SAINT LEO, Fla. - The Saint Leo women's lacrosse team wrapped up their inaugural season on Wednesday evening, taking on the 14th-ranked Florida Southern Moccasins in regional action at University Field. The Lions put forth their best effort, but fell to the Mocs by a final score of 18-6.
The win closes out the Lions historical first season with a record of 5-8, while the Mocs finish their season with an overall mark of 11-4.
Brittany Millsap set aside 12 shots for the Lions between the pipes while allowing 12 goals in 54 minutes of action. Nicole Sirota-Plotnikov made one save while allowing six shots to slip by in her time in cage. Their counterparts, Katie Hammerer and Lindsay Holdway, made nine saves while allowing six goals.
The Mocs saw a four goal performance from Mara Mason, while Danielle LaDuca scored a hat trick and tacked on an assist for four points on the night.
Florida Southern jumped out to a three goal lead thanks to two goals and an assist from Maureen Cromer with 19:21 remaining before the half. Despite the early lead, the ensuing eight minutes remained silent as neither team was able to capitalize on an attacking opportunity.
Murray broke the silence with an unassisted goal with 11:36 on the clock, pulling Saint Leo to within two with a tally of 3-1. Florida Southern retaliated with two goals, however, closing out the half with a score of 5-1.
Only four other teams have held the Mocs to just five goals in the first half, including then-No. 4 Lock Haven on March 13, and most recently No. 3 Rollins on April 11.
The Mocs exploded into the second stanza on a mission, running away with seven unanswered goals to extend their lead to 12-1. Kuhl put the Lions' second goal on the scoreboard on a free position shot with 15:06 remaining, and Marran followed with two straight to set the score at 12-4 with 9:55 left.
Florida Southern scored the next three, pulling ahead 15-4, with 3:43 to go, but Marran broke the run with an unassisted goal with 2:30 remaining in the game, igniting a flurry of action as the game wound down.
Marran netted the next goal with 1:25 left, pulling Saint Leo to within nine with a score of 15-6, but Megan Asper answered back 17 seconds later. Despite the sizeable lead, the Mocs tacked on another goal with 20 seconds to go, and added one more with just two ticks on the clock to close out the game with a final score of 18-6.
Millsap capped off a solid first season with nine ground balls and two caused turnovers added to her 12 save performance. Christina Minneci pulled in five ground balls, followed closely by Marran with four. Marran added a team-best seven draw controls to her total, while Minneci led the team in caused turnovers with three.
It was a close battle for ground balls, with Florida Southern leading 29-26. The Mocs also led in draw controls, 16-10, as well as in shots 37-18.
The inaugural season of Saint Leo women's lacrosse was one filled with highs and lows, but the Lions can look back with pride and hold their heads high as they secured five victories and met a plethora of goals throughout their 2012 campaign. This year's team has laid the foundation for successful seasons to come, and hopes are high for the 2013 season. To stay up-to-date on the Saint Leo women's lacrosse team throughout the off season, be sure to visit saintleolions.com.