SAINT LEO, Fla. – Saint Leo sophomore Christina Minneci netted a hat trick to help the Lions thwart Shippensburg University by a score of 8-7 on Thursday evening at University Turf Stadium. The win advances the Lions record to 6-5 on the season, while the Raiders drop to a record of 2-3.
Joining teams all across the nation, the Lions used their final home game of the season to host a "Play 4 Seton Hill" event to raise money for the Gavin Quigley Scholarship Fund. All of the ticket proceeds from the game, as well as contributions collected throughout the evening, will be donated to the fund. Both Saint Leo and Shippensburg put the spirit of competition aside before the contest got under way, and gathered for a moment of silence at mid-field to honor the lives of those lost in the tragic events of March 16, and show support for the Seton Hill women's lacrosse team.
As the game proceeded, Minneci fired three shots into the back of the net for a game-high. Senior Alyssa Viscomi notched two goals on the night while sophomore Joanna Chadwick tallied a goal and an assist. The freshman duo of Cassie Miller and Allie Sheftall placed one shot between the pipes apiece to complete the Lions' scoring efforts on the night.
Miller, Minneci, and Stephanie Marran each pulled in two draw controls on the night, while Brittany Millsap and Marran each collected four ground balls. The Raiders saw a game high five draw controls from Liz French, while Lindsey Kennedy earned a game best five ground balls.
Millsap had a big night in cage for the Green and Gold, making 10 key saves throughout the contest to keep the Raiders at bay. Millsap faced a total of 30 shots and 17 shots on frame, while her adversary, Ally Frymoyer, saw 21 shots and 16 shots on goal. Frymoyer made a total of eight saves on the night, including five in the second half in the Raiders' comeback bid.
Shippensburg was led in goals by Sheila Johnson with two, while Courtney Kennedy earned two assists on the night. Lindsey Kennedy, Roxanne Brown, Bennett Widlake, Garrie Grenfell, and Amanda Krok all notched one goal each.
Shippensburg scored first on a goal from Lindsey Kennedy with 25:39 on the clock. Six minutes passed before another goal was scored, but an unassisted goal from Viscomi put the Lions on the board and knotted the score at 1-1 and 18:45 to go in the first half.
Widlake fired next just 19 seconds later to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead, but the Lions were not about to back down. Two strong goals from Minneci, followed by an unassisted goal from Chadwick with 13:18 left in the half helped the Lions pull out to a 4-2 lead, and a goal from Miller off of an assist from Chadwick at the 5:02 mark closed out the first period with the Lions holding onto a 5-2 lead.
Minneci helped the Lions explode into the second half with a goal just 17 seconds into the period to give the Lions a 6-2 advantage. Shippensburg cut the deficit to three with a goal from Brown a minute later, but Saint Leo fired off two straight to pull out to their largest lead, 8-3, with 18:44 left in the game.
Twelve minutes melted off of the clock without either team placing a ball between the pipes. But with a goal from Johnson at the 6:39 mark, Shippensburg began to whittle away at the Lions' lead. The Raiders rattled off four straight in three minutes to pull to within one, 8-7, with 3:13 to go, but smart play from the Lions in the final minutes helped seal the deal for their third straight victory.
The Raiders led the shot count, 30-21, but the Lions earned a higher shots-on-goal percentage as 16 of their shots were on target compared to Shippensburg's 17. The Lions led the ground ball count, 26-23, but trailed off of the draw, 9-8. Saint Leo was successful on 14-of-18 clear attempts, and were successful on the ride as they help the Raiders to just 12 clears on 18 attempts. Saint Leo converted 2-of-5 free-position shots, and stymied the Raiders on 8-meter shots, holding them to just two goals on 13 free-position shots.
The Lions return to action on Friday, April 5, when they travel to Due West, S.C. to take on Erskine College in regional action. Game time against the Flying Fleet is slated for 5 p.m. Fans who cannot make it to the game can catch all of the action live on the Saint Leo Sports Network at saintleolions.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest news, updates, and information by following the Lions on Twitter, an "Liking" the Green and Gold on Facebook.