SAINT LEO, Fla. – Freshman Sam Butterbaugh scored the first goal of her career and made it count in a big way, lifting the Saint Leo women's soccer team over Robert Morris University on Thursday evening at University Field. Butterbaugh's game-winning first goal helps the Lions enter Sunshine State Conference play with a perfect 5-0 record, while the Eagles drop their first game of the season and fall to a record of 5-1.
Saint Leo found themselves on the scoreboard early thanks to assists from Jasmine Johnson and Ari Foreman, and a goal from Dari Alcantara. Saint Leo held onto their one goal advantage until the 24th minute, when Tavia Anderson connected on a ball from Samira Suleman to knot the score at 1-1.
A stalemate ensued throughout the remainder of the half, and both teams entered into the break with one goal apiece. After the initial 45 minutes, Robert Morris led the shot count 11-8, and had nine corner kicks to the Lions' 1. Staunch play and four key saves from SLU goalie Laura Carstens helped the Lions stay on target, with her counterpart Jessica von Boehlen making three saves for Robert Morris in the first half.
The Green and Gold entered into the second stanza with a new game plan, and began to dominate the pace of play on the pitch. In the 51st minute, Stephanie Marran connected the ball to Butterbaugh, who was able to slip a shot past von Boehlen to give the Lions a one goal advantage.
Saint Leo was able to defend well and play the ball wisely despite finishing the final 15 minutes of the contest in a man-down situation. Three more clutch saves from Carstens helped keep Robert Morris off of the scoreboard despite heavy pressure from the Eagle's forward line. Carstens closed the game with seven crucial saves, while von Boehlen set aside five.
The Lions trailed on the overall shot count at the end of regulation, 18-5, as well as on the corner kick tally, 12-3. A physical game was played by both teams, with Saint Leo committing 12 fouls, and Robert Morris walking away from the evening with 16.
The Lions return to action on Saturday, September 17, when they travel to Lynn University in non-conference action. Kickoff against the Fighting Knights is set for 4 p.m. Fans who cannot make it to the game will be able to catch all of the action live at SaintLeoLions.com.