GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Former Chattanooga FC Academy player Isai Hernandez scored the winning goal 1:40 into overtime as 18th-ranked Tusculum College overcame a pair of second-half deficits to beat defending NCAA Division II national champion Pfeiffer University 3-2 in a matchup of nationally-ranked men's soccer teams Wednesday night at Pioneer Field.
An equalizer with 59 second left sent the match to overtime by before Hernandez netted his second overtime goal of the year for the Pioneers (8-0-0), who beat a top-10 team for the first time since the 2007 season. Tusculum continues its best start since beginning the 2004 campaign with nine consecutive victories.
Hernandez collected a pass from Dallas Dunn, took two strides and fired a shot from 30 yards that skipped past Pfeiffer keeper Nicolas Dulac and set off a wild celebration at midfield in front of the seating area. Hernandez' other overtime goal came in double overtime against Queens in a 1-0 Tusculum victory on Sept. 14 at Pioneer Field.
The 6th-ranked Falcons (6-2-0) led 2-1 in the 69th minute and 2-1 in the 77th minute, only to see the Pioneers twice come back to knot the score. Santi Moar and Jaime Siaj scored for Pfeiffer, which outshot Tusculum by a 20-9 margin in the match. The Falcons also came into the match as the top-ranked team in the latest NSCAA Southeast Region poll, with the Pioneers ranked fourth.
A Tusculum foul early in overtime set up Pfeiffer in the Pioneer end, but the service to the box was played out. The Pioneers gained possession on a throw, and played the ball around to Dunn on the left wing, who centered to Hernandez at 40 yards out. Hernandez gathered the ball and struck a liner from 30 yards that rippled the net and gave the Pioneers the win.