VIDEO: Stephen Lyons Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – A hat trick from Tobias Solem Karlsen (Kongsvinger, Norway) highlighted the conference home-opener for the Eagles as they took down Coker 4-1 on Saturday afternoon at McCown Field.
All three of Karlsen's goals came in a matter of 29 minutes during the first half of play to help push Carson-Newman (5-1, 2-1 SAC) to its first-ever win over the Cobras (1-3, 0-1 SAC) on the banks of Mossy Creek.
Before Saturday, he had not had a multi-goal game since the season opener at Clayton State where he netted two. His last hat trick came on Oct. 4, 2017 in a 3-0 victory over Lincoln Memorial.
He also moves into sole possession of the fourth-most game-winners in program history with eight. He needs just one more to tie Brad Cobbs (2002-05).
"It's always fun to score a goal," Karlsen mused, "and when you're so fortunate to play that many minutes and be able to get three hat tricks in one and a half seasons, I'll take it. It's just funny."
Karlsen's scoring onslaught started just under the five-minute mark when Greg Evans (Wrexham, Wales) sent a long pass ahead to a waiting Karlsen that he sent into the net from eight yards out to give the Eagles an early lead.
Ashley Kelynack (High Wycombe, England) was credited with the assist on Karlsen's second goal after receiving a deep pass from Tom Rankin (Birmingham, England). Kelynack gained possession of the pass near the right side of the six-yard box before scooting it to the opposite side of the box where Karlsen sent it to the middle of the net right before the 23rd minute.
"I feel like me and (Kelynack) has a pretty good link up where we kind of when to run and when to not run. If he goes there, I go there," Karlsen said. "And by knowing each other, where we want to run, we can just pass without even looking."
The hat trick was cemented at the 31:25 mark as the ball deflected off of a Cobra defender following a sailing pass downfield from Daan Smit. Karlsen connected with the back left corner of the net, past a diving Zach Watson to put the Eagles up 3-0.
"We know that he's got goals in him," Lyons said. "The opportunities that he had, he did well and he probably could have had one or two more in the first half, but we worked hard to create the chances."
While the junior did net his third career hat trick in the matchup, head coach Stephen Lyons also stepped into the century mark for career wins, standing at 100 victories during his time with Carson-Newman and Tennessee Wesleyan.
Joe Taylor (Stockton-On-Tees, England) collected his first goal of the season on a small pass from Kelynack. Despite getting temporarily tangled up with a Cobra, he was able to regain composure and send a shot over the heads of Watson and Steffen Husum to put the Eagles up 4-0 heading into the break.
"I actually thought it was a lot closer than the scoreline reflected," Lyons mentioned. "Coker got a couple of opportunities themselves. We had a few more that we probably could've put away so the scoreline definitely could have been different but the guys took the chances well, went when they came and it was nice to go in with that kind of cushion."
While eight of its 13 shots fell on goal in the afternoon, Coker could only muster one goal in the contest with Cesar Lopez lending a helping hand to Jacob Simonis on a cross that the Cobra forward sent in from a mere few yards out in the 61st minute.
Simonis led all players on the pitch with nine shots, six landing on frame. Behind him was Karlsen at seven attempts with five falling on goal.
The Eagles formed 11 opportunities to Coker's five for shots in the final 45 but could not get anything to connect. Their charge to the net in the second frame forced five saves by Watson. He made eight on the night with seven landing in the hands of Verweij.
Carson-Newman's keeper notched his 13th win with 76 career saves. He is now two shy of matching teammate Joe Boyd (Nottingham, England) for the ninth-most career saves in program history.
The win shaved down Coker's lead in the overall series to 4-3-0 since 1990. C-N is now 132-85-17 against the SAC all-time. In home matches against conference opponents, the Eagles are 81-42-6 since 1993.
The homestand continues for Carson-Newman in a week's time when Alabama Huntsville make the jaunt to Jefferson City for a nonconference match. Kickoff on Sept. 29 is set for 5 p.m. A live broadcast will be available at cneagles.com/live for those who cannot make it to McCown Field.