TC Sports


SAVANNAH, Ga. --- Top-seeded Tusculum College scored twice early, then held on to defeat fifth-seeded Lincoln Memorial University, 3-1, in a NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Southeast Region second-round match on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Field in Savannah.

The Pioneers (15-6) now advance to the Southeast Region final next weekend and face No. 3 seed Columbus State University.

The two South Atlantic Conference foes met for the third time this season, but unlike the first two match-ups in which Lincoln Memorial (15-5-1) was victorious, the Pioneers scored quickly to build an early two-goal lead. Courtney Turner put Tusculum on top in just the sixth minute, netting her fifth goal of the season for a 1-0 lead. In the 12th minute, a deflected cross found the foot of Elisha Robertson, who drove home her second goal of the season.

Lincoln Memorial climbed back into the match thanks to a misplay by Tusculum keeper Tori Hadjopoulos, who couldn't handle a loose ball in the box. Popping behind her, LMU forward Heloisa de Oliveira leaped over Hadjopoulos and was pulled down by the keeper, resulting in a penalty kick in the 23rd minute. The SAC Player of the Year converted, bringing the Railsplitters to within one.

The score remained 2-1 into intermission, with the Railsplitters controlling the midfield. In the second half, Lincoln Memorial tallied the first nine shots of the half, but Tusculum's Danielle Tanner broke the backs of the Railsplitters in the 68th minute, settling a ball at the top of the box and beating the goalkeeper for her 21st goal of the season and a 3-1 lead, clinching the match.

Lincoln Memorial out-shot the Pioneers, 24-17, and owned a 7-5 edge in corner kicks. Hajdopolous made six saves in net for the Pioneers, while LMU keeper Denise de Resende made five saves for the Railsplitters.

The defending Southeast Region champs, Tusculum now faces Columbus State a 3-0 upset winner over top-seeded Carson-Newman for the right to advance to the Elite Eight. Tusculum defeated Columbus State, 1-0, earlier this season.

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