PENSACOLA, Fla. – After what happened last week, it seemed as if the Lions were rewriting women’s soccer history at Saint Leo, but the 2008 chapter came to a close on Friday as the Saint Leo University women’s soccer team fell to the University of Tampa 3-2 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at the University of West Florida.
The fifth-seeded Lions surrendered a 108th minute goal to end their season 15-5-2 overall while fourth-seed Tampa goes to 13-6-2 and moves on to face top-seeded West Florida on Sunday afternoon.
After going up 2-1 in the 66th minute on the second goal by Chrissy Darwell, the Lions could not shut out their arch-rival Spartans as they got a goal from Caroline Spencer in the 69th minute to bring the score to level.
In the second extra period the Lions had the first shot to win as a penalty kick was issued to the Lions when Sara Macko was pulled down inside the box. Kendall Bourdon, the Tampa ‘keeper, made a fantastic, point-blank save to keep the match going, and Tampa would close it out just four minutes later when they converted their 20th corner-kick for a score off of a header by Samantha Kay.
The 20 corners, many coming back-to-back, are the most the Lions surrendered this season by almost a 2-to-1 margin. It seemed, as the set-pieces continued to mount, that eventually the Spartans would put one in; which is exactly what they did with two minutes to go.
The match’s final goal by Kay was the second of the night for the freshman as she opened up scoring in the seventh minute. She received a ball at the top of the box on a nice cross and unloaded toward goal, only to see it deflected by Saint Leo senior Lizzie Seedhouse. The deflection landed at the foot of Kay once again, and this time her blast found the back of the net.
Darwell and the Lions answered in the 16th minute when junior Sara Macko corralled a deflected corner kick and sent it back into the box. The cross was the perfect height for Darwell to punch into the goal. She would strike again on that second half score when she intercepted a pass between the Spartan defense and Bourdon. The Lions’ best attacker on the day then lofted a ball over Bourdon to put SLU on top.