Offense leads Pioneers to 20-12 win at Newberry

Offense leads Pioneers to 20-12 win at Newberry

NEWBERRY, S.C. --- Juliette Cusano and Rachel Holmes returned to the lineup and scored five goals apiece as Tusculum defeated Newberry 20-12 in South Atlantic Conference women's lacrosse action Saturday afternoon at Setzler Field.

Megann McKinney and Sierra Haas each had two goals and an assist and Erin Sims scored twice for the Pioneers (4-8, 2-2 SAC), who led 8-2 at halftime and never let the Wolves (3-9, 1-3 SAC) score more than two consecutive goals.

Rachel Dillon led Newberry with five goals and Helen Kuhn scored three times, but the Wolves were outshot 38-23 by the Pioneers and turned the ball over 19 times compared to 11 by the Pioneers.

Both Cusano and Holmes had missed the last two games for the Pioneers, but combined for 10 goals and two assists as the Pioneers reached the 20-goal mark for the first time since a 22-10 win over Lincoln Memorial on March 30, 2016. Holmes had two assists to finish with a career-high seven points, and also had 10 draw controls to come one shy of the program single-game record.

Newberry opened the scoring on a goal from Dillon with 2:10 gone in the first half, but Tusculum came back as Sims tied it with 23:02 left in the half, followed by back-to-back goals from Holmes for a 3-1 Pioneer lead. Alexis Kahler brought Newberry within 3-2 with 18:24 to go in the half, but the Wolves would go scoreless the rest of the half.

McKinney and Shelby Gray scored for the Pioneers to push the lead to 5-2 with 13:52 to go in the half. The Pioneers then scored three goals in 39 seconds as Holmes, Emily Gleason and Cusano combined to double the Tusculum lead to 8-2, which held all the way to halftime.

Tusculum slowly built its lead in the second half, as goals from Cusano, Holmes and McKinney in the first six minutes helped the Pioneers to an 11-3 lead. Two goals from Haas and one from Cusano left the Pioneers holding a 14-5 lead with 19:08 to go, but the Wolves fought back to within 15-8 with 14:59 remaining.

The Pioneers would respond with three straight goals, from Sims, Cusano, and Holmes, to go ahead 18-8 with 10:38 to go. Tusculum closed out its offensive production on goals from Madison Malone and Hailey Sanders in the final four minutes.

Malone finished with four ground balls to lead the Pioneers, with Gleason adding three. On defense, Sims and Christen Craig had a pair of caused turnovers each, while Sanders had three draw controls and Cusano added two. Newberry was led in ground balls by Naomi Killian with four, with Kuhn and Danielle Laguerra coming up with four draw controls each.

Brooke Wagner started in goal for the Pioneers and made two saves in just over 51 minutes of playing time, with Kaele Lawless adding one stop in nine minutes. For Newberry, Brandy Bowman was credited with nine saves in goal.

Tusculum will return to action on Saturday, April 7 at Pioneer Field against Coker.