GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- After picking up its first two victories of the season, the Tusculum University men's soccer team is looking to build momentum as it dives into the heart of its South Atlantic Conference schedule this week.
The Pioneers will travel to Charlotte to face Queens University on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday the team will celebrate 50 seasons of men's soccer at Tusculum as the Pioneers host Anderson at 1 p.m. in a rematch of last year's SAC Championship match.
Tusculum enters the week unbeaten in its last three matches (two wins, one draw) and has an overall record of 2-3-1 and a SAC mark of 1-0-1. The Pioneers are tied for fourth place in the conference with Lenoir-Rhyne and Lincoln Memorial, both of which are at 1-1-1. Tusculum is one of three unbeaten teams in conference play, along with Carson-Newman and Wingate which are both 2-0-1.
RECAPPING THE WEEK
The Pioneers played their home opener on Wednesday against Lees-McRae and won the non-conference match by a score of 2-0. Edgar Cervantes scored in the 40th minute and Henrique Devens added a goal in the 68th minute for the Pioneers, while Sam Gilbert had four saves to earn his first career shutout.
On Saturday, the Pioneers put their all-time unbeaten record on the line with a trip to Newberry, and were able to extend their streak to 22 consecutive matches (19-0-3) with a 2-1 overtime win over the Wolves. Devens scored with 47 seconds left in overtime for the Pioneers, who also received a goal from Clement Dagorn in the victory. Gilbert finished the match with three saves, allowing just a penalty kick goal to Newberry in the 26th minute.
Queens beat Lenoir-Rhyne 3-1 on Saturday for their second consecutive victory, as David Alvarez scored in the 11th and 23rd minutes to help give the Royals a quick 3-0 lead. Sebastian Kalk finished with nine saves in the win.
The Royals are 5-2-0 overall and 2-1-0 in the SAC, with their only league loss coming by a score of 2-0 to Lincoln Memorial on Sept. 21. Queens also owns a victory over nationally-ranked Limestone, beating the 25th-ranked Saints 1-0 in their season opener on Sept. 8.
Alvarez leads the Royals with five goals and an assist for 11 points, placing him in a tie for second in the SAC in both goals and points. Keegan Burton has added two goals and two assist in five matches for Queens, which has outscored its opponents 12-6. Kalk has played every match in goal for the Royals and leads the conference in save percentage (.842, 32 saves) and ranks second in goals against average (0.83).
The Pioneers have won six of the nine all-time meetings with the Royals, including a 3-2 win in the first round of the NCAA Division II Tournament last November.
Anderson begins the week with a 3-3-1 overall record and an 0-2-1 mark in SAC contests. The Trojans broke a two-game losing streak by playing Carson-Newman to a 1-1 tie on Saturday, following losses to Newberry (3-1) and Wingate (2-1). Harry Ward scored the tying goal in the 60th minute for the Trojans against the Eagles, with Gal Elyashiv making 11 saves in goal.
The Trojans come to Greeneville following a match with Coker on Wednesday at the Anderson Civic Center, which is serving as a temporary home field along with Legacy Early College in Greenville, South Carolina. The Trojans won three straight non-conference games over Southern Wesleyan (2-0), Lees-McRae (3-0) and North Georgia (1-0) before entering league play.
Ward leads the Trojans in scoring with three goals and two assists for eight points, followed by Alexander Cox-Ashwood with two goals and an assist. Elyashiv has a 1.15 goals against average (third in SAC) and a .778 save percentage for the Trojans this season.
Tusculum leads the all-time series with Anderson by a 7-6-1 margin, including a 0-0 draw on the road late last season. The Pioneers are 3-0-1 in their last four meetings with the Trojans, but are just 1-3 at home in SAC matches with Anderson.
Devens is tied for fourth in the SAC in goals with four and tied for sixth in points with nine. Devens has scored a goal in each of the last four matches, the longest streak for the Pioneer since Bruno Conceicao scored in five straight in 2008. Gilbert ranks seventh in the SAC with a .750 save percentage and eighth in goals against average at 1.34.
Links to live stats and video for Tusculum University athletic events can be found through tusculumpioneers.com.