Foster's OT goal gives Pioneers 2-1 win over first-place Lenoir-Rhyne

Shawn Foster scored the winning goal at 2:05 of overtime for the Pioneers (photo by Chuck Williams)
Shawn Foster scored the winning goal at 2:05 of overtime for the Pioneers (photo by Chuck Williams)

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Shawn Foster scored 2:05 into overtime to give Tusculum University a 2-1 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne University in South Atlantic Conference men's soccer action Wednesday night at Pioneer Field.

Foster's first goal of the season came off a cross from Dario Ljubic and gave the Pioneers (6-5-0, 4-2-0 SAC) their fourth straight victory, while snapping the three-match winning streak of the SAC-leading Bears (6-4-0, 5-2-0 SAC).

Tusculum trailed 1-0 following the ninth goal of the season from SAC scoring leader Victor Cascon in the 61st minute, but Henrique Devens tied the score on a chip shot with 14:05 remaining. Foster's winning goal came on the first chance for either team in extra time.

Lenoir-Rhyne had the first scoring opportunity of the match, as a header off a corner kick by Ruben Morillas was grabbed by Tusculum keeper Alejandro Quiriti. Ayuk Tambe came back seconds later for the Pioneers and tried to win the race to a loose ball, but Bears keeper Alexander Langer came out and smothered Tambe's attempt.

The rest of the first half was mostly played between the 18s, as Lenoir-Rhyne finished the scoreless 45 minutes with a 5-3 advantage in shot attempts. Both Quiriti and Langer had two saves in the opening half for their respective teams.

The Bears had a chance in the 57th minute as a blast from 20 yards by Cameron Saul was knocked over the end line by Quiriti. Lenoir-Rhyne then took a 1-0 lead at 60:51 following a free kick, as Marcos Enriquez crossed from the goal line to Cascon, whose header extended his streak of consecutive games with a goal to six.

Trailing 1-0, the Pioneers nearly tied the match at the 72nd minute as Foster redirected the ball from close range and forced Langer to make a quick save. Four minutes later, a service to goal was contested on Langer, and the ball ricocheted to Devens who chipped the ball from 20 yards into the open goal for his fourth of the season and a 1-1 deadlock with 14:05 to play.

Devens nearly found the goal again with just over five minutes left in regulation as he floated a shot wide of the frame from 20 yards away. That would be the final shot attempt of regulation, as each team was called once for offsides in the final 3 1/2 minutes.

In overtime, Ljubic carried the ball down the left side and crossed through Devens to an unmarked Foster, who deposited the first overtime goal and second game-winning goal of his Pioneer career.

Lenoir-Rhyne finished the match with an 11-10 advantage in shots, with both teams putting five of the shots on target. The Bears had all five corner kicks in the match, and were whistled for 10 fouls to seven by the Pioneers. Tusculum was flagged four times for offsides to two for Lenoir-Rhyne in the match.

Quiriti equaled his season high with four saves to earn the victory for the Pioneers, while Langer had three saves in goal for the Bears.

Tusculum will return to action Saturday night at Anderson for a 7:30 p.m. start in SAC action.