WINGATE, N.C. --- Juliette Cusano became the first player in Tusculum University women's lacrosse history to score 60 goals in a season, but the Pioneers fell 16-7 at Wingate University in South Atlantic Conference action Saturday afternoon.
Cusano scored four goals to reach the 60-goal plateau for the Pioneers (4-11, 2-5 SAC), after entering the week tied for seventh in Division II in goals scored. Cusano shares the SAC lead in goals with Faith Kent of Coker and has scored at least one goal in 32 consecutive games, a streak that began against Wingate near the end of the 2017 season.
Kendall Wells led the Bulldogs (8-7, 5-2 SAC) with four goals and Becca Ruiz added three goals and two assists. Nina Cifolilli had three goals and an assist for Wingate, which outshot Tusculum 40-15 and led 10-4 at halftime. The Bulldogs also had an 18-6 edge in draw controls over the Pioneers.
Wingate scored twice in the first minute on goals by Wells and Ruiz before Eliza Ryan put the Pioneers on the scoreboard with 24:57 left in the first half. Wingate would then score five times in 3 1/2 minutes to go ahead 7-1 with 21:13 left in the half, before Tusculum scored three in a row from Cusano, Rachel Holmes and Cusano again to trim the Wingate led to 7-4 with 10:11 remaining. Wingate would score the final three goals of the half to carry a 10-4 advantage into intermission.
In the second half, Wingate scored six unanswered goals to build its largest lead at 16-4 with 16:48 to play. Tusculum countered with the final three goals of the contest, with Holmes scoring with 7:29 left and Cusano adding two more goals with 5:25 to play and against with 56 seconds left, the latter her 60th of the year.
Brittany Lowery led Tusculum field players with three ground balls and Cusano paced the Pioneers with four draw controls. For Wingate, six different players had a caused turnover and Sierra Street, Morgan Akers and Megan Amrein each had a pair of ground balls. Emily Ketron led the Bulldogs with five draw controls in the match.
Kate Pipkin started in goal and played 42 1/2 minutes, making seven saves. Taylor Floyd played the final 17 1/2 minutes and gave up one goal while making a pair of saves. Wingate also used two goalies, with starter Arion Pierre making four saves in 49 1/2 minutes and Marley Blycher adding one stop in 10 1/2 minutes.
Tusculum will close the regular season on Saturday, April 20 at Pioneer Field hosting Catawba in a noon match.