GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - Pontus Rosen scored the only goal of the match with 18:18 left in the second half as Tusculum College shut out Mars Hill 1-0 in South Atlantic Conference men's soccer action at Pioneer Field Wednesday night.
With the win, the Pioneers (3-6-1, 3-0-0 SAC) extended their unbeaten streak to four matches. The Lions, who entered the match leading Division II with 30 goals, were shutout for only the second time this season.
Rosen's goal, his second of the season, came from close range following a pass by Javier Portillo, and the Pioneer defense held off the Lions (7-3-0, 4-1-0 SAC) the rest of the way to hand Mars Hill its first conference loss of the season.
Neither team recorded a shot for the first 11:23 until the Lions' Stephen Bivens shot wide at 11:23. The Lions had four corner kicks in a span of two minutes later in the half, but only had a harmless wide shot by Gregg Munn to show for their efforts. Both goalies came up with saves in the final 11 minutes of the half, as the Pioneers' Andy Goellner stopped Alex Mullen and Mars Hill's Zac Scott denied Roberto Pimentel. The Lions finished the first half with a slender 4-3 advantage in shots, to go with a 5-1 edge in corner kicks.
Play grew increasingly physical in the second half, but neither team was able to put together any sustained attack. The 72nd minute turned out to be decisive as Rosen split the defense in front and roofed a shot past Scott for a 1-0 Tusculum lead.
Rosen nearly gave the Pioneers a 2-0 lead with just over 10
minutes to go, but his blast from 15 yards caromed squarely off the
crossbar. Mars Hill applied late pressure, but was unable to put
any shots on Goellner as the Pioneers played away corner kicks in
the 87th and 90th minutes to seal the win.
Goellner made two saves for the Pioneers while Scott tallied four stops for the Lions. Tusculum finished with an 11-10 advantage in shots, while Mars Hill took seven corners to one by the Pioneers.
Mars Hill hosts No. 21 Anderson on Sunday in a rematch of last season's conference tournament championship game. Kickoff is slated for 4:30 p.m.