Bell sets goals, points records in 23-8 win over Lees-McRae

Bell sets goals, points records in 23-8 win over Lees-McRae

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Keegan Bell set program single-game records with seven goals and 10 points as Tusculum University beat Lees-McRae College 23-8 in non-conference men's lacrosse action Saturday at Pioneer Field.

Bell's seven goals broke the single-game record of six set by Chris Ryan against Emmanuel on March 11, 2017, while his 10 points shattered the old record of eight which was set by Nate Wade against Coker on April 6, 2018.

Kale Lawrence and Braden Elam each finished with seven points, with Lawrence collecting five goals and two assists and Elam four goals and three assists. Josh Pickford had two goals and two assists and Liam Macdonald dished out four assists for the Pioneers (1-1), whose 23 goals are tied for the fourth-most in a single game in school history.

Craig Barr had two goals and an assist for the Bobcats (0-2) with Matt Clary scoring a pair of goals. Tusculum finished the game with a 45-24 advantage in shots and a 22-13 edge in faceoffs. Tusculum also went 2-for-2 with the man advantage and forced Lees-McRae into 31 turnovers and 12 failed clears.

Lawrence scored twice in the first two minutes off assists from Macdonald before Barr scored off a turnover to cut the Pioneer lead to 2-1 with 10:27 left in the first quarter. Tusculum then scored four straight goals, with goals from Pickford and Charles Mills followed by a pair from Bell for a 6-1 Tusculum lead with 2:36 left in the first quarter. Clary scored with 1:03 left as the Pioneers led 6-2 after a quarter with an 11-5 shot advantage.

The Pioneers shut out the Bobcats in the second quarter, finishing with a 12-5 edge in shots. Bell scored four of the five goals for the Pioneers and assisted on one from Lawrence midway through the quarter as the Pioneers led 11-2 at halftime.

Lees-McRae came out with a surge in the third quarter, scoring three times in 80 seconds to pull within 11-5. However, the Pioneers would reel off five straight goals including three from Elam and one each from Pickford and Quinn McKitrick to go on top 16-5. After Lees-McRae pulled back within 16-7 on goals from Clary and Landon Barrow, Elam and Bell closed the third quarter with two quick goals to give the Pioneers an 18-7 lead heading to the fourth. Bell's goal with 19 seconds left in the quarter gave him the program single-game records for both goals and points.

In the fourth quarter, the Pioneers outscored the Bobcats 5-1 as AJ Hems, Luke Doehring and Mills scored single goals and Lawrence scored twice, including with the man advantage with 7:24 to play. A goal by Barr with 4:03 left was the final goal of the afternoon for Lees-McRae.

Tusculum's defense enjoyed a solid afternoon, as McKitrick had four ground balls and two caused turnovers to go along with his goal. Joel Edgar finished with four ground balls and Connor Coleman added five. For the Bobcats, Tristan Hashemi and Benjamin Davidson had four ground balls apiece.

At the faceoff dot, Tusculum's Addison Wilkins went 14-for-22 and had nine ground balls, while Andy Michalski was 6-for-9 with four ground balls and Tyler Nunenmacher was 2-for-4. For the Bobcats, Ryan Beauchamp was 7-for-15 on faceoffs with eight ground balls, one of which he turned into a goal.

Ross Geiger played nearly 52 minutes in goal for the Pioneers and had eight saves, with Patrick Thomas making one stop in the final 8:20. For Lees-McRae, Cameron Castle had nine saves and Rob Mendez added one in the final six minutes.

Tusculum will head to the road for the first time this season to visit Alabama-Huntsville on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern time (noon local time).