Two penalty kicks give #10 Lander 2-1 win over Tusculum

Two penalty kicks give #10 Lander 2-1 win over Tusculum

GREENWOOD, S.C. --- Jordan Skelton scored his second penalty kick goal of the match with 4:35 left to lift 10th-ranked Lander University to a 2-1 victory over Tusculum University in non-conference men's soccer action Saturday night at Van Taylor Soccer Stadium.

Skelton was awarded his second penalty kick after a hard foul in the box during a free kick, and beat keeper Alejandro Quiriti to the opposite side to lift the Bearcats (3-0-0) to the win over the Pioneers (2-2-0).

Lander had a 22-8 advantage in shot attempts over Tusculum, but put just five of their shots on goal. The Pioneers were called for 15 fouls to eight for the Bearcats, and were shown six yellow cards for the match including five in the moments leading up to and following the go-ahead goal.

The Bearcats took a 1-0 lead after being awarded a penalty kick when Robbie Young was taken down from behind in the box on a breakaway. Skelton took the penalty and got the shot between a diving Quiriti and the goalpost at 15:44.

Young had another breakaway in the 32nd minute after collecting a long pass down the right side, but Quiriti went to his right to smother the shot. The Pioneers had a strong chance in the 35th minute after a foul at the top of the box, but the free kick by Edgar Cervantes was knocked aside by the Bearcats' wall.

The Pioneers needed just 30 seconds of the second half to get a good look at goal, but Ayuk Tambe missed the near post after being sprung down the right side.

Tusculum tied the match with 28:53 remaining as a misplay between Lander keeper Jose Eduardo Bomfim and his defense allowed Dario Ljubic to collect a loose ball and score his first goal of the season for the Pioneers.

Lander nearly came back to take the lead seven minutes later, but a header from the six-yard box by Sinclaire Sandy was collected by Quiriti. The Bearcats' George Knight had an opportunity in the 73rd minute, but his angled shot from 20 yards out was denied by Quiriti.

The Bearcats continued to surge toward the Pioneer goal, with a blast from Lander's Lars Kveseth sailing high with just under 13 minutes remaining. The Pioneers' Henrique Devens put a shot on goal with just over 10 minutes remaining that was knocked out of bounds by Bomfim.

With under five minutes remaining, Lander had a free kick opportunity after a foul led to a pair of yellow cards against Tusculum. The free kick was delivered into the box, where a foul and yet another card were dished out to the Pioneers. Skelton stepped to the spot and went the opposite way against Quiriti to give the Bearcats a 2-1 lead in the 86th minute.

Tusculum had little chance to build any pressure against the Lander defense in the final 4 1/2 minutes, allowing the Bearcats to come away with the win.

Both Quiriti and Bomfim finished with three saves in the match for their respective teams. Tusculum had seven corner kicks to three by Lander, and each team was flagged three times for offsides.

The Pioneers will play their South Atlantic Conference opener Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at Pioneer Field against Queens.