New Concord, OH – Rachel Harrison and Julia Ward combined for nine crucial goals to propel the Transylvania women's lacrosse team past Muskingum, 11-8 to extend their season-high winning streak to five games.
After an 0-2 start to the season, the Pioneers utilized momentum from a productive spring break trip to Hilton Head, SC last week to journey up to the campus of Muskingum and continue their hot streak.
The match at Muskingum remained close throughout the first half, but the Pioneers dug in over the final 30 minutes to close down the Muskies defensively. Transylvania won the battle of possession in a defensively-minded second half by winning 19 total ground balls on the day and winning the battle of turnover margin by eight.
The game opened on a standstill as neither side could break through for nearly the first five minutes. The drought was extinguished by Ward's first goal of the day, coming 4:44 into the contest for a 1-0 greeting. Muskingum's Kaeleigh Norvet then converted on a free position shot just over a minute later to tie the game, and gave the Muskies their first lead when she scored roughly a half minute after for the 2-1 score.
Transylvania didn't trail for long as Emma Oliver set up a brilliant strike for Harrison, who equalized the game at two with 23:17 to go in the first half. Senior Jessica Bier then followed with a goal for a 3-2 Transylvania lead. The lead continued to see-saw back and forth as the Muskies scored on another free position shot and Ward and Harrison converted again inside the 10-minute window of the first half to put the Pioneers ahead, 5-4.
After Muskingum scored at the 7:12 mark of the first quarter, each team went into a scoring drought before Harrison broke it with 100 seconds left in the first half to register the first hat-trick of the day for the Pioneer side and a 6-5 lead. The scoring touch spread to Ward, who achieved her hat-trick 15 seconds later as the Pioneers went ahead by two. Muskingum's Ashley Adams was fouled near the fan and collected a free position goal to thin Transy's lead back to a goal.
After the halftime break the Muskies sought momentum, quickly scoring within the first minute of the second half, and the scoreboard read 7-7. From there, the Pioneers built a defensive masterpiece the rest of the way, holding Muskingum to just one goal over the final 29:17 of the contest. Ward and Harrison continued to provide the Pioneers with offensive firepower, as their second half goals sandwiched a score by freshman Emma Oliver at the 20:18 mark of the second half.
Muskingum mustered their final goal with 13:22 to go, thinning Transylvania's lead to two goals, but Harrison's goal with 6:43 remaining closed the lid on the game and secured a solid 11-8 win for the visitors.
It was a career day for Harrison who added five ground balls, five won draw controls, and maintained a relentless assault on goal with seven shots in addition to her five goals. Bier also proved key in the win, matching Harrison with five ground balls of her own plus four caused turnovers to augment Transylvania's defensive execution.
The Pioneers face another quick turnaround as they return to Pat Deacon Stadium Tuesday afternoon after three straight games on the road. First draw is set for 2:00 p.m.
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