HARROGATE, TN – The No. 4 seed Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters scored the final three goals to break open a 1-1 match and advance past No. 5 Carson-Newman, 4-1, in the opening round of the 2011 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament on Tuesday afternoon.
For the first time since the 2008 season, the Lincoln Memorial University men's soccer team will play in the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament semifinals. With the win, LMU improves to 8-6-3, while C-N ends its season at 6-9-1.
The Railsplitters jumped ahead early. In only the 11th minute of the match, LMU freshman Mario Pinto caught a pass from teammate and countryman Leonardo Germniani and punched it into the frame from 10 yards out in front of the goal to give the Railsplitters a 1-0 lead.
Carson-Newman bounced back less than five minutes later at the 14:24 mark when the Eagle's Taylor Jolley used teammate Robert Hill's pass to even the match at 1-1. The score marks Jolley fourth goal in his last two matches.
Tied 1-1, the LMU men increased their offensive attack all until defender Nick Muth struck paydirt at 21:32 with some indirect help from teammate Mario Pinto to once again give Railsplitters the lead. Muth's goal came when Pinto slipped past the keeper and chipped the ball toward the goal. Muth came streaking into the box and found the back of the net to give the Railsplitters the 2-1 advantage.
After playing scoreless the remainder of the first half, LMU's final goals came early in the final stanza to seal the Eagles fate. Railsplitter defender Calum Home scored his fourth goal of the season with help from Mario Pinto when he headed Pinto's corner kick into the frame from five yards out. The final nail came when junior Mackenzie Wilde intercepted a defensive pass to the keeper, got by the keeper and scored to give LMU its 4-1 margin of victory.
Defensively, Carson-Newman keeper Michael Alley finished the afternoon with four saves, while LMU goalkeeper Michael Watkins stopped two Eagle shots and gave up only one goal.
The Railsplitters will now prepare to travel to Rock Hill, South Carolina for Friday's semifinal round action, which is set to be played at the Rock Hill Sportsplex. LMU will face the winner of the No. 1 seed Anderson University and No. 8 seed Wingate University match.