GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Lenoir-Rhyne University defeated Tusculum University 3-1 in South Atlantic Conference women's soccer action Wednesday night at Pioneer Field.
Abbie Brown and Hannah Van Eerden each had a goal and an assist for the Bears (5-2-1, 3-1-0 SAC), who led 2-0 after 25 minutes and added an insurance goal midway through the second half after the Pioneers (3-4-1, 1-2-0 SAC) had pulled within 2-1.
Sonja Ballmert scored early in the second half for the Pioneers, who finished even 12-12 in shots with the Bears in the match.
Brown, who had nine of the Bears' 12 shot attempts in the match, was saved by Tusculum keeper Bailey Bosler in the 8th and 12th minutes. The Pioneers had a good look in the 11th minute, but Yvette Raaijen just missed the crossbar from 45 yards out.
The Bears thought they had taken a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute on a goal by Brown, but the play had been flagged for offside. Aqsa Mushtaq chipped a shot just past the post for the Bears in the 17th minute, and Ballmert responded at the other end by sending a shot past L-R keeper Loren Sterling but on the wrong side of the post.
Lenoir-Rhyne went up 1-0 at 17:53 as Van Eerden sent a cross to Judith Verdaguer, who found space between Bosler and the near post from 20 yards out for her second goal of the season.
Brown followed with her seventh goal of the year at 24:36 as she chipped a service to the top of the box by Christina Shimshock and found the top right corner for a 2-0 Bears lead.
Trailing by two goals, the Pioneers came out aggressive to start the second half and earned a pair of corner kicks. Ballmert then cashed in at 47:39 as Brooke Ratcliffe forced a turnover in the box and chipped a pass over the defense to Ballmert, whose quick blast went over Sterling for her second goal of the season.
The Pioneers nearly knotted the score at 67:55, as Jordan Newby collected the ball at the top of the box and whistled a shot that missed the far post by inches. Newby would put another shot wide to the right about three minutes later.
However, the Bears grabbed a critical insurance goal at 71:59 as Brown's cross from the top of the box came to Van Eerden, who knocked the pass by Bosler for her second goal of the year and a 3-1 Lenoir-Rhyne lead.
That would turn out to be the final shot attempt of the match for the Bears, who conceded a high shot by Raaijen in the 73rd minute and an attempt by Elise Gallo in the 84th minute which was saved by Sterling.
Tusculum was whistled for 14 fouls in the match to six by Lenoir-Rhyne, with each team being shown one yellow card. Both teams were flagged once for offsides, and the Pioneers had a 2-1 edge in corner kicks.
Bosler finished the match with three saves in goal for the Pioneers, while Sterling also had three saves for the Bears as she picked up her third straight victory.
Tusculum will be back home on Saturday afternoon for a SAC match against Catawba at 4:30 p.m. at Pioneer Field.