No. 16 Carson-Newman Shuts Out Lander, 2-0, in NCAA Tournament Opener
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — The 16th-ranked Carson-Newman
men’s soccer team tallied two first-half goals en route to a
2-0 victory over Lander on Wednesday night in the opening round of
the NCAA Division II Tournament at McCown Field.
With the win, the third-seeded Eagles (14-4-1) advance to the Southeast Regional semifinals, where they will take on second-seeded Anderson (S.C.) on Friday at 4 p.m. in Banner Elk, N.C. Lander ends its season at 12-6-2.
C-N held a 12-9 advantage in shots, while each team finished the match with three shots on goal.
The Eagles grabbed the lead in the 17th minute. Junior forward Ben Backstrom (Knoxville, Tenn.) controlled a pass from Daniel Zitt (Morristown, Tenn.) in front of the net and fired a shot past Lander goalkeeper Matthew Atkinson (Durham, England) to give C-N a 1-nil advantage.
Senior forward Omar Cooke (Roanoke, Va.) pushed the Eagles’ lead to 2-0 just before the half as he headed in a cross from Anthony Chiappetta (Morristown, Tenn.) in the 40th minute.
Lander was unable to mount a comeback in the final 40 minutes despite several good looks at the goal.
C-N goalkeeper Jordan Moore (Hendersonville, Tenn.) collected three saves to pick up the shutout win, while Atkinson surrendered two goals and had one save in the loss.
Carson-Newman head coach Allen Vital:
“It was a fantastic game. From the beginning, we kept the pressure on them, which was key. We knew with the sloppy conditions it would be difficult to play with them on the ground, and I think the guys did a fantastic job of not allowing them to keep the pressure on us when they tried to move the ball on the ground. We really closed them down and forced them to play long. It was great to get a clean sheet as well.”
Lander head coach Van Taylor:
“We didn’t play as well as we are capable of. For us, it was a game of two halves. I thought we played a good second half and created enough chances, but at the end of the day, the best team won. I tip my hat to Carson-Newman.”