GREENWOOD, S.C. – An early second half comeback for Carson-Newman was spoiled minutes later by seventeenth-ranked Lander in a 2-1 road loss on Saturday night at Van Taylor Stadium.
The Eagles (9-4-2, 6-1-2 SAC) have now gone through four straight winless games, losing three of their last four outings since coming off a seven-game winning streak.
The two teams entered the game ranked in the top five of the southeast region standings as released by the NCAA on Wednesday, Carson-Newman at fourth with Lander, sitting atop of the Peach Belt Conference, at five.
"Lander were a good team and took their opportunity," head coach Stephen Lyons said. "Tough one, but against quality opposition away from home, a lot of positives to take."
The Eagles only goal of the evening came from Tom Read in the 58th minute. The senior set up for a free kick that he sent sailing past a diving Aleksander Holboe, into the back-right corner of the net, equalizing the game at one.
The last time the Eagles scored off a free kick was on Sept. 28, 2016 against Queens (N.C.), a goal that was also scored by Read.
The senior's goal was his fourth goal in four games, his tenth on the season and 22nd in his career. He now ties Kyle Izzard (1993-95) for eighth on the program's career goals list.
The Eagles conceded the first goal in the 15th minute as Sinclaire Sandy received a short pass from George Knight before sending it back to Knight who ran into a group of Eagles, able to send a shot by a crouching Twan Verweij to score.
This marks the fourth consecutive game that the Eagles' opposition has scored the first goal.
"Thought after the first 20 minutes, we played some good soccer and created multiple chances," Lyons said. "If two shots that hit the woodwork in the first half go in, it's a different game altogether."
The Eagles had three big chances to score at the 33-minute mark as Dylan McCabe, Read and Thibault Mathorez all made shots in a span of 30 seconds. McCabe's shot was saved by Holboe before Read launched a shot that hit the crossbar, just missing the net. Ten seconds later, Mathorez's shot sailed wide right, taking the pressure off the Bearcats near the goal as those were the last shots that C-N could muster in the first half.
"Even in the second half, we still did good things and the game was open for both teams," Lyons mentioned.
Minutes after Read's goal, the Bearcats struck back on a cross from Oliver Brock that was sent into the 6-yard box to find an open Thibault Chretien who shot the ball to the back-right corner from in front of the net to take a 2-1 lead.
With 70 seconds left in the game, Mathorez was given a red card, forcing the Eagles to play a man down. The red card marked the first of the season for Carson-Newman.
Four different C-N players recorded two shots in the game, the highest number of shots attempted by Eagles on the night.
For Lander, both of Chretien's shots laded on goal with one finding the back of the net.
Carson-Newman managed to outshoot Lander 11-10. After struggling to make a shot for the first 17 minutes of the game, Carson-Newman matched the Bearcats (10-2-1, 5-0-1 PBC) with five shots through the first frame. Both teams had two shots fall on goal in that span, as well.
Verweij now holds an 8-4-1 record in front of the net. He saved four of the six shots he faced on the evening.
Holboe appeared in just his second game of the season for Lander. He faced five shots with four saves, moving his record to 1-1-0.
The series between the opponents moves to 2-4-2. In 2017, the Eagles now hold a 1-2-0 record against Peach Belt Conference teams.
Next on the docket for the Eagles is another nonconference road trip as the team travels to Bristol, Tenn. for a battle against the Tornado of King University. That game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at Parks Field. King University will provide live video and stats for the matchup. Follow @CNathletics for updates throughout the game.