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Tambe scores twice as Pioneers top Wingate 3-1 in SAC quarterfinals

Tambe scores twice as Pioneers top Wingate 3-1 in SAC quarterfinals

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Ayuk Tambe scored two goals, including the go-ahead penalty kick midway through the second half, as Tusculum University beat Wingate University 3-1 in the South Atlantic Conference Men's Soccer Championship quarterfinals Tuesday night at Pioneer Field.

Jonny Winter added a goal in the final minute for the third-seeded Pioneers (10-6-1), who advance to play Carson-Newman in the semifinals on Friday at 7 p.m. at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The seventh-seeded Eagles beat second-seeded Queens 2-1 to move into the semifinals.

Tusculum finished with a 20-8 edge in shots over Wingate (8-6-1), which scored its only goal in the 63rd minute on a header by Soren Nygaard to tie the score at 1-1. The sixth-seeded Bulldogs fell to 1-6 all-time against the Pioneers in the SAC Tournament with the loss.

The Bulldogs had the first shot attempt in the eighth minute, but Pioneer keeper Alejandro Quiriti made the save on a left-footed drive by Stuart Hendry from 15 yards.

Tusculum's first shot did not come until the 17th minute, but it ended up as a goal as Dario Ljubic beat the defender on the end line and crossed to Tambe at the far post, who headed home his seventh goal of the season for a 1-0 Pioneer lead at 16:57.

Shawn Foster had a look for the Pioneers in the 34th minute, but his shot to the far post from 15 yards went just wide. In the 36th minute, the Pioneers had a corner kick which was mishandled by Bulldog keeper Victor Spaggiari and fell to Georgios Charkoutsakis, whose kick sailed high.

In the second half, Henrique Devens' bid for a goal was deflected by the defense and over the frame in the 53rd minute. Tusculum had five corner kicks in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but managed just a header from Mathias Grimstad that bounced wide of the goal.

Tambe nearly made it 2-0 Tusculum with exactly 30 minutes remaining, playing the ball around Spaggiari and facing an open goal. However, Wingate defender Pablo Bianchi met Tambe near the post and was able to deflect the shot out of play.

Just two minutes after Bianchi saved a goal, Wingate got the equalizer as Rob Tomlin's long free kick bounced through to Nygaard, who headed his third goal of the season past Quiriti with 27:53 remaining to knot the score at 1-1.

Tusculum caught a break with 23:40 left as a header by Winter was tipped over the goal by the hands of Wingate's Elliot Cutts, resulting in both a straight red card and a penalty kick. Tambe stepped up and went opposite Spaggiari for his second goal of the match and a 2-1 Pioneer lead.

Playing a man up, the Pioneers cranked up the pressure on the Bulldog defense. Winter was denied by Spaggiari on a reaction with 21:10 to go, and Charkoutsakis had an attempt from short range that rolled into Spaggiari's arms in the 73rd minute.

Tambe nearly finished off the hat trick twice in the final four minutes, but Spaggiari deflected a 1v1 try at the near post with 3:07 left and Tambe chipped over the crossbar with 1:53 left. Wingate's last chance came on a header by Domenico Colletta that went harmlessly wide with 1:08 to play.

Wingate had a second player sent off with exactly one minute left, and Winter took advantage as he corralled a long pass from Fabian Proesch and went in with Tambe along on goal. Winter kept it and fired home his first goal of the season with 43 seconds left to clinch the win.

Tusculum took 11 corner kicks in the match to four by Wingate, including a 9-2 margin in the second half. Each team was whistled for 15 fouls, while the Pioneers were flagged six times for offsides to twice for the Bulldogs.

Quiriti earned the win in goal for the Pioneers by making three saves, while Spaggiari had five saves in goal for the Bulldogs.

Tusculum and Carson-Newman met on Oct. 3 in Jefferson City, with the Pioneers winning 1-0 on a late goal by Tambe. Friday's matchup will be the first meeting between the rivals in the SAC tournament since the Pioneers beat the Eagles 2-1 on the road in the 2014 quarterfinals en route to the conference title. The schools last met in the semifinal round in 2009, with Tusculum winning 2-1 on its way to the championship.

The winner of the match between the Pioneers and Eagles will face the winner of Friday's other semifinal match between Lenoir-Rhyne and Anderson in the championship match, which will be played Sunday at 4 p.m. at Manchester Meadows.

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