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Second Half Surge Propels Scots into Semifinals

Jesse Riggs
Jesse Riggs (photo credit: Nina Grauley/ Sports Information)

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant men's soccer team scored three second half goals and recorded its fourth straight shutout in a 3-0 victory over visiting Piedmont in a USA South Tournament first round match on Tuesday afternoon at Scotland Yard.

Covenant (13-5-1), the No. 2 West seed, advances to play No. 1 East seed Greensboro on Friday at 4 p.m. on the campus of Maryville College. The win was Covenant's sixth in a row, the longest win streak for the program since 2014.

After a scoreless first half, the Scots thwarted two Piedmont opportunities early in the second half and then capitalized on the offensive end. In the 56th minute, Josh Brower was taken down in the box resulting in a yellow card to Piedmont's Jared Williams, but more importantly a penalty kick chance for Jesse Riggs. Riggs calmly knocked home the kick, his fourth successful PK of the year, to give the Scots a 1-0 lead. 

The goal was Riggs' seventh of the year.

In the 59th minute, the Scots added to their lead. Brower slotted a pass into the box where Carl Simakoff gathered and got his shot past Piedmont keeper Cameron Verona for the score and a 2-0 lead. The score was Simakoff's fifth of the year.

Brower would have his moment in the 81st minute to seal the victory. The junior collected deflected ball after a Riggs corner kick and scored from short range to make it 3-0. The goal was Brower's fifth of the year and his assist earlier in the match was the sixth of the season.

Covenant outshot the visiting Lions 11-4 in the opening period, but could not find the back of the net. Piedmont opened the second half with a flurry of chances, including an open look from the USA South's leading goal scorer Cameron Earls in the 47th minute that sailed high.

Covenant keeper Paul Lemay made three outstanding saves in the 51st minute as he saved a chance from Earls before saving a rebounded shot from Brandon Ramos. Less than 20 seconds later, Ramos had another attempt that was smothered by Lemay. 

Lemay finished with four saves on the day to pick up his sixth complete clean sheet of the year. Verona made three saves for Piedmont.

UP NEXT

Covenant will tangle with No. 1 East seed Greensboro on Friday at 4 p.m. at Maryville in a USA South Tournament semifinal. The Scots fell to Greensboro, 2-1, on Sept. 22 on Lookout Mountain.

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