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Pioneers play to scoreless draw with Palm Beach Atlantic

Hannah Graham makes one of her seven saves in Sunday's scoreless draw with Palm Beach Atlantic (photo by Matt Bumgarner)
Hannah Graham makes one of her seven saves in Sunday's scoreless draw with Palm Beach Atlantic (photo by Matt Bumgarner)

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum University and Palm Beach Atlantic University played to a scoreless draw in non-conference women's soccer action Sunday afternoon at a hot and humid Pioneer Field.

Playing in weather more typical for south Florida than east Tennessee, the Pioneers (1-0-1) and Sailfish (1-0-1) were unable to dent the scoreboard despite both teams putting up prolific shot total. Palm Beach Atlantic finished with a 19-15 edge in shots over Tusculum, including 6-2 in the 20 minutes of overtime.

Both goalies were called upon several times to keep their respective teams in the match, with the Pioneers' Hannah Graham finishing with seven saves and the Sailfish's Jez Rubalcava with 10 stops. It was Tusculum's first 0-0 tie since Nov. 1, 2016 against Anderson in the South Atlantic Conference quarterfinals, which the Trojans won on penalty kicks, and their first in the regular season since Oct. 30, 2015 at home against Wingate.

Graham saw the first test of the match in the eighth minute, as she was able to collect a redirected shot by Kylie Meola from 15 yards away. Tusculum had a good look in the 13th minute on a free kick, but Rubalcava dove to her left to stop a deflection from the Pioneers' Kaitlyn Watson.

The Sailfish brought on Trine Seistrup in the 14th minute, and she needed less than two minutes to have a scoring chance which Graham thwarted on a dive from 12 yards out. From there, the Pioneers found their equilibrium and had the better run of play in the latter stages of the half. Carly Mill had a pair of headers in the final seven minutes, one on target and one wide, while a long throw from Carly Culler was sent off the head of Kate Guildford into the arms of Rubalcava.

Tusculum had an early chance in the second half on a shot by Brooke Radcliffe that was scooped up by Rubalcava, but then the play swung back in the Palm Beach Atlantic direction as the Sailfish had the next six shot attempts. Graham made a pair of stops from close range on Kylie Rullo in the 47th and 59th minutes, and made a save on Ashley Swanson in the 62nd minute.

Swanson nearly gave the Sailfish the lead in the 74th minute but her blast soared just over the crossbar. Mill had perhaps the best chance of the match in the 79th minute following a short corner, as she collected the service and forced Rubalcava hard to the right to redirect the shot wide of target.

The Pioneers had the final four shots of regulation, with Rubalcava making relatively routine stops on distance efforts from Kenzie Ellenburg in the 87th minute and Guildford in the closing seconds. Guildford was also just off target as she fired a shot over the top of the crossbar with 90 seconds on the clock.

Neither team put a shot on goal in the first overtime period, but Tusculum had two efforts early in the second 10-minute stanza. Radcliffe was stopped on a chip try by Rubalcava with nine minutes to go, and Sonja Ballmert was denied from long range less than a minute later. The final chance of the match came with just under three minutes to go, as Graham went hard to the right to stop Karina Williams' would-be winner.

Palm Beach Atlantic was whistled for 20 fouls to seven for Tusculum, while the Pioneers had six of the seven corner kicks in the match. Tusculum was flagged twice for offsides to once for Palm Beach Atlantic.

After hosting a pair of Florida-based schools to open the season, the Pioneers will journey to the Sunshine State for two matches next weekend. Tusculum will visit Rollins for a 7 p.m. match on Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. and Embry-Riddle on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 11 a.m.

 

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