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Tusculum beats Catawba 14-8 to stay unbeaten at home

Tusculum beats Catawba 14-8 to stay unbeaten at home

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum outscored Catawba 9-1 over a span of nearly 30 minutes as the Pioneers defeated the Indians 14-8 in South Atlantic Conference men's lacrosse action at Pioneer Field Saturday afternoon.

Nate Wade had three goals and two assists for the Pioneers, while Chris Ryan and Liam Macdonald had three goals apiece for Tusculum (6-2, 2-1 SAC), which improved to 5-0 at home with the victory. Andrew Kransberger added two goals and an assist and Ben Boyd had a goal and two assists for the Pioneers, who never trailed against the Indians (5-5, 2-2 SAC).

Liam Lynch led Catawba with three goals, while Joe Barber had a goal and an assist. However, the Indians turned the ball over 15 times in the second half and were outshot 44-38 by the Pioneers in the contest. Catawba trailed 13-5 with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter before a late flurry brought the Indians back within five.

Tusculum took a 1-0 lead 2 1/2 minutes into the first quarter on a goal by Ryan, but Chase Scott answered 2 1/2 minutes later for Catawba to tie the score at 1-1. The teams would exchange the next four goals, with tallies from the Pioneers' Macdonald and Ryan answered by the Indians' Dalton Cook and Lynch. With the score tied 3-3 with just under seven minutes left in the second quarter, the Pioneers took the lead for good on a goal from Kransberger. Wade and Ryan would follow with goals later in the period as Tusculum took a 6-3 lead into halftime.

The Pioneers added four goals in the third quarter, as Ross Parsons and Kransberger helped extend the Tusculum lead to 8-4 with 7:54 left in the third quarter. Tusculum added two more goals 12 seconds apart later in the quarter as Wade and Macdonald gave the Pioneers a 10-4 lead heading into the final period.

Tusculum received goals from Keegan Bell and Wade to go on top 12-4, and Macdonald's third of the day with 6:02 remaining gave the Pioneers a 13-5 advantage. Catawba tried to mount a comeback in the final five minutes, as Cole Fanzo scored once and Lynch twice in a 2 1/2 minute span to cut the Tusculum lead to 13-8 with 2:40 left. However, Boyd finished off the scoring with 1:29 to go as the Pioneers defeated the Indians for the third straight year.

In addition to its advantage in shots, Tusculum had a 37-34 edge in ground balls over Catawba. Both teams won 12 faceoffs in the match, and Catawba finished with 22 turnovers to 19 by Tusculum. The Pioneers were 20-for-22 on clear attempts while the Indians finished 21-for-26 as a team.

Tusculum, which has the top-ranked man-up offense in Division II at 54.8 percent (17-for-31), went 1-for-2 with the man advantage against Catawba while holding the Indians scoreless on both of their opportunities.

Alexander Kleinberg was 12-for-24 on faceoffs for the Pioneers and had a team-high eight ground balls, while Parsons had five ground balls and Kransberger added three. Joel Edgar had a pair of caused turnovers had finished with two ground balls. Catawba faceoff man Ethan Jarrett had a team-high five ground balls for the Indians, with three each from six different players. Shane McCormick led the Indians' defense with three caused turnovers, with two apiece from Barber and Gus Weber.

Kevin Haggerty played 56 1/2 minutes in goal for the Pioneers and allowed five goals while making 12 saves. Ryan Applegate played all 60 minutes for the Indians and finished with 11 stops, including seven in the second half.

Tusculum will be on the road Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. for a SAC contest at Lincoln Memorial.

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