HARROGATE, Tenn. — The 18th-ranked Tusculum Pioneers overcame a second-half barrage to defeat the Railsplitters 2-0 in South Atlantic Conference men’s soccer action on an unseasonably hot Wednesday afternoon at the LMU Soccer Complex.
Lincoln Memorial (4-3, 1-2 SAC) outshot the Pioneers (6-0, 3-0 SAC) 20-14 in the match, including a 14-5 onslaught in the second half, but Tusculum accounted for the only two goals (one in each half) and served up the Railsplitters’ first shutout of the 2016 campaign. The loss is LMU’s second straight, while the regulation decision ended a streak of three straight draws in the Lincoln Memorial-Tusculum series.
The two teams were playing to what appeared to be an impassable stalemate through the first 40 minutes of action, but the Pioneers swung the momentum in their favor right before the first half ended off of a set piece, as a corner kick from Tyler Linkous was headed directly in by Nathaniel Scere in the 43rd minute. That came in the immediate aftermath of an earlier Tusculum corner-kick attempt, when the LMU defense failed to clear the ball out of their zone.
From the start of the second half until well into the 70th minute, the Railsplitters put steady pressure on the Tusculum defense with significant build up after significant build up. However, Lincoln Memorial was unable to break through while that push forward opened the door for a counterattack in the 76th minute, when Andre de Giorgi ripped in a left-footed shot from the top corner of the box to increase Tusculum’s lead to 2-0.
The Railsplitters didn’t make life easy for the Pioneers down the stretch, hoisting up five shots over the final 15 minutes, but Tusculum keeper Jorge Alvarez saved the only two shots on goal over that span to preserve the shutout. Alvarez – the reigning SAC Player of the Week – finished with six saves to improve to 6-0 on the season.
In addition to winning the shot battle 20-14, the Railsplitters produced six shots on goal as compared to only three for the Pioneers, who made the most of their limited attempts.
Danilo da Silva led all players with eight shots and three shots on goal, including one in the third minute that could have altered the course of the match. Making his first start of the season, Mats Rohrken added four shots with two shots on goal, while George Burne and Victor Peres had two shots apiece.
Lincoln Memorial freshman goalkeeper August Ahlin made one save and allowed two goals over 90 minutes of work to fall to 4-3 on the season.
The Railsplitters will look to avoid their third straight loss on Saturday, when they host the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears for a SAC showdown beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the LMU Soccer Complex. Live stats and video links will be available at www.LMURailsplitters.com.