GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- A goal in the 18th minute from Oscar Rubio Jimenez stood as the game-winner as the Tusculum University men's soccer team edged Emmanuel College 1-0 in the season opener for both teams Friday night at Pioneer Field.
The Pioneers (1-0-0) outshot the Lions (0-1-0) by a 16-6 margin in the first regular-season meeting between the schools. Alejandro Quiriti collected his second career shutout as a member of the Pioneers by making four saves in goal.
Tusculum controlled the play in the first half against Emmanuel, outshooting the Lions by a 9-2 margin. Henrique Devens had two excellent chances in the first 10 minutes, but Emmanuel keeper Andy Dunnett made a kneeling save in the eighth minute and a diving stop on a one-on-one situation two minutes later to keep the game scoreless.
Jonny Winter nearly came through in the 15th minute, but his header off a Jimenez corner kick was cleared from the far post by the Lions' Channing Park. After Jimenez had a shot deflected by Dunnett over the goal off a free kick, the Pioneers finally broke through at 17:31 as Dario Ljubic's long cross found the foot of Jimenez, who rifled a shot past Dunnett for a 1-0 Tusculum lead.
Winter was robbed again in the 26th minute as Dunnett went down to stop his hard shot. After allowing the first eight shots of the game, the Emmanuel offense finally stirred in the 27th minute as a long shot from the right side by Danny McKerchar Cameron rang off the far side of the crossbar behind Quiriti. A shot by the Lions' Park was collected by Quiriti in the 33rd minute, and the teams played the final 12 minutes of the half without a try at the goal.
In the second half, Tusculum had a good look in the 65th minute as Ayuk Tambe's blast from 20 yards resulted in a leaping deflection over the frame by Dunnett. Emmanuel thought it had the tying goal in the 74th minute as a rebound from a shot by Blair Springhall was knocked past Quiriti, but offsides was the result.
Tusculum continued to search for the insurance goal as Devens had four shots off target in the final 20 minutes. Emmanuel's Springhall had the last shot on goal with 5:18 left as he cut in from the end line but could not manuever a shot past Quiriti.
Dunnett was valiant in goal in a losing effort for the Lions, finishing the game with seven saves. Tusculum had a 9-5 edge in corner kicks and was called for nine fouls to eight for Emmanuel.
The Pioneers will continue their season-opening stretch of three consecutive home matches as King visits Pioneer Field for a contest on Sunday at 3 p.m.