Cervantes nets two as Pioneers defeat Catawba, 3-1

Cervantes nets two as Pioneers defeat Catawba, 3-1

SALISBURY, N.C. --- Edgar Cervantes scored two first-half goals to lift Tusculum to a 3-1 win over Catawba in South Atlantic Conference men's soccer action Saturday evening at the Frock Soccer Complex.

Cervantes scored in the fifth and 24th minutes for the Pioneers (2-6-6, 2-3-4 SAC), who added an own goal in the 31st minute to take a 3-0 lead into halftime. The Indians (1-10-2, 1-6-2 SAC) would spoil the shutout bid of Pioneer keeper Alejandro Quiriti with a goal by Bobby Cardelle with 2:42 left.

Cervantes' first goal came at 4:29 of the first half off a corner kick from Connor Green on the first shot attempt of the match. The teams would go 19 minutes without another shot on goal until Green connected with Cervantes again for his third goal in the last two matches and a 2-0 Tusculum lead with 21:30 to go in the first half.

The Pioneers' lead expanded to 3-0 with 14:08 left in the first half on an own goal charged to the Indians' defense. Catawba keeper Joe Gonzalez made the only save of the first half for either team on a stop against Green with 4:45 left in the half.

Catawba, which had two shot attempts in the first half, put its first shot on Quiriti with just over a minute gone in the second half. Tusculum was content to play defense with the three-goal lead, not attempting a shot in the second half until Cervantes' bid for a hat trick was denied by Gonzalez with 28:07 remaining.

Cardelle, who came on as a substitute late in the first half, returned in the 84th minute and earned his first goal of the season on a header, with an assist to Tom Singhgolden. The Indians played the final 16 minutes a man down after Sam Henneberg was issued a second yellow card.

Catawba finished the match with a 9-7 edge in shot attempts, while the Pioneers had an 8-2 advantage in shots on goal. The Indians had 10 corner kicks to six by the Pioneers, while Tusculum was flagged 12 times for offsides in the match. The Pioneers were whistled for 16 fouls to 14 by the Indians, with Catawba receiving three of the match's four cautions.

Quiriti made one save in goal to earn the win for the Pioneers, while Gonzalez had five saves in net for the Indians.

Tusculum returns home for the final week of the regular season, starting Wednesday evening against Lee in a non-conference match at Pioneer Field starting at 7 p.m.