Tusculum, Carson-Newman play to 2-2 draw

Tusculum, Carson-Newman play to 2-2 draw

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Two second-half goals allowed Carson-Newman to overcome a halftime deficit and come away with a 2-2 tie with Tusculum in South Atlantic Conference men's soccer action at Pioneer Field Wednesday night.

The Pioneers (1-6-6, 1-3-4 SAC) took a 2-0 lead in the first half on goals by Edgar Cervantes in the 6th minute and Jonny Winter in the 25th minute, but the Eagles (9-3-2, 6-1-2 SAC) came back in the second half on goals by Thaylan Silva in the 60th minute and Tom Read in the 80th minute.

Tusculum had a 17-8 edge in shots in regulation, but Carson-Newman had four of the five shots in overtime as the Pioneers ended up with an 18-12 shot advantage in the match.

With the deadlock, Tusculum set SAC records for most draws in conference matches in a season (four) and ties in all matches in a season (six). The Pioneers also moved within one tie of the NCAA Division II record of seven in a season set by Seattle Pacific in 2007 and matched by Cal State San Bernardino in 2012.

Tusculum wasted little time in applying pressure on the Carson-Newman goal, as Connor Green fired high from 15 yards just over two minutes into the match. The Pioneers were awarded a free kick in the sixth minute, and Green's service to the goal was deflected by Cervantes past Carson-Newman keeper Joe Boyd to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead just 5:40 into the first half.

Carson-Newman's first shot on goal came in the 18th minute, as Silva's attempt was stopped by Tusculum keeper Alejandro Quiriti. Cervantes nearly scored his second of the match in the 21st minute, but his header was batted away by a leaping Boyd. The Carson-Newman defense prevented Green from putting home the rebound, as Samuel Jenkins played the ball wide to keep the Tusculum lead at 1-0.

Winter collected his third goal of the season for the Pioneers at 24:08 as Cervantes played the ball down the right side to Dario Ljubic, whose one touch to the box was fired by Winter past Boyd and a 2-0 Tusculum lead.

Tusculum held the 2-0 lead into halftime as the Pioneers outshot the Eagles 10-4 in the first half. Boyd made three saves in the opening half while Quiriti had one stop for the Pioneers.

Carson-Newman got on the board with 30:36 remaining as a cross from Read was headed by Silva past Quiriti for his second goal of the season. The Eagles' search for the tying goal was answered by Read with 10:21 left as he collected a pass off a turnover, beat the defense and scored from 15 yards out for his ninth goal of the season.

From there, the Pioneers had three corner kicks in the final 6 1/2 minutes but could not get a shot on goal until a try from distance by Marten Niilop was stopped by Boyd in the closing minute. Read kept on the pressure in overtime, taking three shots on goal in the first extra period and then chipping a volley wide and high of the goal with 40 seconds left in the second overtime.

The match was a physical contest, with 23 fouls called against Carson-Newman and 14 whistled against Tusculum. The Eagles had two of the three yellow cards displayed in the contest, and were flagged five times for offsides. Carson-Newman had a 7-6 advantage in corner kicks, but none in the overtime periods.

Quiriti finished with five saves in goal for the Pioneers, while Boyd had five stops as well for the Eagles. Read had a match-high seven shots for the Eagles, while Cervantes and Green had four shots apiece for the Pioneers.

Tusculum will head to Catawba for a key SAC match with the Indians on Saturday beginning at 5 p.m.