Overtime goal gives Wingate 14-13 win over Tusculum

Overtime goal gives Wingate 14-13 win over Tusculum

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Shannon O'Neal's seventh goal of the game with 2:05 left in overtime gave Wingate a 14-13 victory over Tusculum in South Atlantic Conference women's lacrosse Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Field.

O'Neal scored the tying goal with 3:25 left after the Bulldogs (12-4, 6-2 SAC) had let a four-goal lead slip away in a span of six minutes late in the second half. The Pioneers (5-11, 3-5 SAC) ralled to take a 13-12 lead on a goal by Rachel Holmes with 4:18 to go, but O'Neal scored on a free-position shot just under a minute later to send the teams to overtime.

Tusculum's only shot of the overtime period was a free-position attempt, but Wingate keeper Arion Pierre made the last of her 13 saves to keep the score deadlocked. The Bulldogs had three shots in the overtime, with the final coming from O'Neal to give Wingate the win.

Juliette Cusano led the Pioneers with four goals and an assist, while Madison Malone had a goal and two assists to break her own single-season program record with 66 points and tie her single-season record for assists with 46.

Tusculum took a 1-0 lead just 34 seconds into the first half on a goal by Brittany Lowery, but two goals from O'Neal and one by Brittany Andrews pushed Wingate ahead 3-1 with 22:31 left in the half. The Pioneers responded with four unanswered goals in a span of 11 minutes to take a 5-3 lead, as Emily Gleason, Cusano, Savannah Elliott and Malone scored during the run.

Wingate would close the half with goals from Laura Swanson and O'Neal, sandwiched around a goal from Cusano, as the Pioneers led 6-5 at intermission. Tusculum outshot Wingate 20-12 in the first half and turned the ball over just three times.

Following an exchange of goals from the Bulldogs' Swanson and the Pioneers' Lowery just 11 seconds apart, the Bulldogs went on to score six of the next seven goals over a 14-minute span to go on top 12-8. O'Neal and Paulena Dempsey each scored twice for Wingate during the run, with the only goal from the Pioneers off the stick of Cusano.

Trailing by four goals with 10:51 left, the Pioneers came roaring back with five straight goals in a span of 6:05. Elliott's second of the game brought the Pioneers within 12-9, followed just under a minute later by Gleason to cut the deficit to 12-10 with 9:25 left. Cusano's fourth of the game with 8:11 left pulled the Pioneers within a goal, setting up the equalizer by Elliott with 6:52 remaining.

Holmes capped the run with the go-ahead goal for Tusculum with 4:18 left, only to see Wingate win the ensuing draw and get the tying goal from O'Neal with 3:25 to play. Swanson nearly scored the winner with 2:21 left, but Tusculum keeper Kaitlin Winnie made the save to keep the game tied at 13-13. A final chance came from O'Neal on a free position shot with 23 seconds to go, but she fired high and the game went into overtime.

Both teams had shots on goal in the first segment of the overtime period, but Pierre and Winnie made saves for their respective teams to keep the game tied. Wingate won the draw to start the second segment of overtime, and O'Neal finished off the win for the Bulldogs just 55 seconds later.

Tusculum finished the game with a 34-29 advantage in shots over Wingate, and had an 18-10 edge in ground balls. The Pioneers also had more draw controls than the Bulldogs by a 18-12 margin, but Tusculum finished with 12 turnovers to 10 by Wingate.

In addition to her four goals, Cusano also had two draw controls and two ground balls for the Pioneers. Malone had eight draw controls, three ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers, while Gleason had three draw controls for Tusculum. Lowery finished the game with two goals and two assists for Tusculum, along with a pair of ground balls.

For Wingate, Swamson had three goals and an assist and Andrews finished with two goals and an assist. On defense, Emily Ketron led the way with four draw controls, while Morgan Insel had a pair of ground balls.

Winnie played 54 1/2 minutes in goal for the Pioneers and allowed 10 goals while making six saves, including four in the second half. Pierre finished with 13 saves for the Bulldogs, with nine of her stops coming in the first half.

Tusculum will open the SAC Women's Lacrosse Championship tournament Tuesday on the road, as the sixth-seeded Pioneers will visit third-seeded Coker. Start time for the match will be announced, with the winner advancing to the semifinals on Friday in Charlotte.