Tusculum rallies late, beats Mars Hill 3-2 in OT in SAC quarterfinals

Tusculum rallies late, beats Mars Hill 3-2 in OT in SAC quarterfinals

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Georgios Charkoutsakis scored the winning goal with 2:24 left in double overtime as Tusculum College rallied for a 3-2 victory over Mars Hill University in the South Atlantic Conference Men's Soccer Championship quarterfinals Tuesday night at Pioneer Field.

Guillermo Lazcano scored the tying goal with 1:37 left in the second half as the second-seeded Pioneers (14-3-0) advance to play Coker in the semifinals Friday night at 7:30 in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The seventh-seeded Lions saw their season come to an end with a record of 6-10-1.

Tusculum outshot Mars Hill 14-5 in regulation and 19-6 for the match, but trailed 2-1 following a goal from Thor-Joakim Stenberg with 17:05 left in the second half. Lazcano then took a through ball from Bryce DeGuira and beat Lion keeper Kristopher Wennin to the short side with just under 90 seconds to go in regulation to send the match to overtime.

Charkoutsakis' goal came off the Pioneers' 11th corner kick of the night, which was served into the box by Tyler Linkous before being headed home by Charkoutsakis for his third game-winner of the season and the fourth overtime winner of the season for the Pioneers.

Tusculum had early pressure on the Mars Hill goal, with Wennin making a pair of saves on Dallas Dunn in the first nine minutes. The Pioneers got on the board at 15:41 when Fabian Proesch scored on a free kick to the top corner from 25 yards out for a 1-0 Tusculum lead.

Charkoutsakis nearly gave the Pioneers a 2-0 lead nearly five minutes later, but his header off a Dunn corner kick went off the top of the crossbar. Mars Hill tied the match on just its third shot attempt at 41:34, as a through pass from Cam Macer was redirected by Joakim Lien for his first goal of the season.

Tusculum went to the locker room with a 7-3 edge in shots over Mars Hill, and a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks. Wennin had three saves in the opening half for the Lions, while Pioneer keeper Jorge Alvarez recorded one save.

The Pioneers maintained steady pressure in the second half, with a shot from Nathaniel Scere clearing the crossbar in the 60th minute and Andre De Giorgi sending a bicycle kick wide of the frame in the 67th minute. The Lions then stunned the Pioneers at 72:55 as Stenberg collected a pass from Stian Sanner and lofted a shot over Alvarez from 25 yards for a 2-1 Mars Hill lead.

With time running out, the Pioneers turned to their bench for a spark and received one from DeGuira, whose give-and-go with Lazcano led to a shot from short range by Lazcano that beat Wennin to the near side for his fourth goal of the season and a 2-2 deadlock with 1:37 on the clock.

Mars Hill had a pair of corner kicks in the early moments of the first overtime, then had a header attempt from Oscar Mitchell that landed on top of the crossbar with 1:37 remaining. However, that would be the last shot attempt for the Lions who were blanked 4-0 in shots in the second extra period. Dunn nearly gave the Pioneers the win immediately prior to the Charkoutsakis goal, but his shot was stopped by Wennin and trickled outside the post and over the end line to set up the decisive corner kick.

Tusculum finished with 11 shots on the Mars Hill goal, as Wennin came up with eight saves. Alvarez had two saves for the Pioneers as Mars Hill mustered four shots on goal in the match, and none in overtime. The Lions were whistled for 21 fouls in the contest to nine by the Pioneers, while Tusculum had an 11-4 edge in corner kicks.

Coker advanced in the SAC tournament by beating Lenoir-Rhyne 7-6 in penalty kicks after the match ended in a 1-1 draw. The Pioneers defeated the Cobras 2-0 on the road on Oct. 25 in a match postponed from Oct. 8 due to Hurricane Matthew. The winner of Friday's semifinal match will advance to Sunday's championship match against the winner of Friday's other semifinal between fifth-seeded Lincoln Memorial and eighth-seeded Brevard, which pull off a stunning 1-0 upset of top-seeded and top-ranked Wingate in a quarterfinal match on Tuesday.