ABLIENE, Texas – Sinking the first hat trick of her career, senior Leia Kirch propelled the Rattlers’ 4-2 victory over McMurry University on Thursday.

Nearly reaching her total goals netted last season (7) in the first nine games of this season with six, Kirch (Carrollton, Texas) made quick work of War Hawks (2-4-1) Thursday, snapping her first of three goals less than 1 ½ minutes into the game, assisted by Amanda Cardoza (Jr., El Paso, Texas), to own most of the scoreboard in the win.

However, Kirch’s multiple-goal game spurred another as McMurry’s Savannah Whitaker scored her first of two goals minutes after the Rattlers’ (5-4) celebration for Kirch. Kirch, apparently above her usual A-game, responded once more six minutes into the half, this time unassisted. Whitaker brought it to a tie game, 2-2, once more with her second goal on the day before Amy Akins (So., El Paso, Texas) hit another first for the Rattlers.

Assisted by Leah Snelson (Jr., Dallas), Akins netted her first career goal at the 21st-minute mark to bring St. Mary’s in the lead, 3-2, at halftime.

A goal-filled game, which saw five goals in the first 20 minutes of play, prepped Kirch for her show-stopper. Still hot from her two previous goals, Kirch struck a final time at the 64-minute mark, bringing Snelson to a multiple-assist game as she aided Kirch to her first career hat trick.

The Rattlers’ four goals complemented their heavy hitting, as they totaled 24 shots for the day with 13 shot on goal. Goals-leader Kirch led with eight shots and five shot on goal, followed by Snelson and Jamey Coronado (Jr., San Antonio) with two each. Emilie Snelson (Sr., Fairview, Texas), Akins, Sam Lara (Fr., San Antonio) and Kaitie Kasperitis (So., Corpus Christi, Texas) all finished the contest with one shot on goal.

The Rattler defense and keeper Alyssa Taramona (Fr., Forney, Texas) limited the War Hawks’ shots to eight for the game, with only two shot in the second half.

The Rattlers continue on the road to play the University of Texas-Permian Basin Saturday in Odessa, Texas at 12 p.m.

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