Two late goals give Lees-McRae stunning 4-3 win over Pioneers

Two late goals give Lees-McRae stunning 4-3 win over Pioneers

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Pol Vassart scored twice in the final three minutes, including the game-winner with four seconds left, as Lees-McRae College rallied for a stunning 4-3 victory over Tusculum University in non-conference men's soccer Wednesday night at Tate Field.

With Lees-McRae having a man advantage due to an ejection, Vassart scored the tying goal with 2:48 left and headed home the game-winner in the closing seconds to give the Bobcats (2-3-1) the win.

The Pioneers (2-4-0) conceded the winning goal in the final 20 seconds for the second straight game, after gaining a 3-2 lead early in the second half on a goal by Ayuk Tambe. Sander Johansen and Dario Ljubic also scored for the Pioneers, who outshot the Bobcats by a slim 12-11 margin.

The Bobcats needed just 24 seconds to take a 1-0 lead, as Agustin Ortiz scored on a third opportunity following a pair of saves by Pioneer keeper Sam Gilbert. Vassart was given an assist on the goal by Ortiz.

Tusculum came back to tie the score at 8:52 as Ljubic finished at the far post after a feed from Henrique Devens for his second goal of the season. Tambe was also credited with an assist on the goal.

After Devens nearly gave the Pioneers the lead in the 24th minute, the Pioneers went ahead 2-1 seconds later as Johansen took advantage of a loose ball to score his second of the year at 24:13.

The Bobcats needed just over a minute to draw back even, as Fredrik Haave scored from the top of the box while the Pioneer defense pleaded for a hand ball at 25:18.

In the second half, Tusculum regained the lead at 3-2 at 60:53 as Tambe was ruled onsides as he chipped a shot over Lees-McRae keeper Anton Sundstrom.

Gilbert made his best save of the night in the 69th minute as he denied Vassart on a header with a diving stop.

The Pioneers were forced to play a man down for the final 11 minutes following the issuance of a second yellow card. Vassart had a look from the top of the box in the 82nd minute but was denied by Gilbert.

With the pressure mounting from the Bobcats, it was Vassart who delivered his fifth goal of the season with 2:48 left as he headed home a long service from Philip Oldin. As the final seconds ticked away, a long throw-in from the Bobcats' Connor Hahn sailed to Vassart, who headed home the winner.

Making his first career start, Gilbert finished with five saves for the Pioneers while Sundstrom had one save for the Bobcats.

Lees-McRae was called for 12 fouls to 11 by Tusculum, and the Pioneers had a 3-1 edge in corner kicks. Tusculum was also flagged four times for offsides to two by Lees-McRae.

The Pioneers will return to South Atlantic Conference action on Saturday night with a trip to Wingate for a 7:30 p.m. match against the Bulldogs.