Gannon Chills Lenoir-Rhyne in Cold Home Opener

ERIE, Pa. - Stevie Lombardoni (Mexico, N.Y./Mexico) was red hot Monday night during a match that started with wind chills in single digits. Her career-high six goals propelled Gannon to a 13-8 victory against Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) in the home opener at a frozen Gannon University Field.

With the temperature sitting at 25 degrees at opening draw and dropping throughout the contest, Gannon scored the first three goals while holding Lenoir-Rhyne scoreless for the first eight minutes and 12 seconds. Christie Valentine (Friendship, Md./Annapolis Area Christian), Tessa Mitchell (Rush, N.Y./Rush Henrietta) and Lombardoni found the back of the net during the opening run.

Gannon used another defensive lock down to assume a 6-2 halftime lead. The Lady Knights held the visiting Bears scoreless for the final 15:38 of the first half. Meanwhile, Mitchell and Lombardoni tallied back-to-back goals to produce a four-goal advantage at the intermission.

The Lombardoni-Mitchell duo struck again during the opening 2:09 of the second half, extending Gannon's lead to 8-2. Lenoir-Rhyne's drought finally ended with Lauren Donovan's goal at the 27:07 mark. The scoreless stretch lasted 18 minutes and 31 seconds. The two squads split the final 10 goals until the Lady Knights celebrated a cold 13-8 victory.

Lombardoni led all scorers with a career-high six goals, six ground balls and three draw controls. Mitchell recorded her first career hat trick with three goals, one assist and five draw controls. Valentine chipped in two goals and two assists.

Kelsey Bright (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) contributed with one goal and two assists. Mallory Delaney (Clarence Center, N.Y./Clarence) completed the scoring with a single tally. Margaret Maslyn (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) earned the victory in goal, making a season-high eight saves.

Lenoir-Rhyne held advantages in shots (24-23), draw controls (12-11) and fewest turnovers (21-22) despite the loss. Gannon picked up 34 ground balls, compared to the Bears' 30. Lauren Donovan produced three of Lenoir-Rhyne's eight goals.

Gannon evened its record at 2-2 with its second consecutive victory. Lenoir-Rhyne dropped to 5-3. The Lady Knights return to action Wednesday, March 19 at Notre Dame (Ohio). Game time is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.


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