#6 Florida Southern Bombards Saint Leo, 20-5
SAINT LEO - Sixth-ranked Florida Southern put their loss to Lindenwood this past weekend well out of mind, returning to the field and blasting Saint Leo 20-5 in non-conference action on the campus of Saint Leo University.
With the win, the Moccasins improve to 12-2 on the season and keep their chances of an NCAA Tournament appearance alive. The win also ties a program record for wins in a season, originally set in the first Moccasin women's lacrosse season of 2012. Meanwhile, the Lions dropped to 8-6 with tonight's loss.
The Moccasin offense started the game with a bang, scoring the first 12 goals of the contest and drawing the running-clock early on their future Sunshine State Conference opponents. Junior Caitlin Chase (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) scored the first goal of the night off a free position attempt at 27:42, and an unassisted goal from junior Megan Asper (Parkton, Md.) 30 seconds later put the score at 2-0 in favor of the Scarlet-and-White.
The FSC onslaught continued with goals from junior Lorianne Hoover (Annapolis, Md.), three from junior Maureen Cromer (Baltimore, Md.), sophomore Ashley Robertson (Ellicott City, Md.), freshman Sarah Dibble (Sanford, Fla.) and sophomore Gabrielle Barowski (Alexandria, Va.), and by the halfway point of the first half Florida Southern possessed a commanding 9-0 lead.
A goal from freshman Chloe Cabigas (Maitland, Fla.) put the score at 10-0 and brought the running clock into effect. Kendall Kerge (Edgewater, Md.) found the back of the net off a dish from Robertson to continue the scoring barrage, while Robertson's goal off a free position put the Florida Southern lead at 12-0 with 5:57 remaining before halftime. Saint Leo finally found the back of the net at 4:54 of the half, but the second goal of the evening by Kerge gave the Mocs a commanding 13-1 lead going into the break.
Back-to-back goals from the freshman Kerge off passes from Chase at 26:26 and 23:36 put the score at 15-1 as head coach Kara Reber began resting her starters. Freshman Parrisa Sakinejad (Millers, Md.) set up sophomore Cassie Crain (Bunnell, Fla.) to bump the lead to 15, while another Chase-to-Kerge connection made the score 17-1 with 14:48 remaining in the contest. Saint Leo ripped one into the net at 10:35 to make it 17-2, but consecutive Moccasin goals from junior Meghan Colucci (Glocester, R.I.) and sophomore Marissa Braden (Stuart, Fla.) gave FSC a 16 goal advantage with 5:01 remaining. Three-straight scores from the Lions put the host team down 14 late, but the second score of the night from Barowski with 20 seconds left gave the game its final score.
Kerge led the Mocs with seven points off five goals and two assists, while Chase and Cromer both tied for second-best with five points each. Cromer scored three times and assisted twice, while Chase dished out four assists and scored once, inching her closer to the 100-goal plateau. Asper, who tallied two points with a goal and an assist, pulled down six of the team's 16 draw controls, while Barowski and Sakinejad scooped up four ground balls each.
On the defensive side, Barowski and senior Katie Hammerer (California, Md.) led with two caused turnovers each. In between the pipes, Hammerer made three saves in 30 minutes of action, while freshman Taylor Gillis (Bel Air, Md.) made three saves in 30 minutes of relief.
For Saint Leo, Christina Minneci led the offense with two goals, while three other players registered one score each. Allie Sheftall pulled down five draw controls and Kristen McGovern picked up four ground balls. In goal, Kaylyn Kearns took the loss with eight saves in 52:23 of time between the pipes after relieving the starter Brittany Millsap, who made two saves in 7:37 of playing time.
Florida Southern wraps up the home portion of their schedule on Saturday, April 12, when they host Tampa (6-8) at 3 p.m. after the team honors their five graduating seniors.