Kim Brown nets early goal but Bears score twice in 2nd half
HICKORY, N.C. --- Mariel Mena and Laura Linehan scored goals two minutes apart in the second half to help fifth-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne University rally for a 2-1 victory over Tusculum College in a South Atlantic Conference women's soccer match Saturday afternoon.
The Bears (15-1-0, 9-0-0 SAC) outshot the Pioneers (10-7-1, 5-4-0 SAC) by a 31-4 margin, but trailed 1-0 after Tusculum's Kim Brown scored her sixth goal of the season in the 29th minute. Mena netted the equalizer from 45 yards in the 56th minute, and Linehan followed in the 58th minute with her 10th goal of the season which proved to be the game-winner.
Lenoir-Rhyne held a 9-2 shot advantage through 26 minutes, but Tusculum struck first at 28:39 when Amy Neltner's pass from midfield found Brown, who flicked on and shot from 15 yards to give the Pioneers the 1-0 lead.
After outshooting the Pioneers 16-3 in the first half, the Bears fired the first seven shots of the second half but were denied three times on saves by Tusculum keeper Marissa Williams, while Kaelia Frazier hit the crossbar with another shot.
Mena finally brought the Lions even at 55:39 with her second goal of the season, assisted by Frazier, and Linehan gave Lenoir-Rhyne its first lead of the day at 57:37 as she converted a defensive turnover. Tusculum had just one shot in the second half, an attempt by Tramicka James that sailed wide with just under 19 minutes to play.
Williams finished with 11 saves in goal for the Pioneers, while the Bears' Caitlin Scruggs made one stop.
Tusculum concluded conference play with a 5-4 record, putting the Pioneers in a three-way tie with Newberry and Anderson for third place in the final SAC standings. By virtue of the conference's tiebreaker policy, Newberry claimed the third seed in the Food Lion SAC Tournament, with Anderson earning fourth place and Tusculum fifth.
As a result, the Pioneers will play at Anderson in a Food Lion SAC Tournament quarterfinal match Tuesday at a time to be determined. The semifinals and finals will be played Friday and Sunday, respectively, at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, S.C.
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