Tusculum men’s soccer team wins SAC championship in double-overtime

ROCK HILL, SC- Andre De Giorgi scored a pair of goals including the match-winner with 1:43 remaining in the second overtime period as the Tusculum College men’s soccer team defeated Lincoln Memorial University 2-1 in the 2016 South Atlantic Conference Men’s Soccer Championship match at Manchester Meadows.

TC freshman Georgios Charkoutsakis sent a long free kick from midfield into the right side of penalty area which senior Jonathan Spicher, deflecting it to De Giorgi who buried the shot just past LMU keeper August Ahlin.  It was De Georgi’s fifth match-winner of the season and secured the Pioneers their second SAC Tournament title in the last three years and a league-record sixth in program history.

Tusculum improves to 16-3 on the year, while the Railsplitters drop to 11-7-1 as their valiant effort for a second SAC Tournament crown came up short.  Both teams will learn their postseason fate on Monday with the announcement of the NCAA Division II Tournament field.

De Georgi was named the SAC Tournament Most Valuable Player, while Charkoutsakis, Isai Hernandez and goalkeeper Jorge Alvarez were also selected to the SAC All-Tournament Team.

The contest was a thriller throughout as the two teams combined for 49 shots (TC 25, LMU 24).

LMU got on the scoreboard in the 16th minute as Henrique Rezek gathered in an Alvarez turnover at the top of the box, maneuvered around the TC goalkeeper and deposited the ball into the open net for a 1-0 lead.

De Giorgi and the Pioneers answered at the 26:20 mark, as he headed in a crossing pass from Vetle Salte that went past Ahlin into the left corner of the goal for the equalizer.

Alvarez made up for the first period miscue with several great saves, including two outstanding stops in the second half.  In the 58th minute, LMU’s Danilo Da Silva gathered in a rebound in the left side of the box, deflecting the ball on frame, but Alvarez made the save while still on the ground from the initial shot.  At the 61:04 mark, LMU’s Victor Peres flicked in a header on goal, but Alvarez made an acrobatic save to keep the score tied.

In the 77th minute, Charkoutsakis added a stop of his own when Alvarez came off his line in the right side of the area, but the ball went through the defense and found George Burne open in front of the net. But his shot was cleared by off the line by Charkoutsakis to keep the match deadlocked at 1-1.

The Pioneers had a couple chances to win it at the end of regulation. In the 86th minute, De Giorgi flicked a header to the right corner of the goal, but Ahlin made the diving stop.  But the best opportunity came when Spicher was fouled at the top of the box in the final minute of the period. Salte’s free kick was heading to the top left corner of the goal, but Ahlin made the save of the match as he flicked the ball over the crossbar to send the contest into extra time.

Tusculum outshot LMU 7-1 in the two overtime periods, including DeGiorgi’s match-winner for his team-leading 16th goal of the season.

Ahlin finished the match with nine saves for LMU, while Alvarez tallied eight stops for the Pioneers. Each team recorded five corner kicks, while LMU had 17 fouls to Tusculum’s 13.

Courtesy: Tusculum Athletics

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