Lexington, Ky. – Sophomore midfielder Emma Oliver rang in the 2017 women's lacrosse season with a bang as her seven goals led the Transylvania women's lacrosse team to a 13-6 win against the Muskingum University Fighting Muskies Saturday at Pat Deacon Stadium.
The output was a career-high for Oliver, who ranked 12th in the Ohio River Women's Lacrosse Conference in 2016 in goals with 33. The reigning ORLC Newcomer of the Year and ORLC All-Second Team midfielder had produced two five-goal games in her freshman campaign before Saturday's banner performance.
The rest of the scoring for the Pioneers came by way of junior attack Julia Ward and freshman midfielder Katie Smith, who each notched hat tricks in Saturday's victory. The third leading scorer in the ORLC last season, Ward joined Oliver in unleashing an offensive burst that seemingly had been waiting for a full offseason to unleash.
Oliver used a collection of aggressive moves to the net to gain the first two goals of the game for Transylvania as the Pioneers collected a 2-1 lead with 26:54 left in the first half. Muskingum answered back with an equalizer for the second time early in the afternoon with 22:44 left in the first half before Ward collected her first goal of the season to put Transy back in front, 3-2.
Oliver obtained her hat trick with 16:35 left in the first half to make it a 4-2 Pioneers advantage. Oliver scored twice more in the first half as the Pioneers pulled out in front with a 9-5 lead.
Transylvania quickly put the game out of reach early in the second half as Ward grabbed her hat trick 1:14 into the half, and Oliver scored her sixth goal of the afternoon with 23:30 to go in the game, forging an 11-5 Transylvania lead. The Pioneers reverted into a defensive pace the rest of the way, outscoring Muskingum 4 to 1 in the second half.
Transylvania's team defense also warranted attention as the Pioneers outscooped Muskingum in ground balls with a 26-10 difference. Transylvania was meticulous with the ball, completing 19 of 20 clears.
Sophomore Mackenzie Dent, making her first career start, also picked up her first win in goal as she collected two saves on the afternoon.
Saturday's win was the first time since Transylvania's inaugural season four years ago that the Pioneers won their season opener. The Pioneers won their first ever game at Wilmington by a score of 16-2 in 2013.
The Pioneers return to action one week from Saturday as they host the Baldwin-Wallace University Yellow Jackets on February 25 at 1:00 p.m. That game will take place at Pat Deacon Stadium.
For the latest on Transylvania women's lacrosse, follow @TransySports on Twitter