FRANKLIN SPRINGS, Ga. --- Jeremy Gwaltney scored on a header off a free kick with 9:09 left in the second half to boost Emmanuel College to a 2-1 victory over Tusculum University in men's soccer action Saturday evening.
The Lions (1-0-0) were outshot 16-10 by the Pioneers (0-1-0) but scored twice in the second half to erase a 1-0 deficit. Shane Cronin had tied the game for Emmanuel with a goal in the 54th minute.
Nikola Vujicic scored for the Pioneers in the 27th minute, but Tusculum could not solve Emmanuel keeper Giuliano Palma in the second half despite taking 12 shots and putting three on target. Palma finished the contest with six saves for the Lions.
The Lions had the best scoring opportunity of the game's opening 25 minutes as Channing Park put a shot off the goalpost in the 21st minute. Tusculum had two shots on goal in the first half of the first half, coming from Edgar Cervantes in the 14th minute and Oscar Rubio Jimenez in the 24th minute.
As the clock passed the 26th minute, the Pioneers got on the board as a blast from distance ricochet off the crossbar into the air, then out of the hands of keeper Palma as Vujicic dropped in the rebound for a 1-0 Tusculum lead. Henrique Devens was credited with the assist on Vujicic's tally.
The Pioneers had the first three shot attempts of the second half before keeper Alejandro Quiriti was called upon to make a stop on Gwaltney in the 49th minute. However, the Lions tied the game at 1-1 at 53:46 on a blast from 30 yards by Shane Cronin.
With just over nine minutes to go, the Lions were awarded a free kick on the far right side of the field, and the service by Sam Murphy was headed by Gwaltney past Quiriti to give Emmanuel its first lead of the evening at 2-1.
Tusculum's only significant scoring chance in the final nine minutes came off the head of Roy Deutekom following a service by Sokho De Souza, but the ball went high over the frame with just over five minutes on the clock.
The Pioneers had four corner kicks in the match to three by the Lions, while Tusculum was called for 15 fouls compared to nine by Emmanuel. Quiriti finished the evening with three saves in goal for the Pioneers.
Tusculum will travel to fifth-ranked Young Harris to face the Mountain Lions on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. The teams met twice last season, with Young Harris winning the regular-season contest 4-0 in Greeneville and capturing a 2-1 win over Tusculum in the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament on its home field.