VIDEO: Collin Hensel Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – A victorious road trip to Huntsville, Ala. on Tuesday afternoon gave the Eagles their third non-conference win of the season. Now the team prepares to get back into conference play with a Saturday night visit to Anderson, S.C.
Carson-Newman (6-1-1, 3-0-1) shutout the Chargers 4-0 in the squad's lone Tuesday match of the 2017 campaign.
Tobias Solem Karlsen put the Eagles on the board just six minutes in with a rebound off of the goalkeeper, obtaining his fifth goal of the season. His goal would be the only one scored in the first half.
"I thought for long spells at 1-0, it was a close game, but being able to throw some fresh legs onto the field at the right time with those guys going out to close out the game was big," head coach Stephen Lyons said of his team. "It's important that all of the guys are ready to play their role when they're asked to do it."
An own goal was scored by the Eagles at the 72:37 mark after a Tom Read corner kick was deflected in to give the Eagles a 2-0 advantage.
In the last 10 minutes of play, Read had a chance for his fifth goal of the season, netting a shot from five yards out. Collin Hensel was not far behind in the scoring parade, grabbing his first goal of the season near the front of the net. The goal was the second of the sophomore's career.
"It, ultimately, was a great piece of team play," Hensel said. "It was very special (having my family there for it). My parents are always supportive along with the rest of my family, so it's good to show them that I've been working and show the result on the field."
The Eagles continued their strong defensive showings, allowing just two of the Chargers' 13 shots to end on goal. They now have six clean sheets on the season and four shutout wins in a row.
The team has not allowed an opposition goal in 475 minutes of play. Their five consecutive games without allowing a goal matches the longest streak since 2006 when C-N allowed zero goals through five games. The streak has boosted the confidence of the team heading into Saturday's game.
"I'd say we channel the confidence," Hensel mentioned. "We make sure that we're humble but that we're still hungry for another win."
Saturday's meeting with Anderson is the fifth road game for the Eagles this season, standing at 2-1-1 away from McCown Field.
Anderson ended 2016 with a 7-6-3 record, 2-6-3 in South Atlantic Conference play. They finished 10th in the SAC standings at the end of the season, tied with C-N, and were slated to finish at that same spot in the conference's preseason poll for 2017. The Trojans missed the SAC Tournament for the first time since joining the conference in 2010.
The team is led by head coach Michael Zion, who is in his fourth season with the Trojans. He was an assistant coach for the team starting in 2010 until he was named the head coach in 2014. He also served as a four-year letter winner and two-time team captain for the Black and Gold from 2003-06. In his time coaching Anderson in an assistant and head coach capacity, Zion has racked up a record of 77-54-14 with multiple appearances in the NCAA Tournament and four straight SAC Tournament titles.
Anderson returns 16 players from last year's team, including defender Josh Calabria who was named to the All-Conference Second Team. He started 13 matches last season for the Trojans, scoring two game-winning goals, attempting 13 shots with five failing on goal.
The Black and Gold stand at .500 overall entering the match, suffering a two-game losing streak, dropping road games against Tusculum, 2-0, and Erskine, a 3-2 double-overtime defeat. Zion's squad has yet to lose a game at Trojan Stadium this season.
The Trojans look to avenge Carson-Newman's 2-1 overtime victory in 2016. C-N leads the series 10-4-0, holding a 3-1-0 record in games at Anderson.
"The boys are getting confidence from the way they're playing, but we still need to cut out some little mistakes in all departments and keep improving," Lyons mentioned. "The guys are working hard towards that and buying into it.
"I feel if we continue to do that, good things are going to come."
Saturday's game is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. Anderson will provide a live stream along with live stats. Follow @CNathletics for events during the match.