Skoda’s hat-trick powers Eagles past Crusaders 5-0

Skoda’s hat-trick powers Eagles past Crusaders 5-0

BELMONT, N.C. – Senior Nick Skoda (Knoxville, Tenn.) tallied his first-career hat trick and the Carson-Newman men's soccer team (2-0) scored four second half goals to overpower the Belmont Abbey Crusaders (1-2) 5-0 Wednesday afternoon at Alumni Field on Belmont Abbey's campus.

The Eagles' four goals in the second half was the most goals scored in a half since the Newberry contest in 2014 where C-N also tallied four times in the final 45 minutes.

"Great, great team effort. We pretty much rotated the whole team in the beginning of the second half and could still adapt and get the win," coach Richard Moodie said. "Kavi Luchowa had a huge save in the second half that sprung Skoda's second goal and changed the game."

Skoda scored Carson-Newman's first goal after taking a cross from senior Poly Avgousti (Paphos, Cyprus) and blew past the entire Crusaders' defense and beat keeper Luke Whelan for a goal 99 seconds into the contest. Skoda's goal was fourth of his career and his first score since the Trevecca Nazarene in 2014. Avgousti picked up his first career assist.

The Eagles nearly doubled their lead in the 30th-minute. Junior Marius Staalby (Trondheim, Norway) made a run down the left side of the field and made a move towards the six-yard box and beat Whelan who came off his line. Staalby's shot rang the crossbar and landed just shy of the goal line; the follow-up shot was pushed wide to the left and the Crusaders averted the crisis with a clearance. That was Carson-Newman's best chance before the break and the Eagles led 1-0 after 45 minutes.

C-N goalkeeper Kavi Luchowa (London, England) made a big save on his goal line after a corner in the 49th-minute. Luchowa's save sprung Skoda and the Knoxville-native made the 80-yard run to beat Whelan and double the Eagles' advantage early in the second half.

Three minutes later, freshman Bruno Andrade (Sao Paulo, Brazil) scored his first-career Carson-Newman goal. Senior defender Alexander White (Glasgow, Scotland) made a run to the edge of the box and fed Andrade who was positioned at the penalty mark and slotted his shot to the left of Whelan and gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead. Andrade and White both tallied their first points in the Blue and Orange.

Andrade and Skoda connected for a Carson-Newman goal eight minutes later in the 59th. Andrade made a run on the right side of the field and made a run towards the goal. Andrade found a wide-open Skoda who beat Whelan to finish off his hat trick and push the lead to 4-0.

"Phenomenal  We've been on him all preseason. He's fully fit; he's look good in practice and in games," Moodie said. "We knew we could go over the top against them and find Skoda and he gave us a goal a minute and a half in."

Senior Sindre Welo (Trondheim, Norway) finished off the scoring in the 85th-minute with a free kick from the edge of the box after Staalby was fouled. Welo went to the left of the wall and tucked his shot into the lower left corner to make the scoreline 5-0.  Welo's goal ties him for 10th all-time in the C-N record books with 20 goals.

Skoda's hat trick was the program's first such feat since October 19th, 2013 when Ross Frame scored three times on the road at Coker; he led the team with five shots and all three of his shots on goal found the back of the net. Luchowa is now 2-0 in net and has allowed just one goal in 180 minutes of play.

Carson-Newman has opened the season with two three-goal games for the first time since 2006.

The start of the game was delayed one hour and six minutes due to lightning in the Belmont area.

"These are the type of games we have to win. They had a good team performance and we were able to adapt and make changes and still win. Jules Gabbiadini played out of position in the central midfield and still played with poise. These are the type of games we need to win and we did," Moodie said.

Carson-Newman returns to McCown Field for a Saturday night match-up against the USC Aiken Pacers at 7 p.m.