MORROW, Ga. – A pair of goals from Tobias Solem Karlsen (Kongsvinger, Norway) lifted the Eagles to a 3-0 season-opening win over Clayton State on Saturday night at Laker Field.
Carson-Newman (1-0-0) is now 14-14-2 all-time in games that have started a new campaign and has won its last four such games.
"Overall pleased with the result, but we know that significant improvements are needed after the performance," head coach Stephen Lyons said. "There were a couple of good individual performances and players coming off the bench had an impact, which is positive too."
Karlsen got the Eagles on the board early after a throw-in from the far side of the pitch. Ben King (Hertfordshire, England) connected with the ball near the middle of the 18-yard box to send a shot ahead that was deflected by Karlsen and sent past Leuri Fraire, who dove the opposite way, putting the Eagles up 1-0.
That goal at the 4:23 mark made for the second-straight meeting with the Lakers in which Karlsen scored a goal in the fourth minute of play. He was just a mere two seconds quicker on his goal this time around, giving him the quickest career goal scored of all Eagles on the current roster.
Clayton State (0-2-0) applied pressure for the rest of the half to keep the differential at a minimum heading into the break. The Eagles were only able to muster a trio of shots in the first half between Karlsen and Greg Evans (Wrexham, Wales) compared to seven from the Lakers.
"In the first half, we were too slow moving the ball and a little disconnected at times," Lyons mentioned. "You can expect some of this early in the season so hopefully we start a lot sharper going into the rest of our games."
Momentum shifted back in favor of Lyons' group in the second half and it happened in quick fashion.
Just over 10 minutes in, the Eagles were set up with a corner kick on the far side of the pitch. Philipp Diringer (Karlsruhe, Germany) sent the ball in before a sliding deflection landed the ball in front of Mitchell Gutteridge (Reading, England), finishing the sequence from a few yards out to pick up his first C-N goal.
One of the best Clayton State scoring opportunities came in the 72nd minute of play as Dean Foster hit a rocket shot from nearly 30 yards out that was saved by Twan Verweij (Utrecht, Netherlands).
The senior goalkeeper faced a busy night in front of the net as he was called upon for five saves. The shutout win brings him to nine career victories and 9.1 shutouts, tying him with Rumwald Le Guevel (2012-13) at fifth-most in program history.
A penalty in the 84th minute gave Carson-Newman a chance to go for a penalty kick. Karlsen took control for it and sent a shot right past freshman goalkeeper Kari Puustinen to put the Eagles up 3-0.
Karlsen now has five goals in his career against Clayton State.
The Lakers outshot C-N 13-9 on the night but the Eagles were able to gain ground in the second half to lead the shots on goal total by a slim 7-6.
Both of Clayton State's goalkeepers were only able to save a pair of the shots they faced.
The all-time series record between the two teams now moves to 2-1-0 with C-N holding a slight advantage. This meeting marked the first trip to Morrow for the Eagles since 1998 when the series began.
Next on the docket for the Eagles will be the lid-lifter to the home portion of the schedule as the Crusaders of North Greenville come to Mossy Creek. That match will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at McCown Field. A live broadcast of the game can be found at cneagles.com/live.