Pioneer defense shuts down Mars Hill in 13-5 SAC victory

Pioneer defense shuts down Mars Hill in 13-5 SAC victory

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum men's lacrosse team held Mars Hill scoreless for a span of more than 37 minutes in a 13-5 victory in the South Atlantic Conference opener for both teams Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Field.

The Pioneers (3-3, 1-0 SAC) scored 11 consecutive goals from midway through the second quarter to late in the fourth quarter and outshot the Lions (1-5, 0-1 SAC) by a 52-26 margin in the victory. Dallas Wade scored four goals and Chris Ryan and Tyler Klarner each had two goals and three assists for the Pioneers, who outscored the Lions by a combined 10-1 margin in the second and third quarters to turn a 2-2 tie into a 14-3 lead.

Tusculum opened the scoring just 54 seconds into the first half on a goal by Dallas Wade set up by Ryan, but Mars Hill knotted the score at 1-1 as Jake Trafton scored with 8:54 to play in the first quarter. Ryan pushed the Pioneers on top 2-1 with 6:21 to play in the quarter, but goals by the Lions' Dima Ferreira and Parker Beaudry, the latter with Mars Hill up two men, gave the visitors a 3-2 lead with 12:20 left in the second quarter.

A flurry of three goals in 51 seconds gave Tusculum the lead for good, as Liam Macdonald scored the tying goal with 8:37 left in the first half and Ethan Bohannon followed after winning the faceoff just nine seconds later. Nate Wade netted the first of two consecutive goals with 7:46 left in the second quarter for a 5-3 Tusculum lead, and scored again with 2:31 left in the half. Dallas Wade closed out the first half with a goal with 14 seconds remaining as the Pioneers carried a 7-3 advantage into halftime.

Tusculum piled on the scoring early in the third quarter, scoring three times in 2 1/2 minutes to build their lead to 10-3. Ryan, Klarner and Dallas Wade all scored during the surge for the Pioneers, with goals from Klarner and Dallas Wade in the latter half of the quarter giving the Pioneers a 12-3 lead heading to the fourth.

Charles Mills closed the scoring for the Pioneers with 5:19 left, before Tremain Hill broke a Mars Hill drought of 37 minutes, 41 seconds as he scored with 4:39 left. Spencer Andrews scored the second man-up goal of the game for the Lions with 24 seconds left to set the final margin.

Tusculum finished the game with a 37-21 edge in ground balls, led by seven from Bohannon who went 14-for-19 at the faceoff dot. Andrew Kransberger and Joel Edgar had four ground balls apiece for the Pioneers, with three from Dallas Wade and Quentin Jennings. Noah Landriault and Garrett Mack led the Lions with four ground balls each, with Mack adding a game-high three caused turnovers.

Mars Hill finished 2-for-4 on extra-man opportunities while Tusculum was 1-for-3 with the man-up. The Pioneers were successful on 17-of-20 clears in the contest while the Lions succeeded on 16-of-22 clear attempts.

Patrick Thomas finished with 11 saves in goal for the Pioneers, with Ryan Pickering and Will Bender adding one apiece in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Ryan Kearney played all 60 minutes in goal for the Lions and tallied 17 saves.

The Pioneers will be back home on Saturday, March 17 for a match with fifth-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne, beginning at 3 p.m.