WISE, Va. --- Jesse French scored five goals and added two assists as Virginia-Wise defeated Tusculum 15-10 in non-conference women's lacrosse action Wednesday afternoon at Carl Smith Stadium.
Tusculum senior midfielder Madison Malone reached a milestone in the loss, recording two goals and an assist to become the second player in South Atlantic Conference history to reach 200 career points. Malone has 68 goals and a SAC-record 132 assists for 200 points in 51 career matches for the Pioneers, and has scored at least one point in 48 consecutive games. Abigail Paulus of Queens holds the SAC career scoring record, with 265 points on 139 goals and 126 assists from 2014 through 2017.
In addition to Malone, the Pioneers (1-2) also received two goals apiece from Rachel Holmes, Savannah Elliott and Juliette Cusano. The teams finished with 32 shots and 19 turnovers apiece, while Tusculum had a 39-32 advantage in shots. However, Virginia-Wise (2-0) held a 17-10 edge in draw controls and received 13 saves from goalie Melanie Reilly in the win.
Tusculum grabbed a 1-0 lead just 2 1/2 minutes into the first half on a goal by Malone, but the Cavaliers answered with six consecutive goals to take a 6-1 advantage. Kristin Gobbi scored twice during the UVa-Wise outburst, which spanned exactly 13 minutes on the clock. The Pioneers broke the run with 10:57 to go in the first half on a goal from Elliott, and Rachel Holmes added one with 8:21 to play to cut the Cavaliers' lead to 6-3. Goals from Rachel Cole and McKayla Grasham pushed UVa-Wise ahead 8-3 with 4:38 remaining in the half, before Malone scored her second of the afternoon with 2:25 on the clock to send the Pioneers to intermission trailing 8-4.
The Pioneers outshot the Cavaliers 18-14 in the first half, but UVa-Wise's Reilly had six saves in the half. Tusculum also had a 20-14 edge in ground balls, but turned the ball over nine times to seven by UVA-Wise. The Cavaliers also held a 7-6 edge in draw controls in the half over the Pioneers.
In the second half, French scored back-to-back goals three minutes apart to boost the Cavaliers' lead to 10-4 with 26:41 remaining. Malone then recorded her milestone point on an assist to Elliott as the Pioneers scored back-to-back from Elliott and Cusano to pull within 10-6 with 19:30 left. Three straight goals from French, Gobbi and French again seemingly put Virginia-Wise in command at 13-6 with 17:18 to go, but the Pioneers ran off four consecutive goals from Brittany Lowery, Cusano, Holmes and Erin Sims, the latter cutting the Virginia-Wise lead to 13-10 with 7:17 to go. But, Tusculum would have just one more shot attempt in the match as the Cavaliers controlled the ball and received goals from Grasham and Sydney Steinberg in the final five minutes.
Holmes and Malone shared the team lead with six ground balls apiece for the Pioneers, while Elliott and Cusano each finished with four. Cusano also had a team-high five draw controls, with Malone contributing five caused turnovers and Emily Gleason three to go along with three ground balls.
For the Cavaliers, Grasham and Gobbi each finished the match with three goals apiece as seven different players registered goals in the contest. Cole tallied 10 draw controls and Hannah Marshall added five to go with six ground balls and four caused turnovers. Jessica Apgar and Charlotte Hess each had six ground balls for the Cavaliers, with three caused turnovers and two ground balls by Erin Smith.
Tusculum used three goalies in the match, with starter Brooke Wagner making two saves in 23:24 minutes of playing time, Kate Pipkin tallying six saves in 28 minutes, 19 seconds of action and Kaele Lawless adding one stop in 8:17.
The Pioneers will return home to face North Greenville on Saturday at noon in a non-conference match with the Crusaders.