Pioneers earn 13-5 victory at Alabama Huntsville

Pioneers earn 13-5 victory at Alabama Huntsville

MADISON, Ala. --- Liam Macdonald finished with a career-high five goals and three assists to lead Tusculum University to a 13-5 victory over the University of Alabama-Huntsville Sunday afternoon in men's lacrosse action at Bob Jones High School.

Jordan Daniel and Keegan Bell had three goals apiece for the Pioneers (2-1), who scored the first four goals of the match and led 5-2 at halftime before outscoring the Chargers (0-3) by a margin of 8-3 in the second half.

Five different players scored goals for the Chargers, who outshot the Pioneers 42-36 but were thwarted by Tusculum goalkeeper Ross Geiger who finished with 17 saves overall, including 10 in the second half alone.

Macdonald's eight points are tied for the second-most in a single game in program history, trailing only the 10 points registered by Bell in last week's Pioneer victory over Lees-McRae. His five goals mark the 10th time in program history that a player scored five or more goals in a game.

Tusculum led 3-0 after one quarter as Bell opened the scoring with 8:56 left in the quarter, followed by two goals by Macdonald. Will Cookman assisted on Macdonald's goal with 6:35 remaining in the period, then Macdonald scored unassisted with 44 seconds left to close out the first-quarter scoring.

Macdonald scored his third of the afternoon off a feed from Sean Dunn with 8:13 remaining in the second quarter to give the Pioneers a 4-0 lead. The Chargers got on the scoreboard with 3:56 left in the half on a goal by Josh Campbell, but Macdonald set up Daniel for his first of the day and a 5-1 Tusculum lead with 2:59 remaining. Adam Zois closed out the scoring for UAH with 42 seconds left as Tusculum led 5-2 at half.

In the third quarter, the Pioneers had four of the five goals to build their lead to 9-3. AJ Hems gave the Pioneers a 6-2 lead with an assist to Macdonald with 13:32 remaining, but Brody Phillips scored six seconds later for the Chargers. Daniel, Bell and Macdonald scored five minutes apart in the latter half of the quarter to kick off a run of five straight goals for the Pioneers.

Macdonald scored his fifth of the afternoon off a feed from Cookman with 11:12 left, then set up Bell for his third of the day with 10:52 left for an 11-3 Tusculum lead. Nicholas Ranta cut the Pioneer advantage to 11-4 with 10:15 to go, but Daniel scored off a Bell assist with 7:41 left, with Charles Mills scoring Tusculum's final goal with 2:41 to play off an assist from Braden Elam. UAH closed the scoring with 1:16 remaining on a man-up goal by Joseph Stuber.

Joel Edgar had a team-high four ground balls for the Pioneers, with three ground balls from Connor Coleman and a pair of caused turnovers. Jake Fowler won 17-of-21 faceoffs for the Chargers and collected nine ground balls, with two caused turnovers apiece by Griffin Gillespie and Campbell.

Tusculum had 18 turnovers to 16 committed by Alabama Huntsville, while the Pioneers were 24-for-29 on clears and the Chargers went 14-for-15. UAH was 1-for-5 with the extra man and Tusculum failed on its only two attempts with the man up.

Geiger's 17 saves are a career high and are tied for the fifth-most in a single game by a Tusculum goalkeeper. Zak Welsh played all 60 minutes in goal for the Chargers and finished with 10 saves on 23 Tusculum shots on goal.

Tusculum will be back on the road on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Shorter, with the non-conference match beginning at 1 p.m.