LAKELAND - Florida Southern continued its hot play here Tuesday evening as the sixth-ranked Moccasins extended their winning streak to eight straight games following a 15-2 victory over Saint Leo in Sunshine State Conference action on Senior Night at Bryant Stadium.
Prior to the game, the Mocs honored their six-member senior class in a pregame ceremony and then scored nine first half goals en route to improving to 13-3 overall and 3-0 in the SSC heading into Thursday's showdown in Winter Park against third-ranked Rollins (13-1, 3-0 SSC) for the regular season SSC title and the right to host next weekend's SSC Tournament.(View photos)
The Mocs six seniors this season are defender Gabby Barowski (Alexandria, Va.), defender Nicole Bellini (Winter Park, Fla.), attacker Grace Donovan (Boise, Id.), defender Rachael Griffith (Ellicott City, Md.), attacker Allie Kryjak (Gaithersburg, Md.) and attacker Ashley Robertson (Elliott City, Md.).
In Thursday's game, the Mocs got goals from nine different players, including a career-high four goals from freshman attacker Casey O'Brien (Morris Plains, N.J.) and three goals and an assist from junior attacker Kendall Kerge (Edgewater, Md.). With her three goals, Kerge has now scored 83 goals and is 17 shy of joining the 100 Goal Club.
The Mocs wasted little time in scoring their first goal as Kerge took a pass from Kryjak just 64 seconds into the game to give the home team a 1-0 advantage. Kerge would score her second goal of the game about three minutes later off a pass from Robertson to give the Mocs a 2-0 lead.
O'Brien would get into the scoring act as she scored the next two goals for Mocs to give FSC a 4-0 lead with 17:56 left in the first half.
The Mocs' lead grew to 5-0 with 13:46 left in the first half as sophomore attacker Cayla Shawfield (Oviedo, Fla.) scored an unassisted goal and about two minutes later O'Brien scored a goal off a pass from Kerge to give the Mocs a 6-0 lead.
Sophomore midfielder Emily Santoli (Fort Salonga, N.Y.) scored her 28th goal of the season with 11 minutes left in the opening half to give the Mocs a 7-0 lead.
The Mocs scored seven goals before Saint Leo was able to attempt one shot as their first shot of the game came from Kelsey Burns with 4:24 left in the first half. The Lions would finish with just three shots against junior goalie Taylor Gillis (Bel Air, Md.) as the other two shots came from Neely Regan with 2:08 left in the half and from Burns with 14 seconds left in the opening period.
Robertson would get into the scoring column with a goal with 2:38 left in the first half to give the Mocs an 8-0 lead. Robertson's goal extended her streak of scoring at least one goal to 12 consecutive games.
FSC would close out the first half scoring with a free position goal by redshirt freshman midfielder Shannon Mazza (Kings Park, N.Y.) with 1:22 remaining to give the Mocs a 9-0 lead at the half.
The running clock came into play nearly three minutes into the second half as a free position shot from Kryjak gave the Mocs a 10-0 lead. In women's lacrosse, the clock runs once a team gets up by 10 or more goals. The goal by Kryjak was her fourth of the season and 27th of her career.
FSC's lead grew to 11-0 on an unassisted goal by sophomore attacker Meghan O'Brien (Rochester, N.Y.) with 23:20 left in the game. O'Brien, who was named the SSC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, has now scored at least one goal in six of her last seven games.
Casey O'Brien recorded her fourth goal of the game about 82 seconds later as she tallied an unassisted goal to give the Mocs a 13-0 lead with 16:08 left in the game.
The Mocs added another goal from Kerge on a free position shot with about 14 minutes remaining to push its lead to 14-0.
SLU (3-11, 0-3 SSC) would prevent a shutout as Burns scored an unassisted goal against sophomore goalie Paige Brodbeck (Millersville, Md.), who played the entire second half in relief of Gillis, with 12:15 remaining in the contest.
The Lions would add a second goal nearly three minutes as Regan took a pass from Allie Sheftall for her fifth goal of the season to drop the Mocs lead to 14-2.
Donovan capped the game's scoring on a free position shot with 1:34 left in the game. Donovan's goal was her fifth of the season.
For the game, the Mocs held a 30-9 edge in shots, including a 23-7 edge in shots on goal.
In addition, the Mocs also recorded 18 ground balls, including four apiece from Barowski and Donovan and caused 18 turnovers on the night as 14 different players earned at least one caused turnover, including freshman defender Kelsey O'Connor (West Babylon, N.Y. tying a career high with three in the win.
SLU held an 11-8 edge in draw controls and also an 8-5 advantage in goalie saves.
Gillis played the first half in goal for the Mocs and didn't allow a goal, while recording two saves. Brodbeck played all 30 minutes of the second half and recorded three saves, allowed two goals.
Rebecca Halley played all 60 minutes in goal for the Lions and recorded eight saves, allowed 15 goals and picked up a game high five ground balls.
The Mocs will look to make it nine wins in a row as they close out the regular season with a 7 p.m. game on Thursday, April 21 at third-ranked Rollins. The two teams split their meetings last season as the Mocs earned a 15-8 win in the regular season in Lakeland, but the Tars picked up a 12-10 win in overtime in the championship game of the SSC Tournament at Bryant Stadium.