Lenoir-Rhyne defeats Pioneers in SAC opener

Lenoir-Rhyne defeats Pioneers in SAC opener

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Rachel Elmore capped an all-around performance with five goals and an assist as Lenoir-Rhyne University defeated Tusculum University 18-7 in South Atlantic Conference women's lacrosse action Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Field.

In addition to her six points, Elmore had six ground balls, four draw controls and four caused turnovers for the Bears (5-3, 1-0 SAC), who led 11-3 at halftime and had scoring runs of seven goals in the first half and five in the second half.

Juliette Cusano was also a two-way force in the game for the Pioneers (1-6, 0-1 SAC), collecting a team-high four goals and contributing three ground balls, four draw controls and a caused turnover. Brittany Lowery had a pair of goal and Rachel Holmes posted a goal and an assist for Tusculum, which was outshot 30-23 by Lenoir-Rhyne in the match.

The Bears jumped to a 2-0 lead just over four minutes into the first half on goals by Gia Colombo and Anna Bissell, before Cusano got the Pioneers on the scoreboard with 24:28 left in the half. The Bears would then score seven straight goals in a span of 10 minutes, including two from Alyssa Sack, to go up 9-1 with 10:02 left in the half. Cusano would score twice more in the half for the Pioneers, while Bissell and Elmore tallied as well as Lenoir-Rhyne held an 11-3 lead at intermission.

Cusano's fourth of the day just over three minutes into the second half was answered by Elmore, who in turn saw Lowery net her first of the afternoon just 43 seconds later. After Holmes scored to pull Tusculum within 13-6 with 14:41 left, Lenoir-Rhyne would rattle off five in a row to build an 18-6 lead with 5:09 remaining. Lowery's second goal of the game, also off an assist from Bailey Lowery, would close the scoring with 1:49 to play.

Emily Youngblood, who had an assist on the goal by Holmes, led the Pioneers with five draw controls and also had two ground balls. Hailey Sander led Tusculum with two caused turnovers with one each by Cusano and Bailey Lowery.

For the Bears, Bissell and Sack each had three goals and an assist and Cathleen Gaffney dished out a game-high four assists. Edie Webb scored twice off the bench for Lenoir-Rhyne, who received a goal and two assists along with three ground balls and five draw controls from Colombo.

The Bears were 14-for-17 on clears compared to 12-for-18 by the Pioneers, and Lenoir-Rhyne won 17 of the 27 draws in the match. Both teams struggled on free-position shots, with the Bears going 1-for-6 and the Pioneers 1-for-7.

Tusculum goalkeeper Kate Pipkin made seven saves in the contest, while Cristi Rowland tallied nine stops for Lenoir-Rhyne.

The Pioneers will venture on the road to play Young Harris in a non-conference match on Tuesday at 6 p.m.