SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo women's lacrosse team opened their sophomore season with intensity and found themselves knotted up with Molloy at 6-6 at the halftime break, but a stagnant second half got the better of the Green and Gold as they fell by a score of 11-7 on Friday evening from University Turf Field.
The loss kicks off the Lions' season with a record of 0-1, while Molloy, who received votes in the IWLCA Preseason Poll, opens their campaign with a mark of 1-0.
Sophomore Alix Murray led Saint Leo with two goals and an assist for three points overall. Stephanie Marran slotted two shots between the pipes, while Alyssa Viscomi, Cassie Miller, and Christina Minneci each tallied one.
Molloy was headed up by Nicole Mastrianni, whose hat trick notched a game high in goals. Alexa Toscano led the game in assists with five on the night. Marran earned a game high four draw controls, matched by Molloys Samantha Arlotta.
Defensively, Brittany Millsap made 11 saves between the posts while collecting five ground balls and a game best three caused turnovers for Saint Leo. Molloy gave the start to Laura Vetter, who allowed six goals while earning four saves, before putting freshman Caroline Winters in cage. Winters earned the win making four saves and allowing just one goal.
Molloy was first on the scoreboard off of a man-up goal a shade over five minutes into the contest, but Saint Leo struck back with a goal of their own to knot the score at 1-1 with 23:30 on the clock. Molloy's Kaitlynn Kelly converted a free position shot at the 21:28 mark to pull her team ahead 2-1, but Murray placed a shot in cage with 18:18 to go before the half to even the score at 2-2.
The Lions kept their scoring streak going, posting two more tallies to pull ahead 4-2 with 15:07 on the clock, but Molloy whittled away at the deficit and scored three straight to pull back into the lead, 5-4 with 10:12 to go before the half.
Marran and Murray scored two consecutive goals to give the Green and Gold a 6-5 lead with 3:07 to go, but a late goal from Mastrianni with 35 ticks on the clock knotted the score at 6-6 at the half.
Despite their strong first half, Saint Leo found themselves unable to capitalize on their shots in the second as Molloy outscored them by a tally of 5-1.
Molloy led the game in draw controls, 11-9, as well as shots 28-20. Saint Leo trailed the ground ball count by three, 30-27, but led the game in caused turnovers 10-7.
The Lions return to action on Sunday, February 17, when they take on third-ranked Adelphi at 3 p.m. at University Turf Stadium. Fans who cannot make it to the game will be able to catch all of the action live on the Saint Leo Sports Network at saintleolions.com.