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Bell nets six, breaks 100-point mark as Pioneers win 15-13 at Mars Hill in SAC opener

Bell nets six, breaks 100-point mark as Pioneers win 15-13 at Mars Hill in SAC opener

MARS HILL, N.C. --- Keegan Bell scored six goals and surpassed 100 career points as Tusculum University won its fourth straight game with a 15-13 win at Mars Hill University in South Atlantic Conference men's lacrosse action Wednesday night at Meares Stadium.

Liam Macdonald had three goals and three assists for the Pioneers (4-1, 1-0 SAC), who scored seven straight goals to take a 13-8 lead into the fourth quarter before the Lions (1-4, 0-2 SAC) cut the margin to 14-13 with 3:23 left.

Zac Carrigan led Mars Hill with four goals and an assist and Spencer Andrews scored three times for the Lions, who outshot the Pioneers 46-45 but lost 21 of the 32 faceoffs on the evening.

Bell scored two goals in the first quarter, added one in the second quarter and netted three more in the third to come up one shy of his own program record of seven goals in a game, which he set against Lees-McRae on February 9. Bell became the fifth player in program history to reach 100 career points, as he now has 63 goals and 39 assists for 102 points in 47 career games.

Tusculum took a quick 2-0 lead on goals from Kale Lawrence and Bell in the first 1:33, but Mars Hill came back with three straight to go on top 3-2 with 4:44 left in the first quarter. Bell and Braden Elam closed out the quarter with back-to-back goals as the Pioneers led 4-3 after one.

In the second, Bell gave Tusculum a 5-3 lead before the Lions' Andrews and Jackson Courson scored to knot the game at 5-5 with 8:01 left in the first half. A goal by Macdonald with 25 seconds left in the half sent the Pioneers to intermission with a 6-5 lead.

Mars Hill regained the lead early in the third quarter on goals from Carrigan and Tremain Hill, but Tusculum ran off seven straight goals to take control. Macdonald started the run with a man-up goal as the Pioneers scored seven times in 7 minutes, 30 seconds. Bell had three goals and Elam, AJ Hems and Will Cookman also had goals during the run, which ended on a goal from Carrigan with 10 seconds left to cut the Tusculum lead to 13-8 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Lions quickly cut the deficit to 13-11 with three goals in the first 2 minutes, 12 seconds of the quarter, but Lorenz Brown pushed the Tusculum advantage to 14-11 with 12:06 to play. Two goals from Andrew in a span of just over a minute cut the Pioneer lead to 14-13 with 3:23 left, but Macdonald gave the Pioneers an insurance goal with 2:44 left and Mars Hill never regained possession.

Elam finished with two goals and three assists for the Pioneers, while Charles Mills dished out three assists and Joel Edgar added two. Ethan Bohannon went 16-for-22 on faceoffs and Addie Wilkins was 5-for-10 for the Pioneers, while Edgar and Tanner Deck each had five ground balls to lead the Tusculum defense.

For the Lions, Josh Bryers led the way with seven ground balls and Kyle Dozzi had two ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers. Tusculum had a 41-24 advantage in ground balls over Mars Hill and was 19-for-21 on clears, while the Lions were 20-for-24 as a team.

Ross Geiger made eight saves to earn the win in goal for the Pioneers, while Joel Borman had 15 saves in net for the Lions.

Tusculum will return home to host Barton on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Pioneer Field.

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