No. 13 Gannon Falls at Florida Southern in Season Opener

LAKELAND, Fla. Florida Southern broke open a tight match by scoring nine of the first 10 goals during the second half and defeated No. 13 Gannon 18-10 Wednesday night during the Lady Knights' season opener.

Gannon's first contest featured ties at one, two, three, four and five. The Lady Knights' only lead of the evening came at 4-3 following Christie Valentine's (Friendship, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) goal with 11:58 left in the first half. The score came off an assist from Kimberly Neagle (Auburn, N.Y./Auburn). Jess Fugate (Wooster, Ohio/Wooster) had previously knotted the match at four with a free-position goal.

Florida Southern tied the affair again at four 37 seconds left. Tied at five moments later, the Moccasins scored three consecutive goals to assume an 8-5 lead with 2:53 left in the half. It was a lead the home team would never relinquish.

Fugate added another free-position goal at the 1:07 mark, before Florida Southern's Caitlin Chase found the back of the net with 13 seconds showing on the clock. The late score sent the Moccasins into the break with a 9-7 advantage.

Florida Southern caught fire during the second half, rattling off the first four goals during the opening 10 minutes and 17 seconds. After Natalie Bonnepart's (San Jose, Calif./Gunderson) goal at the 18:11 mark, the Moccasins exploded for another five scores to produce a running clock at 18-8 with 9:19 remaining.

Gannon was able to recorded two goals during the final four minutes. Caitlyn Fisher (Cypress, Texas/Cy-Fair) scored unassisted with 3:57 remaining, before Stevie Lombardoni's (Mexico, N.Y./Mexico) score off an assist from Neagle capped the scoring with 1:20 to play.

Neagle headlined the Gannon offensive attack with three goals and three assists. Fugate also recorded a hat trick with three goals of her own along with one assist.

Fisher, Bonnepart, Valentine and Lombardoni added one goal each. Margaret Maslyn (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) recorded nine saves between the pipes, turning away four shots during the first half and five more during the final 30 minutes.

Gannon, ranked 13th in the latest Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Top 15 Poll, dropped to 0-1 with the season-opening loss. Florida Southern, which was among others receiving votes in the same national poll, improved to 4-1. The Lady Knights continue their Spring Trip Friday, March 8 against Regis (Colo.) on a neutral field in Davenport, Florida. Game time is scheduled for 11:00 a.m.


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