Soccer Glory, Lions in NCAA Tournament

November 10, 2011

Soccer_2011_1Lions in NCAA Tournament

Soccer fans, both newcomers and longtime followers, have reason to cheer this weekend as Saint Leo University claims a spot in the women’s NCAA Division II South Region Tournament. Saint Leo is also hosting tournament matches at the new NCAA game field at University Campus.

Soccer_2011_2 This post-season glory follows two other significant milestones: with 15 wins, the team earned the title of Sunshine State Conference champions, as well as a sixth-placed ranking in Division II.

The upcoming NCAA matches have the team members excited, says Coach Ged O’Connor. “They’re keen and they’re ready, and they want to get out there and play.”

The Lions will take to the pitch at 1 p.m., Sunday, November 13. Their opponent will be the winner of a match Friday, November 11, between the Florida Tech Panthers and the Lynn University Fighting Knights. That match starts at 1 p.m. and will also be played at University Campus. Tickets for both contests can be purchased at the gates, and results will be posted at

The year has already been a stellar one, with both team and individual accomplishments. Coach O’Connor was named Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year, and senior Cassie Barbaresi was named the conference’s Player of the Year. Six student athletes were placed on the All-Conference team: Barbaresi, Dari Alcantara, Aija Bent-Trinder, Laura Carstens, Pia Soesemann, and Ari Foreman.

Soccer_2011_3 In addition, senior Jasmine Johnson was recently profiled on Tampa’s WTSP-TV 10 News. Reporter Travis Bell brought viewers the remarkable story of Johnson’s college athletic career. She had to take time off from school to care for siblings, and then faced another challenge with a diagnosis of leukemia. Soccer has always helped her stay focused, Johnson told the reporter.

The Lions’ victories this year, both personal and athletic, have helped bring the team added attention and new friends, Coach O’Connor is pleased to note. “There has definitely been more people supporting us and following us.”