Pioneers beat Milligan 3-2 in final tuneup for regular season

Luke Murphy had a goal and an assist against Milligan (photo by Chuck Williams)
Luke Murphy had a goal and an assist against Milligan (photo by Chuck Williams)

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Henrique Devens scored off a corner kick early in the second half as Tusculum University defeated Milligan College 3-2 Wednesday night in men's soccer action at Pioneer Field.

The game was an exhibition for the Pioneers, who will play their regular-season opener at Emmanuel on Saturday. The Buffaloes (1-1-0) received two goals from Roberto Fernandez Garrido after the senior scored four times in a season-opening win over Midway on Saturday.

Luke Murphy had a goal and an assist and Sokho De Souza also scored for the Pioneers, who outshot the Buffaloes 17-10. De Souza and Murphy scored nearly seven minutes apart after Garrido's first goal in the ninth minute gave the Buffaloes a 1-0 lead.

On the opening goal, the Buffaloes' defense broke up a corner kick attempt by the Pioneers and a long pass downfield went behind the Pioneer back line. Tusculum keeper Alejandro Quiriti came out to smother the ball away from a Milligan attacker, but Garrido swooped in, gathered the rebound and gave the Buffs a 1-0 lead at 8:54.

Just over four minutes later, Murphy chipped a pass to De Souza at the top of the box and he drove a shot to the far post to level the score at 1-1 at 13:16. After the goal, the Pioneers buzzed around the Buffaloes' goal with shots from Oscar Rubio Jimenez in the 15th minute and Devens in the 18th minute.

Murphy then gave the Pioneers a 2-1 lead at 19:59 as he volleyed home a crossing pass from Clement Dagorn. Both teams then retreated defensively as the heat and humidity limited the attack for the next 14 minutes. Tusculum almost added a third goal in the 34th minute as Murphy was stopped by Milligan keeper Jared Whittenbarger off a corner and Nikola Vujicic fired the rebound into the outside of the net.

Garrido tied the game at 37:01 after the Buffaloes were awarded a free kick following a Pioneer foul. Joel Dominguez took the kick from the far left side and Garrido flicked a header past Quiriti for his sixth of the young season and a 2-2 score.

The only other shot of the half came from Tusculum's Georgios Charkoutsakis following a corner kick in the 41st minute, as the Pioneers went to the locker room deadlocked at two despite advantages of 7-4 in shots and 6-0 in corners.

The first shot of the second half would be the match-winner for the Pioneers, as Jimenez served a corner kick to the box that went off Charkoutsakis' head to Devens, who headed home the goal at 49:15 for a 3-2 Pioneer lead.

The Pioneers almost made it a 4-2 game in the 88th minute but Whittenbarger came up with consecutive point-blank saves on Harry Easterby and Devens. The last shot attempt by Milligan was a chip from range by Dominguez that Quiriti easily cradled in the final seconds.

Tusculum ended the match with a 17-10 shot advantage over Milligan, and a 12-6 edge in shots on goal. Whittenbarger had nine saves in goal for the Buffaloes, while Quiriti came up with four stops for the Pioneers. Tusculum was whistled for 18 fouls to 15 by Milligan, and the Pioneers enjoyed an 8-1 lead in corner kicks.