JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – After facing its first loss of the season last week, the men's soccer team looks to get back in the win column on Wednesday afternoon with a short road trip to Harrogate, Tenn. to take on Lincoln Memorial.
The loss to Lenoir-Rhyne marked the first time since 2015 that the Eagles (3-1-0, 0-1 SAC) fell in their South Atlantic Conference-opener. It was also the first game this season that did not see C-N holding a lead by the half as the group conceded the opening goal of the game for the first time in 2018.
"It's important for the guys to figure out what the other team is giving us and really exploiting it," head coach Stephen Lyons mentioned. "They were definitely areas of space against L-R that opened up in the way they pressed. I thought it took us until the second half to figure it out and, once we did, I thought we dominated possession."
This trip to LMU will be the 32nd meeting between the Railsplitters (2-1-1, 0-0 SAC) and the Eagles with C-N trailing in the overall series that dates back to 1989, 13-15-3. In that span, Carson-Newman has outscored its counterpart by a slight two-goal margin at 57-55.
Sixteenth-year head coach Helio D'Anna's group shared the third spot on the SAC's preseason coaches poll with Carson-Newman after finishing fourth in the league at the end of the 2017 season. The Railsplitters received a berth into the NCAA Tournament but the trip was short-lived, losing to Lander in the opening round, 1-0.
LMU is currently third in the conference for shots per game at 15.8, sitting behind Anderson and C-N. Outside of that, the team sits in the top-five of six other statistical categories.
"If we can possess the ball like we did in the second half against Lenoir-Rhyne, they can't score when we have the ball so that would really limit their chances," Lyons mentioned. "We have to make sure we're focused and don't make silly mistakes that we can get punished for."
Returning to the team this season are Victor Peres, Felipe de Sousa and Cristoph Willemsen, all tabbed preseason All-SAC second team selections prior to the 2018 campaign.
Peres registered the second-most points on the team last year at 13 with five goals and three assists. As for de Sousa, he had four goals with two assists. On the defensive side, Willemsen led a defensive unit that held its opponents to just 1.11 goals per game.
Six different LMU players have scored goals this season, but de Sousa leads the way in points for LMU at three.
Caleb Cothrin has been the primary 'Splitter in front of the net starting in all four of the matches to start his senior season with six saves and one shutout.
The Eagles head into Wednesday as one of four teams in the league who have already opened up conference play and are still searching for a win. Lincoln Memorial and Coker are the only teams in the conference who have yet to get a SAC matchup under their belts.
"LMU is another good team and we're on the road so we've got to put in a good performance, work hard like we always do and stay connected while exploiting their weaknesses," Lyons assessed. "I think if we do all of that, we should come away with a positive result."
Last year's meeting between the Eagles and 'Splitters resulted in a 3-0 C-N win that was highlighted by Tobias Solem Karlsen's second hat trick of the season. The victory gave the then-No. 25 Eagles their best start (8-1-1) through 10 games since the 2007 squad went 9-1. The dagger came in the 83rd minute when Tom Read went down in the box, setting Karlsen up for a penalty kick. His shot went straight into the middle of the net, past a sliding Caleb Cothrin who went in the opposite direction.
It was the sixth-straight shutout victory for the Orange and Blue. The clean sheet win marked pushed Twan Verweij to 7.1 shutouts to that point in the season.
The midweek matchup will begin at 3:30 p.m. from the LMU Soccer Complex. Live stats will be provided from the folks at Lincoln Memorial while updates can be found from @CNathletics on Twitter throughout the game.