VIDEO: Stephen Lyons Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – With Head Coach Stephen Lyons at the helm for his inaugural season, the Carson-Newman men's soccer team will open its season on the road against North Greenville on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Last season, the team posted a 7-10 overall record, going 3-8 in the SAC. The C-N roster returns just 12 players this season, pushing this opening competition to be a learning experience for the team.
"I'm really hoping that the senior guys and the leaders of the group put in good performances. And are good role models to the guys, which, to be fair, just in preseason alone, they're been doing that," Lyons said. "Every opponent we have to respect and go in with the mentality to go in and work hard and put the game plan into action."
The returning talent on this year's team is led by midfielder Tom Read. Read was named first-team All-SAC both at the conclusion and preseason of the last two years. He finished last season with a team and conference-high 12 assists, placing him sixth nationally.
Also back is midfielder Thibault Mathorez, who's looking to have a strong impact on the field as he did last season. The junior netted three shots last season, including the game-winner against No. 7 Tusculum, handing the Pioneers their first loss on the season. Another player who shook up the team with game-winning shots returns this year in Ashley Kelynack. The sophomore forward had two goals in 2016, both being game-winners against Anderson (S.C) in overtime and King (Tenn.) just a few days later.
North Greenville picked up a 1-10-1 record last season, finishing 0-6 in Conference Carolinas play, placing them second to last in the conference standings.
The Crusaders return goalkeeper James Max Miller who ranked 12th in the conference with 32 saves on the season. NGU has lead its conference in saves per game for the past three seasons.
Saturday will mark just the fifth time the Eagles have faced the Crusaders, the first time since 2006. Carson-Newman leads the series 4-0, dating back to 2003.
A full recap of Saturday's action will be posted to CNeagles.com at the conclusion of the game.