Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania women's lacrosse advanced into its second straight conference tournament championship match with a definitive 25-0 victory over the Mount St. Joseph University Lions on Wednesday night at Pat Deacon Stadium in the Heartland Collegiate Lacrosse Conference tournament semifinal.
Courtney Pontious and Salem Carlow each provided offensive explosions to guide the Pioneers to Saturday's championship match. Both players were on fire in the first half as they both powered their way to four goals apiece to put Transylvania in the driver's seat with a 14-0 halftime advantage. Carlow finished the night with six goals while Pontious had a final tally of six points.
Matching up with the No. 4 seed Lions for the second time in five days, the Pioneers continued their heavy-handed advantage over the outmatched visitors. After defeating the Lions 22-2 in last Saturday's regular-season finale, the Pioneers upped the ante in their playoff showdown as they collected their third shutout of 2019.
The Pioneers picked up their 14th win of the season to bolster their record to 14-4 while the season ended for the Lions with a 4-11 record and a 3-3 regular-season record in conference play.
Transylvania advances into Saturday's HCLC Tournament Championship match to take on No. 3 seed Hanover College in Lexington for a chance at an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Brianna McCulley scored the first goal of the evening less than a minute into the contest as she began her procession towards a hat-trick. The scoring saw a respite for the next six minutes before the Pioneers began their first thunderous scoring charge with a string of eight goals in eight minutes to take a 9-0 lead.
The sixth goal of the night was a poignant one for the Pioneers as Emma Oliver assisted Salem Carlow with 18:17 remaining in the half. The setup from Oliver gave the senior 100 career goals as she became the first Pioneer in program history to reach the triple-digit milestone in the assists category.
Transylvania maintained the upper hand upon Mount St. Joseph with unrelenting defense and a peppering of shots all evening. The Pioneers hindered the Lions into a 2-for-19 clearance rate and 23 turnovers. Transylvania held a commanding 37 to 2 advantage in total shots for the night.
With the win, the Pioneers set a new program single-game record for margin of victory with the 25-goal difference. The margin broke a record set last season in a 26-2 ORLC tournament semifinal win over Hanover.
Four different Pioneers finished with hat-tricks in the semifinal as McCulley and Oliver each joined in with three goals and one assist each. Alexis Rubin led all players with four assists as the senior also logged a six-point evening.
McCulley led the way in ground balls with eight while Oliver totaled a match-high three caused turnovers. Bailee Stevens led the Pioneers with eight draw controls.
Mackenzie Dent claimed the win in goal as she shutout the Lions' side in the first 30 minutes of action to move to 11-5 on the year.
The Pioneers now look ahead a to an HCLC Tournament Championship matchup versus the Hanover, who is making its first HCLC Championship appearance in school history after upending No. 2 seed Earlham on Wednesday night by a 16-4 tally. Transylvania is making its second-ever conference tournament championship appearance and is 1-0 in the championship round.
Opening draw of the 2019 HCLC Tournament Championship is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. in Lexington at Pat Deacon Stadium. The match will follow the 1:00 p.m. men's championship game which also features Transylvania and Hanover in a Saturday doubleheader.
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