VIDEO: Stephen Lyons Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman heads into it second to last game of the regular season looking to end a four game winless streak as the team takes on nonconference foe King on Wednesday night.
The Eagles suffered their fourth loss of the season in Saturday night's road trip to No. 17 Lander.
"It was a little bit disappointing from our perspective in some of the things that we did, certainly defensively," head coach Stephen Lyons said. "That's something we have kind of reassessed, talked about as a team, and we're looking to put right going forward so we can kind of get back on track the way we were earlier in the season."
Carson-Newman (9-4-2, 6-1-2 South Atlantic Conference) gave up the first goal for just the fifth time this season as George Knight sent in the first goal for the Bearcats with a helping hand from Sinclaire Sandy in the 15th minute.
Lander held the 1-0 lead heading into the half, but the Eagles would strike first in the second half.
Tom Read scored at the 57:24 mark on a free kick that found the back-right corner of the net to tie the game at one.
The senior's goal put him at 22 in his career for eighth-most in program history, tied with Kyle Izzard (1993-95). He now has 210 career shots with 22 falling on goal, good enough for second and third in respective career categories at Carson-Newman.
A little over three minutes later, Thibault Chretien grabbed the final lead for the Bearcats on a cross from Oliver Brock.
C-N goalkeeper Twan Verweij had a busy night, saving four of the six shots he faced in the match-up.
"The boys have reacted well to what we've discussed and how we've been training," Lyons mentioned. "Now, it's just putting it into action on Wednesday."
The Eagles now set their eyes on their final nonconference game of the regular season as they head up Interstate 81 to face the Tornado of King University, a team that holds a 3-9-2 overall record, standing at the bottom of the Conference Carolinas standings at 0-8-1.
Head coach Richie Rose is in his inaugural season with the Tornado squad, joining the staff after serving as the assistant coach at Milligan College. He has nearly 20 years of coaching experience under his belt with schools such as Virginia Military Institute and Lander as well as overseas teams Middlesbrough FC and York City FC.
The Tornado return 15 players to this year's roster including conference preseason players to watch Ben Allan, Luis Calderon and Faber Bickerstaffe, who was also named an All-Conference Carolinas selection at the conclusion of 2016.
Carlos Saavedra currently leads the team with seven goals on the season, 19 of his 43 shots falling on goal. He has started in 13 of the games he has appeared in. In Conference Carolinas rankings, he sits at sixth for goals per game (0.54) fourth for shots per game (3.31) and third for points per game (1.38).
At the goalkeeper position, Dalton Gammon and Jake Davis have split time in front of the net, with Davis playing in a majority of games. Through his 11 games played, he has collected a 2-7-1 record. Gammon's five games played, four starts, have given him a 1-2-1 record.
King is second in the conference for fouls per game (10.64). They hold the fourth spot for saves per game (5.21) and shutout percentage (0.21).
Last Wednesday, the Tornado ended a 10-game winless streak with a 7-0 victory over Milligan for the team's largest win of the season. Six different King players scored goals while Sam Mburu scored two within four minutes.
"The big focus, I think for us, is to focus on ourselves and get back to the little things, kind of put into action what we've been talking about as a group and making it count with a good result," Lyons assessed.
Wednesday marks the 25th meeting between the two teams. Carson-Newman holds a substantial 18-3-3 overall record in the series that dates back to 1989.
The Eagles picked up a second straight win over King last season in a 4-0 victory at McCown Field. Ashley Kelynack, Tom Read, Marius Staalby and Evan Harr all scored goals in the game while Read collected two assists. Goalkeeper Joe Boyd had one of his strongest showings of the season for C-N with eight saves on the night, his third-most saves of 2016.