WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Saint Leo women's soccer team responded from early adversity to notch a clutch South Region win in a 3-2 victory over Palm Beach Atlantic on a hot and humid Sunday afternoon in south Florida.
Palm Beach Atlantic (1-2-1) would control the tempo in the early going as they tried to make their runs at the Saint Leo (3-2) defense. However it would be the Lions who struck first when Genevieve Gignac got loose in the 15th minute for the game's opening score.
Things would remain 1-0 thru the first 45 minutes as neither team found the back of the net the remainder of the half as Saint Leo entered the break with a 5-1 lead in shots.
Before fans had settled into second half play, defender Andrea Jefferson scooped up a turnover in the first five minutes to find a streaking Haily Johnson who then chipped the ball over Abby Evans to knot the score at one.
As would be the theme of the afternoon the other side would have an answer.
Saint Leo went back in front in the 55th minute when a long cross came into the box to find Saint Leo's dynamic freshman Arielle Kabangu. The strong-willed Canadian found the pass near the top of the box and delivered a perfect one-timer past the diving efforts of Palm Beach Atlantic goalkeeper Allison Fox.
Back came the Sailfish in the 74th minute however as Kasey Wyer put a corner kick into the box to find the head Carson Mitchell. Mitchell headed the ball in to again knot the score and forcing the Lions to ratchet their intensity up a notch.
In the end however it would be the one-on-one skills of Lions' forward Fabienne Schwenk who proved to be the hero as she beat her opponent near the top of the box, made a few dribbles and then drilled home a game-winning strike to the far post in the 83rd minute.
Palm Beach Atlantic would do their best to try for an equalizer down the stretch but the Lions would hang on for the important South Region win in regulation.
Abby Evans earned the win in goal for the Green and Gold while Fox took the loss for the Sailfish.
Saint Leo finished with a 13-3 shots advantage while Palm Beach Atlantic held the edge in corner kicks at 6-2.
The Lions stay in South Region competition when they travel to Rollins on Wednesday. Kick off is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at Barker Family Stadium in Winter Park, Fla.
For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo Women's Soccer, be sure to 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.