LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- After a scoreless first half, the Covenant men's soccer team used goals from Joel Friesen and Michael Arango in the second half to defeat previously unbeaten Birmingham Southern 2-1 on Wednesday night at Scotland Yard.
The win moves the Scots to 4-1-2 on the year and could serve as a big confidence booster heading into USA South play which begins this weekend. Covenant had scored just one goal in two home matches this season, both ties, before the second half of Wednesday night's contest.
Birmingham Southern, ranked No. 22 in the D3Soccer.com Top 25 this week, drops to 6-1.
The first half saw just four shots taken by both squads as the teams felt each other out. Shuler Polk made three saves in the opening period to thwart any threat from the visiting Panthers.
In the second half it did not take long for Covenant to get on the board. Friesen received a pass from Snoopy Davidson and was able to serve the ball past keeper Jonas Heidrich and into the back left corner of the net for the score in the 50th minute. The goal was Friesen's second of the season as he leads the team in that category.
Birmingham Southern knotted the score at one apiece in the 57th minute when Dylan Rose dribbled past the Covenant defense and got his shot past Polk and into the net. The score was Rose's first of the season.
But Covenant would have the final answer as Arango was the recipient of an excellent pass into the box from Hunter Harrison and the sophomore out ran his defender to the ball and placed it perfectly out of the reach of Heidrich for the game-winner in the 66th minute. The score was Arango's first collegiate goal.
The Scots were able to outlast any and all Birmingham Southern attacks in the latter minutes of the half. Polk made the last save on a Johannes Loeffler shot in the 90th minute to preserve the victory.
Covenant outshot the Panthers 14-10, but the visitors had a 6-4 advantage in shots on goal. Polk made five saves for Covenant to pick while Heidrich made two for Birmingham Southern.
USA South action begins on Friday when the Scots travel to take on Greensboro at 1 p.m. On Saturday, Covenant will be at Ferrum for a 7 p.m. start.