left corner of the net for her second tally of the season. The goal put the Green & Gold up for good as solid defense shut down the Spartan offense the remainder of the contest.
In total, the Spartans outshot the Lions 9-7 and held a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks, but a four-save effort by Cristina Coca (5-3-1) helped SLU preserve the one-goal victory.
With the regular season now concluded, Saint Leo will now turn their attention to the SSC Tournament. Although full brackets will not be release until Friday, the Lions are currently scheduled to host a first-round game against the Nova Southeastern University Sharks on Tuesday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. Check back with SaintLeoLions.com for further updates.