Pioneers pick up 3-0 victory at Lees-McRae

Pioneers pick up 3-0 victory at Lees-McRae

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Tusculum University defeated Lees-McRae College 3-0 in non-conference women's soccer action Wednesday night.

Jamila Thombs, Yvette Raaijen and Tina Haig scored for the Pioneers (3-2-0), who outshot the Bobcats (0-4-0) by a 22-6 margin, including 13-3 in shots on goal. Tusculum led 1-0 at halftime and added to the advantage with goals in the 54th and 75th minutes.

Cecilie Ting Mortensen made three saves in goal for the Pioneers to earn her second shutout of the season. Tusculum also had an 8-2 edge in corner kicks over Lees-McRae, which received 10 saves from keeper Makayla Willets.

The best scoring chance of the first 20 minutes came from the Bobcats' Lianna Smith, who broke behind the defense and had a one-on-one opportunity against Mortensen, but shot wide in the 17th minute.

A free kick set up the scoring for the Pioneers, as Kaitlyn Watson's service into the box caromed around to Thombs, who beat Willets at 25:01 for her first goal of the season and a 1-0 Tusculum lead.

Tusculum, which outshot Lees-McRae 7-2 in the first half, came out with the pressure in the second half as Kate Guildford had a shot stopped by Willets in the 47th minute.

In the 54th minute, the Pioneers were awarded a penalty kick after a Bobcat defender knocked down Radcliffe in the box. Raaijen stepped up and beat Willets to the opposite side for a 2-1 Tusculum lead with 31:14 remaining.

Mortensen made her first save of the second half in the 63rd minute on a shot from Lees-McRae's Pali Smith, but otherwise it was all Tusculum on the attack as Willets had to make saves on Watson in the 65th minute, Chelsea Sheerin in the 67th minute on a punch over the crossbar, and Chayse Stonebraker in the 70th minute on another punch over the bar.

Haig provided the Pioneers with the final margin at 74:11 as she received a crossing pass from Radcliffe and guided home her second goal of the season. Meanwhile, Mortensen preserved the clean sheet as she directed away a shot by the Bobcats' Katie Jo Daniel in the 82nd minute on what would be Lees-McRae's final shot of the night.

Tusculum will open its South Atlantic Conference schedule on the road Saturday at 1 p.m. at Lenoir-Rhyne.