Coker rallies in second half for 3-1 win over Tusculum

Coker rallies in second half for 3-1 win over Tusculum

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Coker scored three goals in the final 38 minutes to erase a halftime deficit and defeat Tusculum 3-1 in South Atlantic Conference men's soccer action Sunday at Pioneer Field.

Playing in a steady rain that became heavier as the match progressed, the Cobras (2-7-0, 1-5-0 SAC) scored in the 53rd, 63rd and 82nd minutes to overcome a 1-0 lead by the Pioneers (1-6-4, 1-3-2 SAC).

Jonny Winter scored his first goal of the season in the 29th minute for the Pioneers, who outshot the Cobras 15-9 in the match but saw Coker keeper Justin Walker finish with eight saves for the afternoon.

Tusculum had the first shot on goal off the foot of Connor Green in the ninth minute, with Coker's Jacob Simonis putting the Cobras' first shot on net less than a minute later. Sam Hall had the best early chances, breaking through the defense in the 24th minute but seeing his shot from 12 yards smothered by Walker.

Winter collected the first goal of the match at 28:15 as Rocco Menna dribbled down the right side toward the end line, then passed back to Winter who blasted a shot past Walker.

Tusculum had three more shots in the first half, including a try from close range by Gustavo Gantus that sailed over the net. Coker had one last chance in the final 30 seconds of the half, but Tusculum keeper Alejandro Quiriti was able to stop a shot attempt from Simonis.

Simonis nearly tied the match just over two minutes into the second half as he got around Quiriti who had come out to the top of the box, but put his shot wide of the frame. The Cobras were able to collect the equalizer at 52:44 as Matt Trimby headed home a corner kick from Steffen Husum for his first goal of the season.

With 27:36 to play, the Cobras gained the lead at 2-1 as Attiyyah Shakir sent a long pass from his defensive end to Aladdin Elfares, who carried down the right side and beat Quiriti to the far side from a sharp angle. Elfares' fourth goal of the season gave Coker the lead at 2-1.

With the rain clearly affecting the quality of play on the field, the Pioneers nearly caught a break in the 78th minute. Ivan Andabak's shot from long range was fumbled by Walker and rolled toward the open net, but Walker was able to cradle the ball just shy of the line to preserve the Cobras' 2-1 lead.

About 3 1/2 minutes later, the Cobras got an insurance goal as Chris Bordelon led Elfares down the right side, and his cross was directed off the foot of Quadarius Grate past Quiriti for his first goal of the season and a 3-1 Coker lead with 8:51 to go.

Tusculum's last scoring opportunity came on a shot from Green that was saved by Walker with 4:24 left, though the Pioneers did have two corner kicks in the final four minutes. Green led all players with five shots attempts in the match, while Quiriti finished with two saves for the Pioneers.

Coker had a 4-3 edge in corner kicks in the match and were whistled for 13 fouls to 10 by Tusculum. Each team was shown one yellow card, and the Cobras were flagged four times for offsides to three by the Pioneers.

Tusculum will return to action on Friday, Oct. 13 with a South Atlantic Conference match at Mars Hill.