Balanced attack leads UVa-Wise past Pioneers, 19-8

Balanced attack leads UVa-Wise past Pioneers, 19-8

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Four players scored three goals and three more added two apiece to lead Virginia-Wise to a 19-8 victory over Tusculum Wednesday afternoon in non-conference women's lacrosse action at Pioneer Field.

Jesse French, McKayla Grasham and Katie Allen each had three goals and two assists for the Cavaliers (2-1), while Kristen Gobbi finished with two goals and three assists. UVa-Wise outshot Tusculum 42-23 and had a 20-8 advantage in draw controls over the Pioneers.

Brittany Lowery scored three goals to lead the Pioneers (0-4) with two goals from Juliette Cusano and three assists by Bailey Lowery. The Pioneers trailed 9-4 at halftime and were limited to one goal in the final 12 minutes by the Cavaliers, who scored seven straight goals in a span of six minutes of the first half to take the lead for good.

Tusculum scored the first goal of the game with 23:34 left in the first half as Rachel Holmes tallied with UVa-Wise down a player, off an assist from Emily Youngblood. The Cavaliers then scored seven unanswered goals to build a 7-1 lead, with two goals each from French and Allen during the run. Tusculum ended the surge on a goal by Brittany Lowery with 13:19 left in the half, and Cusano netted her first of the day with 8:43 remaining to cut the margin to 7-3.

After being held scoreless for nearly six minutes, the Cavaliers' Caroline Earnshaw scored twice in 26 seconds to extend the UVa-Wise lead to 9-3 with 8:03 left in the half. Youngblood would close out the scoring as the Pioneers trailed 9-4 heading to intermission.

Cusano's second goal of the game brought the Pioneers within 9-5 just 2 1/2 minutes into the second half, but Allen and Sydney Steinberg stretched out the Cavaliers' lead to 11-5 with 25:36 to go. Brittany Lowery responded with 23:14 to go to make it an 11-6 game, but Grasham scored 26 seconds later to kick-start a run of five out of six goals by the Cavaliers. Eliza Ryan scored off a Bailey Lowery assist with 12:06 left to interrupt the UVa-Wise run.

Brittany Lowery closed out the scoring with 6:35 left off a feed from Bailey Lowery, and the Cavaliers netted the final three goals from Ashley Wells, French and Gobbi to set the final score.

In addition to her three goals and two assists, Grasham had 13 draw controls and two ground balls for the Cavaliers. Jessica Apgar had six ground balls and three caused turnovers, and Gobbi added four ground balls and three caused turnovers.

For the Pioneers, Cusano had three caused turnovers and two draw controls while Linden Perkins led all field players with three ground balls.

Tusculum was 21-for-32 on clear attempts while UVa-Wise was successful on 21 of its 23 clears. The Pioneers committed 26 turnovers to 23 for the Cavaliers, and Tusculum caused 10 turnovers while UVa-Wise forced 11.

Kate Pipkin made 15 saves in goal for the Pioneers and also had a team-high five ground balls. For the Cavaliers, Elsa Girardo recorded eight saves in the victory.

Tusculum will be back home on Saturday to face Walsh in a non-conference game beginning at 1 p.m. at Pioneer Field.