GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum College junior Jillian Cunha converted the second-seeded Pioneers’ third attempt in a penalty kick shootout on Wednesday evening to push Tusculum through to the semifinal round of the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament, after Tusculum and seventh-seeded Lincoln Memorial University played to a scoreless draw through 110 minutes.
Tusculum (14-4-2) outshot the Railsplitters (7-8-3) 18-16 in the match, including a 5-4 margin in the first half. Freshman Marjaana Kaaresvirta made five saves for the Pioneers, in addition to two key stops in the shootout, to earn her third shutout of the season. Sarah Thompson made eight saves for LMU in the match to also earn a clean sheet.
Both teams had several scoring chances in regular time, with the best opportunity of the match coming in the 87th minute when Tusculum’s Kourtney Kavic delivered a well-struck shot towards the bottom left corner, but Thompson made a brilliant save to preserve the scoring draw and force extra time. Lincoln Memorial had several chances to score the winner in extra time but Kaaresvirta made several clutch stops for the Pioneers.
Tusculum converted its first three attempts in the shootout as Claire Duncan, Amber Marceau, and Cunha each beat the keeper to give the Pioneers a 3-1 advantage after three sets of attempts. Kaaresvirta made two brilliant saves to propel TC to the shootout win, including a diving stop on LMU’s fourth attempt to push the Pioneers through the semifinal round of the conference tournament.
The Pioneers return to the pitch on Friday when they take on sixth-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne University in a SAC Tournament semifinal match in a rematch of Saturday’s overtime thriller, which L-R won 2-1. The match is slated for 6 p.m. at the Manchester Meadows Soccer Complex in Rock Hill, S.C.
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