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Top-ranked Limestone pulls away in fourth for win over Pioneers

Top-ranked Limestone pulls away in fourth for win over Pioneers

GAFFNEY, S.C. --- Top-ranked Limestone College pulled away in the fourth quarter for an 18-7 victory over Tusculum University in non-conference men's lacrosse action Friday night at Saints Field.

The Saints (2-0) outscored the Pioneers 6-0 in the fourth quarter and won 20 of 28 faceoffs. Tyler Papa led Limestone with five goals and two assists, while Larson Sundown and Dorian Faster each had two goals and two assists for the Saints.

Lorenz Brown and Josh Pickford each had two goals for the Pioneers (1-1), while Liam Macdonald had three assists and a team-high seven ground balls. Tusculum went 2-for-4 with the man advantage and was outshot by Limestone by a slim 37-34 margin. Quinn McKitrick had four ground balls and tied the program single-game record of five caused turnovers set by Jake Smith against Lees-McRae on Feb. 19, 2014 and equaled by McKitrick against Brevard on March 4, 2017.

The Saints scored the first five goals and final six goals of the match, with the teams playing 7-7 for the middle 30 minutes of the contest. Limestone finished with a 42-30 advantage in ground balls, but the Saints committed 20 turnovers to 18 for the Pioneers.

Goals from Jake Crotser and Sundown gave the Saints a 2-0 lead after four minutes, and back-to-back goals in a span of 12 seconds from Papa and Dakota Kirsch-Downs extended the Limestone lead to 4-0 with 5:23 to go in the quarter. After Gavin Kesselring pushed the Saints up 5-0 with 3:30 left in the period, the Pioneers responded 12 seconds later on a goal by Brown. Braden Elam scored with 21 seconds remaining to cut the Limestone lead to 5-2 after one quarter.

The Saints scored the first four goals of the second quarter to go ahead 9-2, with Papa scoring twice in a span of 42 seconds. Tusculum responded as Brown and Pickford tallied to cut the deficit to 9-4 with 4:41 to play in the half. After Sundown extended the Saints' lead to 10-4 with 2:22 to go, AJ Hems scored with the man advantage with 1:10 left as Tusculum trailed 10-5 at halftime.

Pickford scored a man-up goal with 9:45 left in the third quarter to pull the Pioneers within 10-6, but Clark Walter responded with 8:15 remaining in the period for an 11-6 Limestone lead. Papa's fourth of the evening made it 12-6 Limestone with 7:16 to play in the third, but Jordan Daniel answered with 2:46 left in the period to bring the Pioneers back to within 12-7.

The Saints controlled the action in the fourth quarter, outshooting Tusculum 10-2 with two goals apiece from Dorian Faster and Ethan Stannard for Limestone during their six-goal run to end the match.

Kirsch-Downs was 11-for-14 on faceoffs for Limestone and had 11 ground balls, while Christopher Parrott collected six ground balls and was 9-for-14 at the faceoff dot. Crotser had a team-high five caused turnovers for the Saints, while Sundown had a pair of caused turnovers to go along with five ground balls.

Ross Geiger finished with nine saves in goal for the Pioneers, while Gary Cutler came up with 13 stops for the Saints.

Tusculum will play its home opener on Monday, Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. at Pioneer Field against Maryville (Missouri) in the first meeting between the programs.

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