Saint Leo went into Friday night’s Sunshine State Conference tournament semifinal against Rollins eager to avenge the defeat the Tars had inflicted upon it earlier in the season.
No.1 seed and tournament host Rollins wouldn’t allow that to happen, as the Tars advanced to the final with a 4-1 win on Friday night.
After a tight, defensive opening to the game that saw few scoring chances, Rollins took the lead on the half-hour mark. After Chelsea Brady was brought down in the penalty area, Leah Hirsch had her shot saved by Lions goalkeeper Cristina Coca, but Hirsch followed up to score on the rebound.
The Tars doubled their lead just before halftime, as Jessica Mooney scored after Rachel Jakubowski’s header had been blocked.
The Lions had difficulty finding their rhythm, only managing three shots on goal for the game, as Rollins maintained their control in the second half. Ali Schrader scored in the 76th minute to effectively put the game out of reach for the Tars, and while the Lions pulled a goal back through Pia Soesemann in the 86th minute, Schrader answered almost immediately to kill any thought of a comeback.
Now the Lions will have to wait and see as to what their next opponent will be. Coach Ged O’Connor was confident his sides’ victory against Nova Southeastern would be enough to put the Lions in the NCAA Tournament field, but it will remain to be see what happens on Sunday when the bracket gets announced.