VIDEO: Stephen Lyons Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – With the first South Atlantic Conference win of the season in its pocket, Carson-Newman comes back to Mossy Creek for a five-match homestand that kicks off Saturday afternoon against Coker at McCown Field.
The Eagles (4-1-0, 1-1 SAC) was forced to stifle an LMU comeback on Wednesday night that saw C-N give up a 2-0 lead after the break. A pass from Jonny Le Quesne (Jersey, Channel Islands) to Tobias Solem Karlsen (Kongsvinger, Norway) in the 60th minute gave the Orange and Blue the game-winner it needed to hold off the Railsplitters.
After a Tobias Solem Karlsen goal that broke a 2-2 tie in the second half, @CNmenssoccer held back a surging LMU side to get back in the W column.— C-N Athletics (@CNathletics) September 20, 2018
��: https://t.co/bMhXnfZuTG pic.twitter.com/IuGcwyttaK
Carson-Newman now stands at 131-85-17 overall against conference teams. When playing on the home pitch, the Eagles have gone 80-42-6 in league play since 1993.
This will be the team's first appearance on its home pitch since Sept. 4 when C-N took down North Greenville 3-0.
"We're looking forward to it, obviously a couple of tough ones on the road," head coach Stephen Lyons said. "It's nice just to get back knowing it's a good surface, good environment with the home crowd and get a lot of positive energy for the guys to put out good performances.
"I think the guys are always excited to play at home."
A conference win at home is on the line Saturday afternoon but so is Lyons' 100th career win. Standing between him and that milestone is a Coker (1-2, 0-0 SAC) side that is looking for its first conference win of the year.
This will be the first conference match for the Cobras this season as they have not played a game since they shutout Belmont Abbey 2-0 in their home opener. They are the only team remaining in the SAC who has not seen league action.
Fifth-year head coach Chris Williams' team currently sits in a tie for seventh at the bottom of the SAC standings. Coker was chosen to finish at ninth in the conference per the preseason coaches' poll. This came after the Cobras went 5-8-1 a year ago, 3-6-1 in conference play.
Coker returns two key players in forward Aladdin Elfares and defender Robbie Jenkinson who were the only two Cobras to land on the preseason All-SAC lists, both being named to the second team. Elfares led the team in three statistical categories last season including goals (six), assists (five) and points (17). His five assists tied him for third in the SAC. Jenkinson netted two goals of his own in 2017, both coming in a win over Shaw.
This season, the Cobras have seen three separate players score goals this season -- Christian Provenzano, Joao Silva and Jacob Simonis.
A sophomore midfielder, Provenzano currently leads the team with 10 shots and five shots on goal. He has also netted a game-winner this season with an unassisted shot that was deflected into the goal in the win over Belmont Abbey.
Zach Watson has held down the fort in front of the net for Coker. He has allowed four goals on the season, landing him in a tie for second in the league alongside Twan Verweij (Utrecht, Netherlands) for goals allowed.
The senior holds a 1.24 goals against average, enough for fifth in the league with one shutout.
The Cobras have earned a SAC-leading average of 7.33 corner kicks per game this year. Outside of that, they sit in the top five of four other categories including third for save percentage, fourth for saves per game and fifth for both shutout percentage and team goals against average.
Saturday afternoon will be the seventh meeting between the Eagles and Cobras. Coker has won the past two meetings to lead the overall series 4-2-0 dating back to 1990. C-N has never beat Coker at home.
"Every opponent in the conference you've got to respect," Lyons said. "Coker is no different. They'll be well-organized. They've got good individual talent."
The Eagles are a season removed from a 1-0 defeat in the regular season finale in Hartsville, S.C. It was the second-straight shutout loss that the Eagles faced and their sixth consecutive winless game of the 22017 campaign.
A set piece was sent into the 18-yard box that was bobbled by Verweij, giving Jacob Simonis a chance to connect with the back of the net in the ninth minute for the lone goal of the game. The defeat marked the first first-ever loss at Coker in C-N program history. Justin Walker saved five of the six Eagle shots he faced in front of the net while Verweij saved two of the three he faced.
The Saturday afternoon match is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. at McCown Field. A live broadcast of the game will be available at cneagles.com/live with live scoring provided during the entire match at cneagles.com/live.