Elliott sets Tusculum and SAC record with 10 goals in 19-13 win over Converse

Elliott sets Tusculum and SAC record with 10 goals in 19-13 win over Converse

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Savannah Elliott set a Tusculum College and South Atlantic Conference single-game record with 10 goals and finished with a school-record 12 points as the Pioneers defeated Converse College 19-13 in non-conference women's lacrosse action Thursday afternoon at Pioneer Field.

Elliott shattered her own school single-game record of seven goals, and beat the old SAC record of nine goals set by Caitlyn Nemeth of Brevard against Lees-McRae on April 1, 2015. Elliott also matched the conference single-game record of 12 points set by Kirstyn Kruse of Catawba against Lincoln Memorial on March 12, 2016, while easily surpassing the previous school record of eight points set four times previously.

Elliott scored four goals in the first half and added six more in the second half, including three straight in a span of 2 minute, 5 seconds after the Valkyries had pulled within 15-11. Madison Malone also surpassed the former school single-game record for points as she finished with nine on the strength of two goals and seven assists for the Pioneers (2-0), who broke a 6-6 first-half tie with eight unanswered goals. Tusculum outscored Converse (0-3) by a 12-7 margin in the second half and outshot the Valkyries 37-28 in the match.

Laura Starkes led Converse with six goals in the contest, while Brittni Jones had three goals and Aubrie Lauderdale finished with a goal and three assists. Elizabeth Gabriele finished with two goals and an assist for the Valkyries, who had two different leads in the first half before trailing 6-5 at intermission.

Starkes opened the scoring with two goals in a 30-second span to give Converse a 2-0 lead just 2 1/2 minutes into the match. Tusculum came back with three in a row as Sierra Haas put the Pioneers on the board with 25:46 left in the first half, followed by two goals from Elliott in 23 seconds which gave Tusculum a 3-2 lead with 21:26 to play in the half.

Converse tied the game at 3-3 on a Jones goal with exactly 20 minutes left in the half, but the Pioneers went back on top on Elliott's third of the game with 15:35 remaining. The Valkyries regained the lead at 5-4 on goals from Kaitlin Milde and Starkes, the latter with 13:35 left in the half, but Elliott and Hayley Bartlett brought Tusculum back to a 6-5 lead with 4:43 remaining.

Jones knotted the game at 6-6 on the Valkyries' fourth free-position goal of the half, but Elliott reposnded 10 seconds later to give Tusculum a 7-6 lead with 3:26 to go. That margin stood to halftime as Tusculum went to the locker room with a one-goal advantage.

The start of the second half was all Pioneers as Tusculum scored the first seven goals over a span of 12 minutes, 43 seconds. Haas, Elliott, Rachel Holmes, Bartlett and Malone all scored in the first nine minutes to extend the Pioneer lead to 12-6, then Bartlett and Elliott tallied 11 seconds apart to give the Pioneers their largest lead at 14-6 with 17:17 left.

Converse came back with three straight goals from Jones, Gabriele and Starkes to pull within 14-9 with 9:49 to play, but Haas responded 15 seconds later for a 15-9 Pioneer lead. Two more Valkyrie goals, from Lauderdale and Starkes, made the Tusculum lead just 15-11 with 7:30 to go, but Elliott fired home three straight goals to give the Pioneers breathing room at 18-11 with 5:18 left. Malone capped the Tusculum scoring with 4:11 to play, while Gabriele and Starkes scored in the final minute for Converse.

Haas and Bartlett each finished with three goals for the Pioneers, while Erin Sims had three assists. In addition to her nine-point performance, Malone had a career high eight draw controls to to give her an even 100 for her career. Tusculum had a 25-9 edge in draws, with Juliette Cusano recording four and Calyn Kelly coming up with three.

Malone also had a team-high four ground balls for the Pioneers, who spread their 24 ground balls across 15 players. Bartlett and Sims had two caused turnovers apiece as the Pioneers forced the Valkyries into eight of their 16 turnovers in the game.

Lauderdale led the Valkyries with four ground balls as the team finished with 22 in the match. Lauderdale also had three caused turnovers for Converse, which forced six of Tusculum's 20 turnovers on the afternoon. Jones led the Valkyries with three draw controls and also had three ground balls.

Tusculum used three goalkeepers in the match, with starter Kaitlin Winnie playing 14 minutes, 25 seconds before yielding to Brooke Wagner, who had five saves and allowed three goals in 28 minutes, 26 seconds to claim the victory. Kaele Lawless played the final 17 minutes, 9 seconds and had one save for the Pioneers.

For Converse, Jessi Walters played all 60 minutes between the pipes and had six saves on 25 shots on goal. Walters also had three ground balls in the match.

Tusculum will return home on Wednesday, Feb. 25 to host Virginia-Wise at Pioneer Field. The match is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.