20th-ranked Pioneers roll past Coker, 17-7

20th-ranked Pioneers roll past Coker, 17-7

HARTSVILLE, S.C. --- Andrew Kransberger matched his career high with four goals and had a career-best seven points as 20th-ranked Tusculum rolled to its fourth straight victory with a 17-7 win over Coker Sunday afternoon.

Ben Boyd also scored four goals and had two assists while Liam Macdonald, Chris Ryan and Nate Wade each scored twice for the Pioneers (9-2, 5-1 SAC), who celebrated the program's first-ever national ranking this week by setting a program record with 17 goals in a conference game.

Tusculum has scored in double figures in each of its six league games and is averaging just over 13 goals per game in conference action, while maintaining its hold on second place in the conference standings with two games remaining.

Vinny Magro and Rylee Marsh led the Cobras (3-8, 1-5 SAC) with two goals apiece, but Coker was outscored 10-4 in the second half by Tusculum after trailing 7-3 at halftime.

Tusculum scored the first three goals of the game, off the sticks of Ryan, Boyd and Wade, before Marsh scored with eight seconds left in the first quarter to put the Cobras on the board. Kransberger then scored just before the end of the quarter as the Pioneers took a 4-1 lead into the second quarter.

Tyler Klarner extended the Tusculum advantage to 5-1 but Jacob Glass answered just 26 seconds later for Coker. Boyd and Kransberger each netted their second of the game to push the Pioneers ahead 7-2, but Magro scored with 28 seconds remaining in the half to bring Coker within 7-3 at intermission.

Tusculum wasted little time building on its lead in the third quarter as Boyd scored off a Kransberger assist just 21 seconds into the period. Kransberger and Boyd added goals for Tusculum along with Dallas Wade, the latter giving the Pioneers an 11-3 lead with 2:46 remaining in the third quarter. Magro scored with the man advantage for the Cobras to trim the deficit to 11-4 heading into the final 15 minutes.

Macdonald scored twice for the Pioneers in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, including one with a man down, before Keegan Bell gave Tusculum a 14-5 lead with 8:52 left. After Marsh scored with a man advantage for the Cobras with 6:48 to go, the Pioneers scored three times in 44 seconds on goals from Nate Wade, Ryan and Kransberger to close out their scoring for the day with 3:!6 left. Drew Thomson provided the final goal for Coker with 1:31 remaining.

Tusculum had a 44-29 advantage in shots over Coker and dominated in ground balls by a 40-22 margin. The Pioneers also won 16 of the game's 27 faceoffs, turned the ball over just 10 times and went 19-for-20 on clears. Tusculum was 0-for-4 with the man advantage while Coker went 2-for-7 as a team.

Boyd and Ross Parsons each had five ground balls for the Pioneers while Kransberger added four. Parsons also had two caused turnovers for Tusculum, with three ground balls apiece by Joel Edgar, Cade Lennon and Dallas Wade. Alexander Kleinberg led Tusculum with seven ground balls on the strength of a 15-for-25 performance at the faceoff dot. Faceoff man Ryan Powell led Coker with five ground balls, while Austin Holgate had three caused turnovers to lead the Cobra defense.

Kevin Haggerty played nearly 57 minutes in goal for the Pioneers and finished with 11 saves, with Ryan Pickering closing out the final 3 minutes, 16 seconds. Three goalies saw time for the Cobras, with starter Anthony Malik making four saves in 28 minutes, Travis Pereira tallying five stops in 28 minutes, and Austin Kelly making two saves in four minutes.

Tusculum will return to the road Saturday for a 2 p.m. SAC matchup at Mars Hill.