CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Two goals in the first half helped send Queens University of Charlotte to a 2-1 victory over Tusculum University Wednesday night in South Atlantic Conference men's soccer action at Dickson Field.
Wednesday's contest, a rematch of the opening round of last year's NCAA Division II Tournament which Tusculum won 3-2, was a physical battle with 32 fouls and eight cards issued. Queens (6-2-0, 3-1-0 SAC) had nine shots to seven for Tusculum (2-4-1, 1-1-1 SAC), but built a 2-0 lead by halftime that the Pioneers could only cut in half before the final whistle.
Henri Huryn and Keegan Burton scored goals for the Royals in the opening half, with the Pioneers' Edgar Cervantes responding with just over 30 minutes left. However, Queens keeper Sebastian Kalk made the most of his three saves by twice denying Tusculum's Luke Murphy from close range.
Henrique Devens had the first strong opportunity in the fourth minute for the Pioneers, but his blast from 25 yards went just wide of the post. In the sixth minute, a cross from Sokho De Souza skittered just past a charging Murphy in the front of the Queens goal. The first shot from the Royals came in the 12th minute as a shot from David Alvarez was collected cleanly by Pioneer keeper Sam Gilbert.
The Royals went up 1-0 at 17:58 as a corner kick by Michael Hornsby was gathered in the box by Huryn, who beat Gilbert to open the scoring.
Kalk kept the Royals up by making a stop on Devens in the 25th minute. In the 32nd minute, Gilbert was able to punch away a free kick by the Royals' Boris Basara. Basara had another scoring chance in the 38th minute, but Gilbert dove to make the stop. Just seconds later, Burton headed home a pass from Will Martin to extend the Queens lead to 2-0 with 7:03 to play in the first half.
Kalk kept the Pioneers off the board with a remarkable one-handed save off a sliding touch by Luke Murphy with just under three minutes left in the half. Following the save, Devens was sent off on a red card for the Pioneers, leaving Tusculum a man down for the entire second half.
The Pioneers pulled within 2-1 at 59:13 as a feed from Sander Johansen went to Cervantes, who scored his second goal of the season.
Gilbert came up with a strong save in 65th minute as he smothered a shot by the Royals' Elvis Menayese. Moments later, the teams were back even as Queens' Monoel Dos Passos was sent off for a second yellow card. Murphy nearly found the equalizer in the 82nd minute, but Kalk punched a chip from close range over the crossbar. Tusculum's last chance came on a shot from 20 yards by Cervantes that went wide of the target with just over a minute left.
Gilbert finished with seven saves for the Pioneers, who had a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks over the Royals.
Tusculum will host Anderson on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Pioneer Field in a SAC matchup. The match will be part of a celebration of 50 seasons of men's soccer at Tusculum, with former players and coaches to be honored prior to the Homecoming football game on Saturday and at halftime of Sunday's match.