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Late goal gives Pioneers 1-0 win over Mars Hill

Late goal gives Pioneers 1-0 win over Mars Hill

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Cheyenne Upton scored the winning goal with 8:24 left in the second half as Tusculum College remained undefeated in the South Atlantic Conference with a 1-0 victory over Mars Hill University in women's soccer action Friday evening at Pioneer Field.

Upton's first goal of the season came off a short cross by Nyssa Garrison and gave the Pioneers (9-2-2, 7-0-1 SAC) their sixth consecutive shutout win and extended their unbeaten streak to eight matches (seven wins, one tie). Tusculum moved seven points clear in the SAC standings pending Saturday's conference results.

Tusculum had a 21-4 edge in shots over Mars Hill (4-8-1, 2-6-0 SAC), but the goalkeeping of the Lions' Maslyn Greene helped keep her team in the match. Greene finished with 13 saves in the contest, including nine in the second half when the Pioneers peppered 13 shots at the Lion net.

In the first half, the Pioneers had the best scoring chance in the 29th minute as Alex Valeri knocked down a clear attempt from Greene and had an open net, but shot wide to the left. Tusculum outshot Mars Hill 8-2 in the opening half.

Early in the second half, Greene came up with saves on Katja Andersson in the 47th minute, Carly Mill in the 49th minute and Carlie Thornber on a header in the 52nd minute. Meanwhile, Pioneer keeper Miriah Martin came up with stops on the Lions' Aleonya Hunter in the 50th minute and Breona Tate in the 72nd minute to keep the match scoreless.

The Pioneers began their all-out press in the final 15 minutes, putting three shots on goal in the span of two minutes. With just under 8 1/2 minutes to play, Garrison carried the ball down the left side and made a short cross to Upton, who had position to knock home the goal and give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead. Mars Hill would not have another shot after Tate's attempt in the 72nd minute, as Tusculum's defense clamped down to secure its seventh shutout of the season.

Martin had three saves for the Pioneers in becoming the first goalkeeper in program history to record six consecutive shutouts, with the six straight clean sheets by the team representing the longest streak since the Pioneers finished the 2000 season with seven straight whitewashes. Martin's 15 career shutouts rank fourth all-time in program history, and she extended her streak of consecutive scoreless minutes to an even 595 minutes dating to Sept. 17 against Lenoir-Rhyne.

In addition to its 21-4 edge in shots, Tusculum also had an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks over Mars Hill. The Lions were whistled for 12 fouls to six by the Pioneers.

Tusculum will resume its schedule on Wednesday, Oct. 19 when the Pioneers make the short trip to Jefferson City to face rival Carson-Newman. The Eagles enter the weekend tied for second place in the SAC with Wingate and Catawba with four games remaining on the slate. Match time is scheduled for 5 p.m.

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