Pioneers win fourth straight at home, 2-0 over Lees-McRae

Pioneers win fourth straight at home, 2-0 over Lees-McRae

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Goals in each half allowed Tusculum to defeat Lees-McRae 2-0 in non-conference women's soccer action Wednesday night at Pioneer Field.

Payton DeHart scored in the 26th minute and Jordan Newby added a goal in the 64th minute for the Pioneers (7-3-0), who are 4-0 at home this season and have allowed just one goal in those four victories.

Tusculum outshot Lees-McRae (1-7-2) by a 24-7 margin in the match, with Bobcat goalie Alexis Feely keeping her team in the game by making 12 saves. Hannah Graham needed to make just one save to earn her fourth shutout of the season for the Pioneers.

Lees-McRae took three of the first four shots in the match, all coming from Tegan Dean in a span of just over a minute. Sonja Ballmert put the first shot on goal in the match, but was stopped by Feely with exactly 13 minutes gone in the first half. Carly Mill had a turnaround shot from close range in the 15th minute, but her try was smothered by Feely.

DeHart broke through at 25:26 as she collected a turnover near midfield and launched a shot from 23 yards that beat Feely to the left side for a 1-0 Tusculum lead and her third goal of the season. Lees-McRae threatened to tie the score less than three minutes later, but Graham beat Riley Neese to a loose ball and smothered it to preserve the Pioneer lead.

Tusculum continued to apply pressure in the first half, with a shot by Kate Guildford stopped by Feely in the 33rd minute and a volley attempt from Guildford sailing high in the 35th minute. Neese nearly tied the match with just under two minutes left in the half, but the Tusculum defense deflected her shot wide of the goal.

The Pioneers outshot the Bobcats 12-6 in the first half, and extended their lead to 2-0 at 63:16 as Newby, who had just come on as a substitute, took a through ball from Guildford off a turnover and trickled a 15-yard shot past Feely for her third goal of the year.

Tusculum looked to tack on a third goal, but Feely made a lunging save on Katja Andersson in the 67th minute and Lauren Paulsen cleared a header from Carly Culler off the line in the 76th minute. Less than a minute later, Yvette Raaijen fired a free kick from 40 yards that caromed off the crossbar.

Meanwhile, the Tusculum defense clamped down on Lees-McRae in the second half, allowing just a wide shot attempt by Dean in the 60th minute. The Pioneers had 12 of the 13 shot tries in the second half, putting eight on the Bobcat goal.

The Pioneers finished with a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks over the Bobcats, while Tusculum was called for five fouls to four by Lees-McRae. Tusculum was also flagged five times for offsides while Lees-McRae was caught twice.

Tusculum will be back in South Atlantic Conference action Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Field, hosting Coker beginning at 2 p.m.