Pioneers close regular season with 4-1 win at Coker

Pioneers close regular season with 4-1 win at Coker

HARTSVILLE, S.C. --- Two goals in the first six minutes and two more in the final six minutes propelled Tusculum University to a 4-1 win over Coker College in South Atlantic Conference women's soccer action Saturday afternoon.

Kaitlyn Watson finished with a goal and an assist for the Pioneers (8-6-3, 5-3-2 SAC), who secured the sixth seed in next week's SAC Championship tournament. The Pioneers will open the tournament on the road Tuesday with a quarterfinal match.

Nicole McMillen, Emma MacDonald and Ellie Tomassoni also scored for the Pioneers, who led the Cobras (0-13-0, 0-10-0 SAC) 2-1 before goals from MacDonald and Tomassoni gave the Pioneers some breathing room in the final minutes.

Tusculum outshot Coker 14-8 in the match, with Bailey Bosler making three saves to earn the win for the Pioneers. Samantha Hoffman had six saves for the Cobras in the loss.

The Pioneers needed just over 90 seconds to open the scoring, as Watson deflected a pass to McMillen who went wide of Hoffman and fired home her first goal of the season at 1:39. Just four minutes later, Watson curled in a cross from Elise Gallo for her second of the year and a 2-0 Tusculum lead at 5:31.

Tusculum, which scored on the first two shot attempts of the match, had the first five shots before Bosler was called upon to make a spectacular save on the Cobra's Grayson Chappell on a corner kick in the 23rd minute, then stopped the follow-up try by Claire Slamka.

In the second half, the Pioneers carried their 2-0 lead until just under 10 minutes remained, when a corner kick from the Cobras' Gaby Sturla caromed off Bosler for her second goal of the season with 9:53 left.

Tusculum came back and regained their two-goal lead with 5:41 to play as MacDonald put home the rebound of a shot by Sonja Ballmert for her third goal of the year and a 3-1 Pioneer lead. Tomassoni closed out the scoring with 1:53 left as she converted a two-on-none break with Katja Andersson for her first goal of the year.

Coker finished the match with a 6-5 advantage in corner kicks over Tusculum, and was called for six fouls to four by the Pioneers.

The SAC Championship tournament will begin Tuesday with four quarterfinal matches hosted by the top four seeds. The semifinals will be Friday, Nov. 2 and the championship match will be Sunday, Nov. 4 at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, South Carolina.