Lander defense shines in 1-0 win over Tusculum

Lander defense shines in 1-0 win over Tusculum

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Corentin Da Mutten scored on a chip shot in the 52nd minute and later cleared the potential tying goal off the line to help Lander to a 1-0 victory over Tusculum in non-conference men's soccer action Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Field.

The Bearcats (3-1-0) used a strong performance in goal from Dean Cowdroy to come away with the victory, as he stopped a penalty kick and two other shots from short range as the Pioneers (0-2-1) looked for the equalizer. Cowdroy made four saves in all to register his second consecutive shutout for Lander.

Tusculum had early pressure but could not put a shot on the Lander goal, while the Bearcats had several attempts from the field that were snagged by Pioneer keeper Ivan Safranic. Tusculum's only shot on the half came on a header by Andreas Kvam in the 37th minute that was easily grabbed by Cowdroy.

In the second half, the Bearcats took advantage of a blocked clear in the Pioneer end as Sam Lofts fed Da Mutten, who chipped over Safranic from 20 yards out into the goal for his first of the season and a 1-0 Lander lead at 51:28.

Tusculum put on pressure which led to Oscar Rubio Jimenez being taken down in the box with 27:14 to go. Georgios Charkoutsakis stepped up to take the penalty for the Pioneers, but his shot to the low right corner was steered wide by Cowdroy to keep Lander ahead 1-0. The Pioneers did not let down after the save, as a header by Loic Desrameaux off the ensuing corner kick was played off the chest by Da Mutten and cleared wide.

Tusculum had two more excellent chances to find the equalizer, but Cowdroy batted away a header by Marten Niilop with 4:57 left and directed wide a chance from Charkoutsakis with 4:22 to go. Safranic was not to be outdone for the Pioneers, as he made an acrobatic stop on a free kick by the Bearcats' Oliver Brock that deflected off the Tusculum wall with 6:36 remaining.

Lander finished the match with an 8-5 advantage in shots and a 5-4 edge in corner kicks. Lander was whistled for 15 fouls to 14 by the Pioneers, who were shown three of the four cautions in the match. Safranic finished the match with five saves and has allowed exactly one goal in each of his first three matches.

The Pioneers will look to break into the win column on Wednesday night when they host Lincoln Memorial in the South Atlantic Conference opener for both teams. Wednesday's match is a rematch of last year's SAC Championship tournament finals, which Tusculum won 2-1 in double overtime.