VIDEO: Stephen Lyons Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman closes out the regular season with its 11th road trip as the team travels to Hartsville, S.C. to battle Coker.
The Eagles (9-5-2, 6-1-2) jump back into South Atlantic Conference play after a 1-0 loss to King (Tenn.) on Wednesday.
The Tornado broke the scoreless tie in the 57th minute as a corner kick paved the way for Luis Calderon to receive a pass from Faber Bickerstaffe before sending a shot past a diving Twan Verweij to give King the 1-0 advantage it would need to win.
C-N's loss marked the first time the team had been shutout by King since a 5-0 loss in 1989.
"Second half, we didn't quite perform in the areas that we needed, that we had discussed prior," head coach Stephen Lyons said. "I think we all agree and know that the second half was a disappointing performance, not at the level we need to be playing.
"They capitalized on the opportunity they had and we weren't able to respond."
Both Coker and Carson-Newman teams are looking to finish the season on a high note. The Eagles are in search of a win to break their five game winless skid while the Cobras are vying to keep momentum on their side, entering the game on a two game winning streak with a 2-1 victory over Queens and a 5-0 decision against Barton.
Coker holds a 4-8-1 record heading into the match-up, going 2-6-1 in conference play. The team sits at 10th in the conference standings.
The Eagles are second in the conference standings, just two points behind Wingate. A win over Coker and a Wingate loss would put C-N at the top spot.
"Knowing that we can put a little bit of pressure on Wingate if we win, we're still in a position to potentially win the regular season conference," Lyons mentioned. "Overall, we have to look at that as a successful season and go out there to get the result."
Fourth year head coach Chris Williams' squad returns 17 players this season including junior forwards Jacob Simonis and Aladdin Elfares who were tabbed as preseason All-Conference Second Team members this season.
Elfares leads the team with five goals on the season. He leads the conference in assists per game (0.43) and is tied for the top spot in total assists (6).
Justin Walker has guarded the net for the Cobras. Through 13 games with 13 starts, he has allowed 19 goals with 40 saves for a save percentage of .678. He has a 3-7-0 record with three shutouts.
Coker is currently second in the conference for shots on goal per game with 6.86.
Saturday will be the sixth meeting between the two teams. Coker holds a slight lead at 2-3-0 in the series, but C-N has dominated at Coker with a 2-0-0 record.
The Eagles look to gain retribution for last year's 3-1 loss at McCown Field to end the season. An own goal by the Eagles in the 11th minute put Coker ahead early. Mads Aagurd added to the Cobras' lead in the 37th minute on a free kick. At the 52:32 mark, Steven Parry cut the lead to one with a header off of a pass from Dion Stergiotis. Coker moved ahead less than 10 minutes later on an Alvaro Urena goal that sealed the win for the Cobras.
Since 2007, the Eagles have gone 8-1-1 in regular season finales.
"We're all in this together so, win or lose, as a group, we're all accountable, coaching staff included," Lyons said. "We have to pull together now, refocus and kind of see exactly what's on the line and where we can be and then go out there and produce a good performance to hopefully get a good result and put a bit of pressure on Wingate at the top."