Quick start sends Pioneers to 4-0 win at Lees-McRae

Emma MacDonald scores a back-heel goal for the Pioneers (photo by Chris Lenker)
Emma MacDonald scores a back-heel goal for the Pioneers (photo by Chris Lenker)

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Two early goals propelled Tusculum University to a 4-0 victory over Lees-McRae College in non-conference women's soccer action Wednesday afternoon at Tate Field.

Three of the four goals for the Pioneers (3-2-1) came off set pieces, with corner kicks from Nicole McMillen setting up goals by Brooke Radcliffe and Emma MacDonald.

Carly Mill and Jordan Newby also scored for the Pioneers, who entered the week ranked ninth in the United Soccer Coaches Division II Southeast Region poll. Tusculum outshot Lees-McRae (0-6-0) by an 18-8 margin, with freshman keeper Bailey Bosler making four saves to earn the shutout in her first collegiate appearance.

Tusculum took a 1-0 lead at 3:58 as McMillen sent a corner off a Bobcat defender to Radcliffe, who put home her first goal of the season past Lees-McRae keeper Hope Sanborn.

The Bobcats had several corner kicks but were unable to generate offense outside of a shot by Alexa Todd in the 16th minute that was saved by Bosler. The Pioneers extended their lead to 2-0 at 18:36 as Mill collected a feed from Kaitlyn Watson at the top of the box and beat Sanborn for her first of the year.

Tusculum pushed its lead to 3-0 at 34:15 as a free kick from near midfield by Yvette Raaijen was flicked by Newby past Sanborn for her first of the year.

The Pioneers quickly extended their lead to 4-0 at 3:12 of the second half as a corner kick by McMillen was sent along by Sonja Ballmert to MacDonald, who back-heeled a shot past Sanborn for her second goal of the year. McMillen's assist was her sixth of the season, leading the South Atlantic Conference.

Lees-McRae generated little offense against the Tusculum defense, with their final shot from Maddie Olson with 12 minutes left being stopped by Bosler. The Pioneers had the final five shots in the match, including an attempt from Chelsea Sheerin that hit the post with just under eight minutes to go.

Bosler made three of her four saves in the second half to post the clean sheet in her first collegiate appearance. Sanborn, making her first start of the season and the second of her career, finished with five saves for the Bobcats.

Both teams finished with five corner kicks in the match, while Tusculum was whistled for nine fouls to six for Lees-McRae.

The Pioneers will return to SAC action on Saturday when they visit Wingate for a 5 p.m. match.