Top-ranked Florida Southern knocks off Pioneers

Top-ranked Florida Southern knocks off Pioneers

LAKELAND, Fla. --- Top-ranked Florida Southern received goals from 12 different players in a 22-7 victory over Tusculum in women's lacrosse action Saturday afternoon.

The Mocs (4-0) scored the first six goals of the match en route to an 18-5 lead at halftime over the Pioneers (2-4), and finished the game with a 33-20 advantage in shots. Florida Southern won 20 of the 29 draws in the match and ended with a 19-16 advantage in ground balls over Tusculum.

Julia Couch had three goals and four assists for the Mocs, Aubriana Benedetto had three goals and an assist and Catherine DeKorte scored three times in the win for Florida Southern. Sarah Grady, Riley Bannatyne, Cassie Brown and Grace Glinecki added two goals apiece, with five other players contributing a goal apiece.

For the Pioneers, Juliette Cusano had a team-high three goals, with Erin Sims and Emily Gleason adding a goal and an assist apiece. Madison Malone and Savannah Elliott also scored for the Pioneers in the match.

Benedetto opened the scoring just 29 seconds into the first half for the Mocs, part of a 6-0 surge in the game's first 6 minutes, 34 seconds. Tusculum got on the board on a goal from Elliott with 20:30 left in the first half, but goals from Couch and Maddie Gonzalez pushed the Mocs ahead 8-1 with 17:28 to play in the half. Tusculum had its best run of the match midway through the half, as Malone, Sims and Cusano scored in a 57-second span to pull the Pioneers within 8-4 with 15:18 to play. However, the Mocs poured on the offense in the final 14 minutes of the half, outscoring the Pioneers 10-1 to carry an 18-5 lead into intermission.

Florida Southern scored the first four goals of the second half to build a 22-5 lead with 10:%7 to play before Cusano broke the Pioneers' drought on a goal with 5:43 remaining. Cusano scored her third of the day on a free-position shot with 1:28 left to set the final score.

DeKorte led the Mocs with seven draw controls while Gracie Maganzini added four draw controls and a team-high three ground balls. Tusculum received a team-high six draw controls from Malone, with Gleason contributing three ground balls and two caused turnovers. Cusano had a pair of ground balls and shared the team high with Gleason with two caused turnovers.

Mary Gately played the first half in goal for Florida Southern and made five saves, with Brittany Iamele making six saves in the second half. For Tusculum, Kate Pipkin and Brooke Wagner were credited with two saves apiece.

The Pioneers will continue their Florida swing on Monday night at 7 p.m. at Tampa.