DeHart scores twice as Pioneers defeat Tennessee Wesleyan in home opener

DeHart scores twice as Pioneers defeat Tennessee Wesleyan in home opener

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Payton DeHart scored two goals, including the match-winner with 7:28 left in the second half, as Tusculum defeated Tennessee Wesleyan 2-1 in non-conference women's soccer action Wednesday night at Pioneer Field.

DeHart's brace gave the Pioneers (2-1-0) the victory over the Bulldogs (1-2-0) in their home opener and were the first two goals of the season for the Pioneer senior.

Tusculum had taken a 1-0 lead on a goal by DeHart in the 12th minute, but Tennessee Wesleyan tied the game in the 27th minute on a shot from long range by Emiley Saddler. The match remained deadlocked for the next 56 minutes, which reflected in the final shot margin of 11-10 in favor of Tusculum and 3-2 in corner kicks to the Pioneers.

The Pioneers had the first five shot attempts of the match, with the fifth coming as DeHart collected a loose ball in the box and fired a shot past Bulldog keeper Cooper Bartley at 11:44 for a 1-0 lead. Tennessee Wesleyan put its first shot on goal at 17:45 as Els van Hooijdonk's curling shot from the right wing was snagged by Tusculum keeper Tatiana Brady.

The Bulldogs tied the game at 1-1 at 26:39 as Saddler made two moves around the Pioneer defense and shot from the top of the half-circle, putting the ball past Brady to deadlock the score.

Tennessee Wesleyan nearly took a 2-1 lead at 61:17 as a shot from van Hooijdonk was nearly tapped home by a sliding Nicole Broderick. Both teams continued to search for an opportunity, with a shot by the Bulldogs Chloe Rootes going wide with 12:43 left.

Tusculum finally grabbed the lead with under eight minutes to play off a scramble in front. Brooke Radcliffe's shot from the box was deflected by Bulldog keeper McKenna Loges off the goalpost. The rebound caromed into the 6-yard area, where DeHart beat Loges and a defender to the ball and used two attempts to trickle the ball over the line for a 2-1 Pioneer lead.

The Bulldogs' final chance came on a shot by Livia Walker that went wide with 4:39 left, and the Pioneers were able to run out the clock in the closing minutes to secure their seventh win over Tennessee Wesleyan in 10 all-time meetings, and first since 2009.

Danielle Breen played the second half in goal for the Pioneers and was not credited with any saves, but earned the victory. Loges had two saves in the second half for the Bulldogs, after Bartley had zero stops in the first half.

Tusculum will head on the road for two matches this weekend at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia. The Pioneers will face second-ranked Columbus State on Friday at 4 p.m. in a match that was scheduled in the wake of travel concerns by teams from Florida in advance of Hurricane Irma.