HARTSVILLE, S.C. --- Celestin Blondel scored midway through the first half and the Coker University defense made the lead stand for a 1-0 victory over Tusculum University in South Atlantic Conference men's soccer action Saturday afternoon.
The Cobras (2-1-4, 1-0-1 SAC) finished with a 10-4 advantage in shots over the Pioneers (0-4-1, 0-2-0 SAC) and held Tusculum to one shot on goal in the match, which was saved by Jasper Rump by the Cobras late in the first half.
Through the first 22 minutes, the only two shot attempts came from Blondel and were blocked by the Tusculum defense. However, his third effort resulted in the first goal of the match at 22:48 as Blondel gathered a loose ball off a free kick at the top of the box, moved around a defender and sent a shot from 20 yards that got past Tusculum keeper Bruno De Freitas.
Coker nearly took a 2-0 lead about 4 1/2 minutes later on a quick touch pass in the box to Che Richards, but he was flagged for offsides as his shot beat De Freitas. Tusculum's first shot came in the 34th minute as Ignacio Alconchel attempted a bicycle kick from the top of the box but Rump made the routine catch.
De Freitas made his first saves of the half less than 20 seconds apart as he stopped Luca Leonini on a try from the top of the box, then followed with a diving save on Mitchel Starrs with just over two minutes left.
In the second half, De Freitas denied Richards in the opening minute of the half, while the Pioneers were off target on shot attempts in the 68th and 71st minutes. The shot by Lars Schutrups with 19 1/2 minutes left would be the final attempt of the game for Tusculum. Coker had two shots in the final four minutes, but De Freitas came up with a save on Tony Barry to keep the deficit at one with 3:16 to play.
Both teams were whistled for 11 fouls in the match, while Coker had a 9-6 edge in corner kicks over Tusculum. De Freitas had four saves in goal for the Pioneers.
Tusculum will return to action on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at Mars Hill, beginning at 7:30 p.m. The Lions are coming off consecutive draws with Coker and Converse and are 3-1-2 overall and 0-0-1 in the SAC.