Late goal by Mars Hill stuns Pioneers, 3-2

Late goal by Mars Hill stuns Pioneers, 3-2

MARS HILL, N.C. --- Alyssa Deno scored her second goal of the game with 1:25 left in the second half as Mars Hill University defeated Tusculum University 3-2 in South Atlantic Conference women's soccer action Friday evening at Meares Stadium.

Samantha Pyle had a goal and an assist and Sanne Martinsen had two assists for the Lions (2-12-1, 2-7-0 SAC), who scored twice early in the second half to take a 2-0 lead before the Pioneers (7-9-0, 3-6-0 SAC) rallied on goals by Yvette Raaijen and Tina Haig to knot the score at 2-2 with 22:25 remaining.

However, the Lions got the game-winner as Deno collected a short pass in the box from Martinsen and beat Tusculum keeper Danielle Breen to the right post to enable Mars Hill to snap a seven-game losing streak and defeat the Pioneers for the second straight season.

Tusculum had the first seven shots of the match, forcing Mars Hill keeper Clare Witt to make saves on Kaitlyn Watson in the seventh minute, Chayse Stonebraker in the 15th and 25th minutes, Kenzie Ellenburg in the 31st minute and Bailey Bylotas in the 32nd minute. Mars Hill's first shot on goal came from Julia Klonowska in the 34th minute, which was stopped by Breen.

Mars Hill scored just 2:40 into the second half as Martinsen fed Pyle for her second goal of the season. Almost three minutes later, Pyle set up Deno for her first goal of the year and a 2-0 Lions lead at 50:33.

Victoria Forren came on for Witt in the second half and made saves on Ellenburg in the 54th minute and Jamila Thombs in the 56th minute, but she could not stop Raaijen on a free kick as she collected her fourth goal of the year which cut the Pioneer deficit to 2-1 at 61:13.

A flurry of shots from the Pioneers by Watson, Chelsea Sheerin and Thombs eventually led to Haig's fourth goal of the year and a 2-2 deadlock at 68:35. Haig's bid for a go-ahead goal was stopped by Forren in the 78th minute, and the Pioneers would follow with four shots wide of target in a three-minute span.

With overtime looming, the Lions put pressure on the Tusculum goal and received the payoff as Deno netted her second of the day with just 85 seconds on the clock. The Pioneers were unable to put a shot at the Lions' goal in the final minute and Mars Hill was able to run out the clock.

Breen finished with two saves for the Pioneers, while both Witt and Forren had six saves apiece for the Lions. Tusculum had six corner kicks to three for Mars Hill, while the Pioneers were called for 12 fouls and three cards compared to nine fouls and two cards for the Lions.

Tusculum will conclude its regular season on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at Pioneer Field against rival Carson-Newman, beginning at 5 p.m.