GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Joe Buduo scored four of his game-high seven goals in the second half as fourth-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne rallied from a four-goal deficit to defeat Tusculum 14-10 in South Atlantic Conference men's lacrosse action Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Field.
The Bears (8-1, 2-0 SAC) held the Pioneers scoreless for the final 36 minutes, 28 seconds and scored the final six goals of the match, including all four in the fourth quarter after the teams played to a 10-10 tie through the first three periods. Ryan Bell added three goals and three assists as Lenoir-Rhyne came back after trailing 7-3 and 8-4 midway through the second quarter.
Andrew Kransberger led the Pioneers (3-4, 1-1 SAC) with two goals and an assist and Nate Wade and Tyler Klarner scored twice apiece for Tusculum, which lost to a nationally-ranked opponent for the third time this season. Keegan Bell added a goal and two assists and Chris Ryan, Liam Macdonald and Ethan Bohannon also scored for the Pioneers, who were outshot by the Bears by a 44-40 margin.
Tusculum opened the scoring with 10:40 left in the first quarter as Klarner scored off a feed from Bell, but Lenoir-Rhyne needed just 36 seconds to gain the lead as Buduo scored twice in a span of 17 seconds to push the Bears on top 2-1. Wade tied the score with 8:08 remaining in the first quarter, but Mitchell Linklater responded 13 seconds later to put Lenoir-Rhyne back on top 3-2 with 7:55 to play in the first quarter. Klarner tied the game at 3-3 just 25 seconds after Linklater's goal, and tallies from Kransberger and Wade left Tusculum with a 5-3 lead after the opening 15 minutes.
The Pioneers extended their scoring run to five consecutive goals as Kransberger scored in the first minute of the second quarter and Ryan followed five minutes later for a 7-3 Tusculum lead. Buduo broke the Bears drought at just under 15 minutes with his third goal of the afternoon with 8:18 to go in the first half, but Bell replied for Tusculum with 6:22 remaining in the quarter as Tusculum led 8-4. Ryan Bell scored twice in the final six minutes of the half for the Bears, once with the man advantage, as Tusculum went to the locker room with an 8-6 lead.
Buduo's fourth goal of the game came 31 seconds into the third quarter and pulled the Bears within 8-7, but Macdonald scored just under three minutes later as Tusculum went on top 9-7. Buduo responded just 13 seconds later as Lenoir-Rhyne came within 9-8, only to see Bohannon win the ensuing faceoff and score just nine seconds later for a 10-8 Tusculum lead. However, that would be the final goal of the day for the Pioneers as the Bears tied the score at 10-10 on goals by Buduo and Ryan Bell midway through the third quarter.
The Bears pounced for two quick goals to start the fourth quarter, as Eric Dickinson and Anthony Fraga scored in the opening minute for a 12-10 Lenoir-Rhyne lead. Buduo's seventh of the day with 9:13 left made it a 13-10 Bears lead, and Myles Moffat closed out the scoring with a man-up goal with 4:29 left. Tusculum had 10 shot attempts in the fourth quarter, but just one on goal.
Lenoir-Rhyne held a 23-5 edge in faceoffs in the match, with Shane Gottberg collecting 15 ground balls among his 23 faceoff wins. Collin Lett had five ground balls for the Bears, who finished with a 42-26 edge over the Pioneers. Dallas Wade and goalie Patrick Thomas led the Pioneers with five ground balls each, while Kransberger had four.
The Bears went 2-for-4 with the extra man while Tusculum failed its only opportunity, which came with 2:29 left in the fourth quarter. The Bears finished with 16 turnovers to 10 by the Pioneers, while Lenoir-Rhyne was 14-for-16 on clears and Tusculum went 19-for-24.
Thomas finished with 13 saves in goal for Tusculum, while Ryan Crompton started in goal for Lenoir-Rhyne and was pulled in the first quarter but later returned to finish with nine saves. Damon Cummins played 11 minutes, 32 seconds in the first half and registered a pair of stops for the Bears.
The Pioneers will return to action on Saturday, March 24 on the road at Queens in a SAC contest that will begin at 3 p.m.