SAINT LEO, Fla. – Saint Leo freshman Abbie Ross chalked up four straight second-half goals to lead the Lions women's lacrosse team to a 9-8 win over visiting Bloomsburg University, Monday night at University Turf Stadium.
Trailing 7-5 after the first 10 minutes of the second half, Ross struck four consecutive times over the span of nearly 11 minutes to fuel Saint Leo (3-2) to the victory
Ross notched her first of the game at the 17:04 mark off a pass from Joanna Chadwick, and then knotted the game at 7-7 with 10:16 remaining with an unassisted marker.
She completed her natural hat trick with 6:28 remaining, scoring off a feed from senior Alix Murray. Off the ensuing draw, Ross rushed up field and drew a free position attempt which she converted for her fourth goal of the night.
A mere 19 seconds elapsed between Ross' third and fourth goals, which gave the Lions a 9-7 lead coming down the stretch.
Bloomsburg (0-1) cut the margin to a single goal with 4:45 showing on the game clock, when Husky senior Julie Falk charted her third of the game to make the score 9-8. Saint Leo effectively controlled the ball over the final minutes, limiting Bloomsburg chances for the game-tying goal.
The Huskies did get one final attempt with 15 seconds remaining from Brigid Kyne, who had three goals on the day for Bloomsburg and was looking for her fourth. Saint Leo reserve goalie Kaylyn Kearns came up with the save, her 13th of the evening, to seal the Lion victory.
Saint Leo had trailed 6-4 at the half. Junior Allie Sheftall notched back-to-back goals for the Lions in the space of 14 seconds in the second minute of the game, but Bloomsburg responded with three straight scores to take a 3-2 lead. Kyne scored twice for the Huskies, while Carly Ball had Bloomsburg first goal of the game to get the Huskies on the board.
Junior Kelly Smigiera tied things up at 3-3 with 14:52 to play in the half, before Taylor Turner and Julie Falk put Bloomsburg back in front, 5-3. Sheftall completed the hat trick off an assist from senior Christina Minneci with 51 seconds showing on the first half clock, but Falk struck once more to give the Huskies a two-goal lead at the intermission.
Bloomsburg outshot Saint Leo, 41-13, and had 22 ground balls to the Lions' nine. Saint Leo goalies Kearns and starter Brittany Millsap charted 13 and 10 saves respectively, keeping the Lions in the game against a Bloomsburg squad that had been ranked 20th in the Division II coaches poll last week.
Husky goalie Brittney Hegarty recorded three saves on the 12 shots she faced during the evening.
Saint Leo women's lacrosse will be back in action on Wednesday, March 9, when the Lions host Merrimack College. Game time at the University Turf Stadium is slated for 7:00 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.