HARTSVILLE, S.C. – For the second straight game, Carson-Newman was shutout 1-0, this time against the Cobras of Coker in Saturday afternoon's regular season finale at Coker Athletic Field.
The game marks the first ever loss at Coker in series history and extends the Eagles' (9-6-2, 6-2-2) winless skid to six consecutive games. They are now 8-2-1 in regular season finales since 2007.
The Cobras struck early as a set piece was kicked into the 18-yard box and bobbled by Twan Verweij, allowing Jacob Simonis to get a shot into the back of the net for the score in the ninth minute. Both of his first half shots were the only ones to fall on goal for the Cobras.
"Would have liked to get the result that put pressure on Wingate (at the top of the conference standings), but couldn't manage it today," head coach Stephen Lyons said of his team. "Coker got the early goal and then packed it in and defended fairly well."
Despite efforts from both sides following the goal, Coker (5-8-1, 3-6-1) held the lead heading into the break. The 1-0 Cobra advantage marked the fifth time this season that the Eagles trailed at the half.
Daan Smit had a header in the 18th minute that had a chance to equalize the game but was subsequently saved by Justin Walker. Ashley Kelynack followed with two opportunities to score, but both of his goal shots were saved by Walker. The sophomore led the Eagles' shooting department with four shots on the day.
Coker held a 4-3 shot advantage through the first 45 minutes, but Carson-Newman led the shots on goal, 3-2.
Neither team was able to capitalize in the second half as no goals were scored. The Eagles pressed much more in the final 45 minutes, allowing only one shot on goal out of the three shots the Cobras attempted in the frame.
Seven total cards were given out in the game, including a red card on Samuel Jenkins in the 86th minute. Six yellows and one red mark the second-highest total cards given out in a Carson-Newman game this season. Four yellows were given to the Cobras while two yellows were called against the Eagles.
Carson-Newman outshot the Cobras 12-7 in the matchup, leading 9-3 in second half shooting. Six total shots fell on goal for the Eagles compared to three from the Cobras.
Verweij stands at 8-6-1 with a 6-2-1 record in conference games. He saved two of the three shots that came his way.
Walker saved all five of the shots he faced, moving him to 4-7-0 on the season.
"We need to be more creative and clinical in the final third at the minute and have to make this happen Tuesday to keep our season alive," Lyons mentioned. "The team are more than capable of turning the season around, but it needs to be a group effort with everyone ready to play their part."
The Eagles now look ahead to the conference tournament as the No. 2-seed. They will host sixth-seeded Queens (N.C.) in a first round matchup on Tuesday at McCown Field. That game will begin at 7 p.m.