SAINT LEO, Fla. – Saint Leo University freshman Abbie Ross' goal with 10:01 left in the game capped the Lions' scoring for the night and lifted Saint Leo women's lacrosse to an 11-10 victory over visiting Gannon University, Wednesday night at University Turf Stadium.
Saint Leo improved to 2-1 with the victory, while Gannon fell to 0-2.
Ross dodged traffic in front of the goal to score her fifth goal of the season, giving the Lions a two-goal lead at 11-9.
Gannon's Kierstyn Haight cut the margin to one goal with her third marker of the night with just 77 seconds remaining in the game. The Golden Knights gained possession on a Lion turnover and groundball by Ileyana Little, but Saint Leo newcomer Amanda Coppolo forced Little into a turnover to end the late Gannon threat.
The Golden Knights held a 9-7 lead as late as the 20:35 mark of the second half, after goals just 21 seconds apart by Haight and Ashley Mozengo.
Sophomore Emily Pittenger started Saint Leo on the comeback trail with a goal assisted by Allie Sheftall at the 19:37 mark. Ross knotted the game at 9-9 with a unassisted tally five minutes later, and freshman Katherine Larson gave the Lions a lead they would not relinquish with a free position goal with 12:51 showing on the clock.
The Lions opened the game by jumping out to 3-0 lead, with senior Christina Minneci scoring twice in the first six minute and Pittenger adding a free position goal with 21:57 left in the opening frame.
Gannon responded by rattling off four straight goals – two by Mozengo, who finished the night with a hat trick – to take a 4-3 lead with 6:39 to play in the half. Junior Allie Sheftall and sophomore Kelsey Burns added two more Saint Leo goals while Marie Brockman scored once for Gannon, sending the game into the halftime break knotted 5-5.
The Golden Knights took a two-goal advantage in the opening minutes of the second half on scores by Haight and Becky Hilker.
Another goal by Sheftall with at the 23:18 mark of the stanza pulled the Lions back to within one, and Minneci tied things up at 7-7 when she scored off a brilliant dodge around the Gannon defense to beat goalie Hanna Magee.
Haight added her second of the game and Mozingo completed a hat trick of her own to vault Gannon into a 9-7 lead with 20:35 showing on the game clock, setting the stage for the Saint Leo rally.
Minneci finished with three goals and an assist for the Lions, giving her eight goals and three assists on the season. Her four-point effort also put her over the 100-point mark for her career, becoming the first player in the four-year history of the program to accomplish the feat.
Sheftall charted a three-point night with two goals and an assist, while Ross and Pittenger tallied two goals. Burns and Larson each had one goal.
Mozingo and Haight finished with three goals each for the Golden Knights, while Hilker chalked up a pair of goals. Heather Vouros and Brockman each got credit for one goal.
Gannon outshot Saint Leo, 24-20, and had 15 groundballs to the Lions' 12. Magee tallied seven saves on 18 shots on the Golden Knights' goal, while senior Brittany Millsap and sophomore Kaylyn Kearns split the goaltending duties for the Lions. Millsap charted four saves in the first half, while Kearns logged six stops.
Saint Leo returns to action on Friday, March 6, when it hosts Pfeiffer University at the University Turf Stadium. Game time is 4:00 p.m.
For more information on the Saint Leo women's lacrosse program, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.