HICKORY, N.C. – For the first time in two games, Carson-Newman was outshot on its way to a 1-0 loss to Lenoir-Rhyne in its South Atlantic Conference opener on Wednesday evening at Bears Field.
The Eagles (3-1, 0-1 SAC) are now 20-16-2 all-time against the Bears, 6-5-2 in games played in Hickory. This is the fourth time in series history that the Orange and Blue faced a shutout loss to Lenoir-Rhyne (2-1, 1-0 SAC), the first since a 5-0 loss in 2000.
This marks the first conference-opening loss since 2015, also a defeat at the hands of a Lenoir-Rhyne group.
"We started a little on the back foot and took a while to settle," head coach Stephen Lyons said. "Second half, I felt we were the better team and L-R capitalized on a simple error that we need to cut out as good teams will punish you."
C-N was only able to muster seven shots in the entire game, its lowest shot total of the season. It was also the lowest amount of shots taken by an Eagles team since Sept. 20 of last season when they did the same against Lenoir-Rhyne.
As for the Bears, they pelted 14 shots on the night, the most by a Carson-Newman opponent since 2016 when Coker made the same number of shots.
"On the other end, we also had some good chances that were not converted so, collectively, we need to get better," Lyons assessed. "I could not fault the team's effort levels and we did not give up against a quality opponent."
L-R broke a scoreless tie in the 60th minute thanks to an unassisted goal from Goncalo Garcia. That goal marked the first time this season that the Eagles conceded the first goal of the game.
Both of Garcia's shots landed on goal. He and Ignacio de Goya combined for four of L-R's total shots, three on goal.
C-N netminder Twan Verweij (Utrecht, Netherlands) needed to make four saves on the night with a pair in each half of play. His record in front of the net this season moves to 3-1.
For the first time this season, a C-N game was in a scoreless stalemate at the half. The Eagles were held to just three shots in the opening half with just one falling on goal. The lone Eagle to shoot on target in the opening frame was the conference's Offensive Player of the Week Ashley Kelynack (High Wycombe, England). That shot came at the 43:31 mark with Alexander Langer making the save. He is now 2-1 on the season.
Kelynack led all players in shots attempted with three.
Jonny Le Quesne (Jersey, Channel Islands) was also able to get one of his shots to land on frame in the 51st minute, but it was saved by Langer.
The Eagles continue on their SAC road trip, now turning their attention to a meeting with Newberry on Saturday. That match is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. from the Smith Road Soccer Complex in Newberry, S.C.