Western Foothills Athletic 3A Conference Fred T. Foard: 3 East Lincoln: 0 North Iredell: 3…
It appeared as if the Lenoir-Rhyne and Tusculum Men’s Soccer Teams were heading towards a conference-opening draw. Until it wasn’t.
In the 90th minute, Harri Rowe sent a pass over the Pioneers backline to Adrian Martina, who placed a header right past the outstretched hand of Tusculum’s Nicolas Leite to give the Bears their first win in the Carlos Rubio era, a 1-0 victory over the Pioneers.
The graduate student has now scored all three goals for LR this season and with the late game-winner, the Bears avoided back-to-back shutouts at home.
For the second match in a row, the Bears came out of the break as the better team. This time, the Bears were able to get the job done to start SAC play with three points next to their name.
It was another physical match at the Moretz Sports Athletic Campus with 21 total fouls and 10 yellow cards. The Bears had 15 of the fouls while the Pioneers had six yellow cards.
LR had a pretty accurate night with its shot selection as six of their 11 shots were on goal. Hector Nieto had three shots on goal and five shots in total.
The Bears recorded their first shutout of the season with the result. It is the program’s first since the 2022 SAC Championship Game, which was also a 1-0 result, and Juan Basabe’s 15th shutout of his career.
Harri Rowe has assisted on both LR goals this season in the open play. The junior defender only had one assist in 2022.
The focal point of the second half were set pieces. Both sides had three corner kicks in the second half after there was only one total in the first half.
Tusculum leads the all-time series, 17-14-5. It is LR’s first win in Hickory against Tusculum since its 2-1 victory on Sept. 16, 2017. This is the sixth-straight contest that the Bears and Pioneers were separated by one goal or fewer.
The 1-0 result marks the second-straight year the Bears recorded a clean sheet in their SAC opener; LR defeated Lincoln Memorial, 3-0, on Sept. 7, 2022 This is the first time that LR won its home conference opener since a 4-0 victory over Catawba on March 11, 2021.
The Bears are 1-1-1 overall, 1-0 in the South Atlantic Conference. Lenoir-Rhyne will begin a two-game road trip with a match at Limestone on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m. The Bears look to erase their five-game losing streak to the Saints.