During the spring break week, most students were able to go home or have a cool vacation with their friends. For many athletes, however, it was a time of hard work and early mornings. Seven Saint Leo teams, including Baseball, Softball, Track, Tennis, and Lacrosse, had to stay on campus most of the spring break for practice and games.
The Baseball team had a total of nine games that started off on the first weekend with games against baseball powerhouse Tampa. The University of Tampa Spartans are known for having one of the best Baseball programs in Division II, which won several National Championships over the last years. The number three ranked Spartans showed their class and beat the fighting Lions in all three games.
In the game against the University of Bridgetown, the Lions created a thrilling game for all the spectators that came out to the Thomas B. Southard Stadium on the first Monday of spring break. Bridgetown took the early lead, but the Lions quickly countered with seven runs in the third inning. The Lions continued with another stunning seven run inning that put them to a 15-5 lead. However, Bridgewater found their strength and started catching up.
Before the last inning, the score was 18-11 for the Lions, but Bridgeport stepped up their game and scored six runs to tie with the Lions. In the last inning the Lions were not able to score any runs and the game went to another inning. In the end, the Lions were able to prevent any runs in the top of the tenth and score a run in the bottom of the tenth. The Baseball team continued with confidence to a five-game slate against Rollins College, of which they won three and lost two games.
The Women’s Softball team had a similarly busy schedule with seven games against three different programs. The Lions, that are currently ranked as number 11, started off their spring break with massive confidence as the team beat Eckerd College in all three games. On the Tuesday during spring break, the Lions hosted number 18 ranked Caldwell University.
In a showdown that was supposed to be a close game, the Saint Leo Softball team showed their class and won the first game 5-0. In the second game, the Lions continued their dominance to win 12-3. On the second weekend of the break, the team travelled to Lynn University to play the Knights in three games. Starting off with a loss on Friday the Lions showed up Saturday with two clear wins beating the knights 4-1 and 7-4.
The Men’s Lacrosse team had a lot to celebrate during their spring break, winning three out of three games. The Lions defeated North Greenville and Westminster, while dominating the game against their region competitor Alabama Huntsville with a 21-3 win. With these wins the Lions earned their number 15 spot in the country and maintained it. In addition to that, the Sunshine State Conference awarded two Lions with an Offensive Player of the Week award for Junior Jake Gilmour and the Defensive Player of the Week award for Sophomore Thomas Tatarian.
The Women’s Lacrosse team was able to be almost as successful, by winning two out of their three games. Only in the first spring break game, Seton Hill University beat the Lions on their home turf. Other than that, the Lions could not be stopped against Belmont Abbey and the University of Alabama Huntsville. Saint Leo stand-outs were Caroline Fraser in the offense and goalkeeper Rebecca Halley in the defense.
The Track team had to return early as well from their spring break to compete at the USF Bulls Invitational. The event kicked off Mar. 17 with the men’s and women’s five-kilometer race, where the Lions scored multiple top ten positions. On Saturday, the events continued with distances from 100 meter to the three-kilometer steeplechase. On that day, the top performers for Saint Leo were the two steeplechasers Joshua Sickinger and Colett Rampf. Sickinger won the men’s race in a new school record time, while Colett Rampf won her race with a NCAA Division II qualifying mark.
Overall, the Lions were able to shine during the very active spring break. All teams look strong getting closer to the championship season, where they have the goal to represent Saint Leo University at the Regional and National level. The Lions’ Pride Newspaper will continue to report about the next games on campus.