SAINT LEO, Fla. – Although they were playing with a few starters on the injured list, the Saint Leo University women’s soccer team was able to overpower the Eckerd College Tritons 3-0 in Sunshine State Conference action from a cool University Field on Thursday evening.
The Lions, who are now deep into conference play, picked up their second SSC win in a row and improved to 2-1 as they are now 9-2 overall. The Tritons, who jumped out to a fast start in 2008, have struggled of late and are now 3-7 and 0-4 in conference.
Even with Head Coach Ged O’Connor keeping three of his normal starters out of the lineup, a good majority of the match was played with the Lions on the attack, keeping Eckerd College sophomore goalkeeper Cory Hawkins on her toes. Her need to constantly deflect shots off line resulted in the Lions getting nine corner-kicks on the night with one finding its way into goal.
A Lion corner early in the ninth minute saw sophomore Courtney Kassab punch the ball into the box where it was headed home by freshman Francesca Williams for her fourth goal of the year and the first tally of the contest.
Not content with only an assist on the scoresheet, Kassab, who was camped out alone in the top corner of the area, controlled a pass from junior Hannah Beard in the 50th minute. She lined up her shot and blasted a 25-yard laser that zipped just inside the far post.
Between those goals was a beautiful header in the 24th minute from freshman Pia Soesemann as she out-jumped the Tritons to redirect a Beard cross into the back of the net. That tally was Soesemann’s fifth of the season.
Lions’ senior ‘keeper Lauren Hudson made two saves and, although her night was not perfect as she missed a penalty-kick opportunity in the first half, she will finish her career perfect against Eckerd as she never allowed a goal in six contests against the Tritons.
On the other side of the field, Hawkins would finish her night facing 15 shots and notching 12 saves.
Saint Leo will take the weekend off and then travel to Winter Park on Wednesday evening to face Rollins College in another Sunshine State Conference match. Kickoff between the Lions and Tars is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and will be carried live on the Saint Leo Athletics AudioCast Network.