GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Alberto Morales scored the winning goal with 16.4 seconds left in regulation as Queens University of Charlotte rallied from a two-goal deficit to stun Tusculum University 3-2 in the South Atlantic Conference men's soccer opener for both teams Wednesday night at Pioneer Field.
Liam Doyle scored twice to tie the match after Tusculum grabbed an early 2-0 lead, then sent a long cross to Morales who volleyed a shot from close range past Pioneer keeper Alejandro Quiriti for his third goal of the season and the victory.
Earlier in the second half, Quiriti stopped a penalty kick to keep the score tied at 2-2 as the teams looked prepared to head to overtime. However, a quick counterattack by the Royals (4-1-0, 1-0-0 SAC) led to the winning goal for Morales.
Oscar Rubio Jimenez and Ayuk Tambe each scored goals off assists by Fabian Proesch for the Pioneers (2-3-0, 0-1-0 SAC), who dropped their third straight match after opening with a pair of victories. Tusculum outshot Queens 14-8 in the match but each team had six attempts on target. Both Quiriti and Royals keeper Sebastian Kalk finished the night with three saves.
Queens had the early thrust of play, earning a corner that led to a Kieran Gore header that was saved by Quiriti in the opening minute. Quiriti then smothered a sharp-angle shot from the Royals' Nick Aparicio in the fifth minute, followed shortly by a chip from the Pioneers' Jonny Winter that barely missed the crossbar.
At 8:04, the Pioneers broke through as Proesch served a cross from the right side to Jimenez, who beat Kalk to the far post for his second goal of the season and a 1-0 Tusculum lead. Proesch nearly scored in the 13th minute, but he just missed the far post on an attempt.
Consecutive corner kicks awarded to the Pioneers in the 18th minute resulted in the second goal for the Pioneers, as Proesch's second service caromed to Tambe in front, who blasted from 15 yards for his first goal of the season at 17:38.
Tusculum sat on the two-goal lead until the 38th minute, when a foul at the very top of the box resulted in a free kick for Doyle. His shot went high past the wall and past Quiriti for his first goal of the season which pulled Queens within 2-1 at 37:08.
The Pioneers carried the lead into the second half, but a takedown against the Royals' Edmundo Robinson in the box was called at 51:21. Doyle stepped up and went opposite Quiriti for his second goal of the night and a 2-2 game. It was the third penalty-kick goal against the Pioneers in the last two matches, after Lander scored twice from the spot in a 2-1 win over Tusculum on Saturday.
Winter nearly put the Pioneers back on top at 58:15, but the Royals' Pedro Oliveira was in position to clear a shot that went behind Kalk. Tambe shot just wide right following a break through the Queens defense at the 62nd minute, and the Royals were denied as a clear offsides erased a would-be goal in the 75th minute.
With 12:26 left, Robinson was again hauled down in the box to give Queens a penalty kick attempt. Oemer Okyar, who was 2-for-2 this season, stepped up and went direct center against Quiriti, who stuck his back leg out to deflect the shot away for his second penalty save of the year.
The penalty attempt by Okyar would be the last shot to get through the defense for either team until Morales' game-winner.
Tusculum was called for 18 fouls in the match to 10 for Queens, and the Pioneers were shown three yellow cards. The Pioneers had a 9-6 edge in corner kicks, while Tusculum was flagged six times for offsides to four for Queens.
Due to the weather forecast, Sunday's scheduled match against Lenoir-Rhyne was moved to Wednesday, Oct. 10 at Pioneer Field. Tusculum's next contest will be a non-conference battle at Lees-McRae on Wednesday, Sept. 19.