SALISBURY, N.C. – Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose; for the Saint Leo women's lacrosse team, those words could not ring any more true at the moment as they earned their first ever win in program history, Friday night. Not only did the Lions win their first game, but they did so against a NCAA Division II program, very far away from their home field advantage, as they defeated the Catawba Indians 19-2 in Salisbury, N.C.
Saint Leo advances to an overall record of 1-2 on the season, while fellow first-year program Catawba drops to 0-3.
"It was a great team win tonight," said head coach Lesley Graham. "We were able to put the pieces together and execute our game plan for the entire 60 minutes. Our strategy tonight was to play with heart, and our heart was exactly what won us the game tonight! We couldn't be more proud of the entire team's efforts!"
Marran added two assists onto her three goal total for a game-best five points, while Minneci added one assist to her hat trick for four points.
Brittany Millsap earned the first win of her collegiate career, setting aside six shots while allowing two goals in 44 minutes between the pipes. Nicole Sirota-Plotnikov saw 16 minutes in cage for the Lions, earning one save and not allowing a shot to hit the back of the net.
Their counterparts, Haley Register and Brandi Cockerham, yielded a total of 19 shots while setting aside eight. The Indians were led in points by Ebony Mills, who tallied a goal and an assist on the night, while Ana Cooke added to the goal count, and Kim McConnery earned an assist.
Saint Leo kicked off their historic game in a big way, scoring seven unanswered goals in the first 15 minutes. Murray netted three, including the first goal of the game, with Minneci scoring two, and Marran and Chadwick adding one each. Catawba finally got on the board with 9:29 before the half thanks to a goal from Mills off of an assist from McConnery, setting the score at 7-1 in the Lions favor.
Marran connected on a pass to Porcher for a goal at the 6:39 mark, followed by a gaol from Catawba's Cooke 34 seconds later to put a score of 8-2 on the scoreboard with 6:05 to go before the half. The Lions closed out the first period with two unanswered goals from Porcher and Kuhl to enter into the break with a score of 10-2, leaving them with a comfortable lead entering into the final half.
Saint Leo entered into the second stanza with two quick goals from Marran and Minneci, hitting running clock a little over a minute into the half. The Lions went on to score seven more unanswered goals throughout the remainder of the game, securing their historic first win by a sizable score of 19-2.
Saint Leo dominated the shot count 32-10, and won the ground ball battle 31-16. The Lions won 12-of-22 draw controls thanks to six from Stephanie Marran, and were successful on 50 percent of their free position shots.
The Lions return to action on Sunday, February 26, when they take on No. 3 Limestone in Gaffney, S.C. First draw against the Saints is slated for noon. Fans will be able to catch all of the action live at saintleolions.com.