CARY, N.C. -- Mercer Stout scored the go-ahead goal in the 86th minute and the Covenant men's soccer team completed a perfect run through the USA South with a 2-1 win at William Peace on Saturday afternoon at WakeMed Park.
Covenant (16-2-1, 13-0 USA South) becomes the first USA South men's soccer team to go unbeaten with no ties in regular season play since Christopher Newport achieved the feat in 2012. The Scots also established a USA South record for conference wins in a season (13), while extending its regular season conference winning streak to 18.
The Scots fell behind early, but quickly caught up in a battle with a tough William Peace (9-6-2, 7-5-1 USA South) squad. The host Pacers went ahead 1-0 in the eighth minute on a score from Junior Ayala, but that lead was short-lived.
Covenant evened the score in the 12th minute when Josh Brower found the back of the net from inside the box to make it 1-1. Brower received a pass into the 18-yard box from Mercer Stout and finished past William Peace keeper Dillon Garbrandt for the goal, his 10th of the year. It was the fourth straight match that Brower has scored.
That score would stand until late in the contest. The Scots, much like in Friday's win at Greensboro, struck late as Stout scored in the 86th minute to give Covenant the lead for good. Stout got a pass from Austin Berry in the box and blasted his shot past Pacers keeper Jacob Smith to give Covenant a 2-1 lead.
The goal was Stout's team-leading 13th of the year, while Berry picked up the assist.
Covenant out-shot William Peace 12-5 and 5-1 in shots on goal. The Scots' defense stood tall throughout the match as Covenant recorded its 10th shutout of the year and ninth against USA South opponents.
Henry Hooks collected the win at the net for the Scots as he played all 90 minutes. Smith gets the loss for the Pacers as he made two saves in 45 minutes of action.
Covenant, the No. 1 West seed, will have home-field advantage throughout the USA South Tournament. The Scots will host LaGrange on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Scotland Yard. Match time will be determined next week.
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