Pioneers earn 3-1 victory over Catawba

Pioneers earn 3-1 victory over Catawba

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum University collected a 3-1 victory over Catawba College in South Atlantic Conference women's soccer action Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Field.

Elise Gallo scored in the first half, and Sonja Ballmert and Katja Andersson added second-half goals for the Pioneers (4-4-1, 2-2-0 SAC), who snapped a two-match losing streak and defeated the Indians (6-2-0, 2-2-0 SAC) for the fourth consecutive meeting.

Anna Sidders scored the lone goal on a corner kick for the Indians, who outshot the Pioneers 17-15 but were largely unable to solve Tusculum goalkeeper Hannah Graham, who finished with seven saves.

Catawba had an early opportunity as Amber Hand chipped a crossing pass wide of the frame in the ninth minute. The Pioneers had the first shot on goal in the 14th minute on an attempt from distance by Yvette Raaijen that was collected by Indians keeper Shelby Thompson. Tusculum's Kaitlyn Watson had a blast from the top of the box in the 22nd minute that went directly into the midsection of Thompson.

Tusculum went ahead 1-0 at 24:16 as a clear attempt by Thompson off a back pass was smothered by the foot of a Pioneer player directly to Gallo, who chipped a shot from 25 yards into the goal for her second of the season.

Catawba's best scoring chance of the first half came in the 35th minute, when Sidders connected on a shot from 30 yards that hit the underside of the crossbar, hit the ground and spun out into the arms of Graham.

Tusculum extended its lead to 2-0 at 55:12 as Ballmert headed a long service from Nicole McMillen to the far post for her third goal of the season, and the second in as many matches. Brooke Radcliffe nearly made it 3-0 Pioneers in the 59th minute but her attempt from 15 yards was stopped by a lunging Thompson.

Catawba cut the deficit to 2-1 with 25:21 remaining as a corner kick from Sidders curled between the defense and the near post for her first goal of the season. Graham preserved the lead in the 71st minute as she leaped to the upper right corner to stop an attempt from the Indians' Sarah Steedman.

The Pioneers gained an important insurance goal with 16:35 to play as a cross from Jordan Newby was volleyed home in front by Katja Andersson for her first goal of the season and a 3-1 Tusculum lead. Catawba tried to bring the pressure in the closing minutes, but Graham made three routine saves to preserve the Pioneers' two-goal cushion.

Thompson had nine saves for Catawba, as Tusculum finished with a 12-8 advantage in shots on goal in the match. The Pioneers were whistled for 15 fouls to 14 by the Indians, while the Indians had a 4-2 edge in corner kicks.

Tusculum will be on the road Wednesday night for a SAC match at local rival Carson-Newman, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Jefferson City.