Tusculum, ranked eighth in the Southeast region, scored the game's lone goal in the 80th minute of the match when Pioneer forward Kim Brown slipped past the defense on the far side of the field and took a pass from Colleen Moloney, striking it clean and true for the game winner.
Abbey Kitts (Tazewell, Va.) stopped five of Tusculum's six shots on goal and saw 15 total shots taken from the Black and Orange. Nine of Tusculum's 15 shots came in the first half with Kitts making two saves in the first 45 minutes.
"They are a talented group that was going to get chances against us," Head Coach Simon Duffy said. "We defended very well and they are one of the best defensive teams we have played against all year."
Tusculum controlled the ball much of the first half, outshooting the Lady Tornado 9-1 through 45 minutes. King rebounded with chances deep in Tusculum territory and evening the shot count, 6-4, in the second half.
King's best chance at finding the back of the net came at the turn of the 86th minute when the Navy and Scarlett drove deep into the Tusculum zone and earned a corner kick. Monica Aguirre (Miami, Fla.) lined up and lofted the ball to the far-side post where Keys put a head on the ball but the shot sailed high and over the crossbar.
"We just came up a bit short and they were the better team today," said Duffy. "We didn't play badly at all. I think if we play like this all season long we will finish the conference season off strong."
King (4-6-0, 3-3) ends a two-game non-conference stretch and prepare to return to Conference Carolinas play on Wednesday, Oct. 12. The Lady Tornado continue a five-game homestand by hosting North Greenville University as part of a men's / women's soccer double header at Parks Field, beginning at 3:00 p.m.
"We just need to keep doing what we are doing," continued Duffy. "We are not going to see too many teams better than them [Tusculum]. If we keep playing how we played today, we will be on the winning side more times than not."