GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Concordia-St. Paul protected a one-goal lead for most of the second half before a late insurance goal gave the Golden Bears a 13-11 win over Tusculum in non-conference women's lacrosse action Monday afternoon at Pioneer Field.
Alina Boyce and Kailey Heinl scored three goals apiece for the Golden Bears (1-1), who led 12-11 after a goal by the Pioneers' Savannah Elliott with 16:52 to play but held Tusculum scoreless the rest of the match. Sheala Osborne scored with 1:45 left to give Concordia-St. Paul breathing room and the victory in the first of a four-game swing through the Southeast for the Golden Bears.
Erin Sims led the Pioneers (2-3) with three goals while Elliott, Rachel Holmes and Juliette Cusano scored two goals apiece. The statistics in the match were nearly even, with Concordia outshooting Tusculum 22-18 and each team collecting 24 ground balls. The Pioneers had a 14-12 edge in draw controls, and Tusculum had 26 turnovers to 23 by the Golden Bears.
Concordia took a 2-0 lead after 5 1/2 minutes on goals 46 seconds apart by Boyce and Maddie Hentges. Sims put the Pioneers on the board on a goal with 22:27 left in the first half, and Madison Malone tied the game on a free-position goal with 20:23 to play in the half. Two goals in 18 seconds from Boyce pushed the Golden Bears ahead 4-2 with 18:08 remaining in the half, but Cusano responded 15 seconds later to pull the Pioneers back within 4-3.
Margot Coomes tallied 17 seconds after Cusano as Concordia regained a two-goal lead at 5-3 with 17:36 to go in the opening half. but Holmes scored twice in a 2 1/2 minute span to deadlock the score at 5-5 with 11:58 remaining. Elliott's first goal of the day with 11:32 left gave Tusculum its only lead of the match at 6-5, but the advantage lasted all of 15 seconds as Kallie LaValle scored to tied the score for the third time at 6-6.
The LaValle goal sparked a 4-0 run over a three-minute span for the Golden Bears, as Heinl scored twice in 16 seconds and Kaci Reid added one for a 9-6 Concordia lead with 8:21 to go in the half. The teams then played exactly eight minutes without a goal until Eliza Ryan scored with 21 seconds on the clock to send the Pioneers to the locker room trailing 9-7. Concordia outshot Tusculum 17-14 in the first half.
The scoring barrage resumed just 36 seconds into the second half as Sims scored to pull the Pioneers within 9-8. Heinl and Cusano exchanged goals 45 seconds apart to keep Concordia on top 10-9 with 27:12 remaining. Sims brought Tusculum even at 10-10 on her third of the game with 21:33 left, but a goal from Cassidy Leininger with 21:33 left gave Concordia-St. Paul the lead for good at 11-10. Hentges scored on a free position shot with 19:12 remaining for a 12-10 Golden Bears lead, only to see Elliott cut the margin to 12-11 with 16:52 left.
Following Elliott's goal, both defenses stepped up to keep the score at a one-goal margin. Tusculum had just one shot on goal in the final 15 minutes, with a shot off the post from Holmes with 9:56 remaining the last shot attempt of the match for the Pioneers. Tusculum turned the ball over nine times in the last 16 minutes, with Concordia turning the ball over seven times.
Cusano led all players with eight draw controls for the Pioneers, and also had a team-high four ground balls along with a pair of caused turnovers. Malone added three draw controls, three ground balls and a team-high three caused turnovers, while Sims, Gleason and goalie Kate Pipkin had three ground balls apiece.
For Concordia-St. Paul, Heinl led the team with four draw controls, while Lexi Stanley had team highs of five ground balls and three caused turnovers. As a team, the Golden Bears caused 13 of the Pioneers' 26 turnovers, while Tusculum forced 11 of Concordia's 23 miscues.
Pipkin started in goal for Tusculum and played a total of 39 minutes, 36 seconds spanning two stints and finished with seven saves. Brooke Wagner played 20 minutes, 24 seconds and delivered a pair of saves for the Pioneers. For Concordia, Katie Lottsfeldt played the first 36 minutes, 44 seconds and had five saves, with Claire Hagen coming on for the final 23:16 and making two stops to earn the victory.
The Pioneers will start a stretch of five consecutive matches on the road when they open their spring break trip to Florida against number-one ranked Florida Southern on Saturday at 4 p.m.