SAINT LEO, Fla. – A four-goal flurry in the second half closed most of Saint Leo University's deficit with visiting Lenoir-Rhyne College, but left the Lions one goal short in a 13-12 non-conference women's lacrosse loss on Friday afternoon at University Turf Stadium.
Saint Leo dropped to 6-4 overall, while Lenoir-Rhyne evened its record at 4-4. Both teams were receiving votes in last week's Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division II Top 20 poll.
Sophomore attack Kelsey Burns tallied five goals for Saint Leo, including three in the second half to help the Lions erase a 7-4 halftime deficit.
Senior midfielder Kirsten Smith finished with five goals for Lenoir-Rhyne, with Claire Wach and Lauren Donovan each scoring twice. Four other Bears each tallied one goal in the win.
Lenoir-Rhyne extended its three-goal halftime lead to five goals on Wach's second of the day at the 18:03 mark of the second half, giving the Bears an 11-6 lead. Just over a minute later, the two teams traded goals in the span of 46 seconds, with Burns scoring off a pass from Fraser for the Lions and Donovan answering with an unassisted tally for the Bears, and Lenoir-Rhyne's lead stood at 12-7.
Coppolo cut the margin to four goals with a free position goal at the 12:03 mark. That was soon followed by three more Saint Leo goals in less than two minutes, with Smigiera, Ross, and Fraser finding the back of the Lenoir-Rhyne net. That brought the Lions to within one of the Bears, 12-11, with 8:18 showing on the game clock.
Lenoir-Rhyne scored what proved to be the game-winning goal just 36 seconds later, with Bailey Leonard recording an unassisted tally to extend the Bears' lead to 13-11.
Fraser fed Sheftall for Saint Leo's last goal off the day with 1:20 remaining, pulling the Lions to within one at 13-12. The Green and Gold controlled the ensuing draw and had three shots on the Lenoir-Rhyne goal, but could not find the equalizer.
Saint Leo outshot Lenoir-Rhyne 37-30, and had a 22-18 advantage in ground balls. Brittany Millsap and Kaylyn Kearns shared duties in the Lions' goal, with Millsap taking the loss after allowing seven goals against seven saves in the first half. Kearns entered the game for the second half, and had six saves with six goals allowed.
Lenoir-Rhyne's Ines Flueck recorded 14 saves in her 60 minutes in the Bears' goal.
Saint Leo returns to action on Wednesday, April 1, when it hosts the University of Tampa in its first Sunshine State Conference game. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at University Turf Stadium.
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.