MARS HILL, N.C. --- A first-half goal for each side resulted in Tusculum University and Mars Hill University playing to a 1-1 draw in South Atlantic Conference women's soccer action Wednesday afternoon.
Trystan Wepking scored for the Pioneers (4-2-1, 0-2-1 SAC) in the 34th minute after Marianne Ross tallied just over five minutes earlier for the Lions (3-2-1, 0-1-1 SAC). Tusculum was credited with a 22-8 shot advantage over Mars Hill in the match and had an 11-6 edge in shots on goal, but Mars Hill keeper Camryn Miller ended the afternoon with 10 saves for the Lions. Grayson Patterson had five saves for the Pioneers, who had six shots on goal in the final 27 minutes but could not find the go-ahead tally.
Tusculum had the first scoring chance just over two minutes into the match as Taylor Youmans caused a turnover at the top left of the box, but her one-on-one chance was saved by the left arm of Miller. The Lions' first shot came just over seven minutes in, when an attempt by Kenzie Quinley was collected by Patterson.
The Pioneers continued to apply early pressure, with Joey Garrett sending a shot wide from 30 yards in the 12th minute and Emma Whitaker having an attempt from the top of the box knocked down by the Lions' defense. Chayse Stonebraker had Tusculum's sixth shot of the match in the 18th minute, but her attempt from 30 yards rolled to Miller for the save.
The Lions scored the opening goal at 27:55 as Carla Humera's pass from the top of the box hit Ross in stride, and she one-timed a 25-yard blast over Patterson into the top corner for her second goal of the season.
Tusculum would level the match at 1-1 at 33:04 as a long blast from the far left wing by Wepking sailed over a leaping Miller for her first goal of the season.
The Lions were being outshot 11-2 over the first 37 minutes before a shot from Zoie Steinkamp in the 38th minute from 10 yards went directly to Patterson for her second save of the afternoon. With just under four minutes to play in the half, the Pioneers' Stonebraker had a chance down the left side with the defense in pursuit, but her low riser was knocked aside by Miller.
Mars Hill nearly went up 2-1 in the opening minutes of the second half as Quinley was able to get clear of the defense at the top of the box, but her quick shot from 10 yards out was redirected by Patterson. Ross had a free kick from 30 yards in the 50th minute that was deflected wide on a lunge by Patterson.
After allowing the first four shot attempts of the second half, Tusculum had its first try in the 55th minute, but a header by Youmans from 15 yards went wide of the far post. Sydney Grant had a break down the right side in the 64th minute, but her shot from the top right corner of the box was caught on a dive by Miller.
Tusculum kept the pressure on and nearly converted in the 74th minute as Stonebraker collected a loose ball and went down the left side toward goal, but Miller went down to smother the low shot from 15 yards away. Three minutes later, the Lions' Ella Parton took a shot from the top left of the box that one-hopped to Patterson.
The Pioneers sought the go-ahead goal with 5 1/2 minutes remaining, but Miller held her line and stopped a sharp-angle shot from Bailey Bylotas to keep the match deadlocked. Youmans followed with a one-hop attempt on a one-timer about a minute later, and a long-range shot from the right side by Grant was collected by Miller with just over four minutes to go.
The last scoring chances for the Pioneers came with 1:23 remaining as a service to the box by Enste was headed wide by Brianna Garcia, and with just under a minute to play as Youmans carried to the box but had her shot blocked by the Mars Hill defense.
Tusculum was called for 10 fouls to six by Mars Hill in the match, and both teams were issued two cautions. The Lions had a 2-1 edge in corner kicks over the Pioneers for the afternoon.
The Pioneers will return home to welcome ninth-ranked Catawba for a SAC matchup on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 5 p.m. The Indians, ranked ninth in the United Soccer Coaches Division II poll, opened the season with eight straight wins before playing to a 0-0 draw with Wingate on Wednesday.