SALISBURY, N.C. --- Tusculum's Nate Wade and Chris Ryan reached career milestones in the final game of their college careers as the Pioneers lost 14-10 to Catawba in South Atlantic Conference men's lacrosse action Saturday night at Shuford Stadium.
Wade had three goals and two assists to set the Tusculum career scoring with 142 points, while Ryan became the second player in program history to reach 100 goals as he scored three times for the Pioneers (4-9, 2-6 SAC), who saw the Indians (6-8, 4-4 SAC) score seven unanswered goals in the second half to erase a two-goal deficit and lock down a conference tournament berth.
Dalton Cook and Cole Fanzo scored three goals apiece for Catawba, which finished with a lopsided 65-32 advantage in shots and had 42 ground balls to 16 for the Pioneers. The Indians won 23 of the 26 faceoffs in the match and went 2-for-8 with the extra man as Tusculum was whistled for a program single-game record 10 penalties. The 65 shots were the most ever by a Pioneer opponent, surpassing the 59 shots by Limestone on March 11, 2014.
Wade's 142 points (97 goals, 45 assists) broke the record of 138 points (105 goals, 33 assists) set by Ben Boyd from 2014 to 2017, while his 45 career assists left him tied with fellow senior Andrew Kransberger atop the Tusculum career list. Ryan and Boyd are the only two players in Tusculum program history to reach 100 goals.
Wade opened the scoring with 11:37 left in the first quarter to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead, but Robert Morrison tied the score at 1-1 just under a minute later. Ryan's first goal of the game came with 5:47 left in the opening quarter and was assisted by Wade to break the career scoring record. Cook pulled Catawba back into a 2-2 tie with 3:15 to go in the first quarter, but Tyler Klarner scored 41 seconds later as the Pioneers led 3-2 after one.
Kransberger gave the Pioneers a 4-2 lead with 11:43 left in the first half, but Cook scored with the man advantage to bring the Indians within 4-3 with 6:30 to go in the half. A quick exchange of goals from Tusculum's Keegan Bell and Catawba's Connor Eakes, which came 12 seconds apart, left Tusculum ahead 5-4 heading into halftime.
Wade's second of the game just 14 seconds into the third quarter extended the Tusculum lead to 6-4, but Cook and Eakes scored 18 seconds apart to tie the game at 6-6. Ryan pushed the Pioneers back ahead 7-6 with 12:11 left in the quarter, but Fanzo netted the equalizer exactly one minute later. Ryan then scored his 100th career goal with 10:30 to go in the quarter, followed 19 seconds later by Wade as Tusculum led 9-7 with 10:11 left in the third quarter.
From there, it was all Catawba as the Indians poured 32 shots at the Pioneer goal in the second half. Catawba scored three times in a span of just under three minutes to go ahead 10-9 with 4:50 left in the third quarter, then scored the first four goals of the fourth quarter to lead 14-9 with 4:49 remaining. Liam Macdonald ended the Catawba run by scoring with 3:47 left to set the final score.
In addition to his two goals, Eakes was 21-for-24 on faceoffs and collected 18 ground balls to lead all players. Fanzo and Joey Monfort each had three ground balls for the Indians, while Joe Barber and Shane McCormick each had a pair of caused turnovers.
For Tusculum, Jordan Mauro led the team with four ground balls with three apiece from Joel Edgar and Connor Coleman. Tusculum finished the game with 13 turnovers to 11 by Catawba, and went 21-for-27 on clears and 1-for-5 with the extra man.
Pioneer goalie Patrick Thomas also set a record on Saturday, establishing a program single-game record with 21 saves to break the record of 20 set by current assistant coach Kevin Haggerty against Coker in the SAC quarterfinals on April 26, 2016. Hunter Cheuvront finished with 10 saves in goal for Catawba.