GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- After opening the season against two ranked NAIA opponents, the Tusculum University women's lacrosse team continues a five-game homestand this week when the Pioneers entertain Shorter University on Thursday at 5 p.m. and Young Harris on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Pioneer Field.
Tusculum (1-1) rallied twice but fell 15-14 to third-ranked Cumberlands in their season opener last Wednesday night on the road, then the Pioneers roared to a 20-6 victory over 10th-ranked Tennessee Wesleyan in the home opener on Monday afternoon.
RECAPPING THE WEEK
Against Cumberlands, the Pioneers trailed 6-0 before tying the game at 10-10 in the second half, then fell behind 15-11 but came back to within one goal before seeing the tying shot go wide as time expired.
Freshman Tia Tuininga had five goals in her collegiate debut for the Pioneers, while Megann McKinney returned after missing the 2019 season due to injury and had two goals and two assists. Juliette Cusano and Kylie Marek each had two goals for the Pioneers, who were 6-for-13 on free position shots and outshot 34-29 by the Patriots.
On Monday, the Pioneers raced past Tennessee Wesleyan 20-6 as Cusano scored five of her game-high six goals in the first half. Emily Youngblood and Marek each had three goals and an assist, while Tuininga recorded two goals and two assists in the victory.
The Pioneers outshot the Bulldogs 27-7 in the first half and 39-16 for the match, while taking a 13-2 lead at intermission. Nine different players scored for Tusculum in the win, including Harley Smith who had her first career goal and Bethany Thomas who delivered her first career assist.
Shorter (0-1) lost its season opener 19-3 to Georgetown (Kentucky) on Feb. 7 at home. The Hawks, who went 5-11 last season and 2-7 in the Gulf South Conference, received all three of their goals from Amani Robinson in the loss.
Robinson is the top returning scorer for the Hawks with 27 goals last season, with Alexis Mount back after scoring 13 goals as a freshman.
Shorter beat Tusculum 16-12 at Pioneer Field on Feb. 6 of last season, their first-ever win over the Pioneers. Tusculum won the prior two meetings in 2015 and 2016, both at Shorter.
Young Harris (1-1) has been idle since an 18-6 loss at home to eighth-ranked Florida Southern last Friday. Young Harris beat Mars Hill 20-14 in its season opener on Feb. 11 as Taylor Greenberg scored six goals. Greenberg and Mary Deatrick had two goals apiece for Young Harris in the loss to Florida Southern.
Last season, Young Harris finished 11-7 overall and 7-1 in the Gulf South Conference, losing 15-11 to Alabama Huntsville in the finals. Leigh Anne Turner is the top returning scorer for the Mountain Lions with 41 goals a year ago, while Greenberg finished with 36 goals, Anna Luckie had 34 goals and Deatrick tallied 33.
Young Harris defeated the Pioneers 21-5 at home in the first-ever meeting between the programs on March 19 of last season. Deatrick led the Mountain Lions with four goals in the win.
Cusano is tied for ninth in the South Atlantic Conference with eight goals in two games, and she and Tuininga are tied for 11th in the league with nine points. Eliza Ryan is leading the Pioneers in ground balls with seven (tied for 12th in the SAC), and Marek is 10th in the league with eight draw controls.
On defense, Cusano leads the Pioneers and is tied for fourth in the conference with six caused turnovers, while goalkeeper Kate Pipkin is third in goals against average (11.33) and is seventh in saves with 10.
As a team, Tusculum is third in the conference with 17.0 goals per game and leads the SAC with 13 free position goals. Tusculum also ranks second in the conference with 15.0 draw controls per game.
FOLLOW THE GAMES
Links to live stats and video for Tusculum University athletic events can be found through tusculumpioneers.com.