VIDEO: Stephen Lyons Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. -- Carson-Newman obtained its 300th victory in program history along with its third-straight win on the season in comeback fashion with a 2-1 advantage over Alabama Huntsville on Saturday evening at McCown Field.
After a scoreless first half, the Eagles (6-1-0) fell into a 1-0 hole early in the second half and had to battle back for their fourth non-conference win of the season, scoring two crucial goals in a span of nearly three minutes.
The win marked the first comeback of the 2018 campaign for Carson-Newman and the first time the Eagles battled back after conceding the first goal during coach Stephen Lyons' tenure.
"It was quite a difficult game," Lyons said. "John (Carrier) had his team organized and I thought they played very well in spells. We were kind of the same. We struggled to put some good passages together and create some clear-cut opportunities really until about the last 30 minutes of the game.
"I said to the guys at the end that the mentality, the belief within the group is just getting the good results right now."
VIDEO: Kensho Yoshikoshi Interview
Neither team could capitalize in the first half to get on the board despite sending a total of 15 shots, 10 coming from the Chargers while C-N could only muster five. Of those shots, five landed on goal, three from the Alabama Huntsville (4-4-1) and just a pair from the Orange and Blue.
"We weren't dealing with a couple of the longer balls that were coming over, not getting our shape, not getting cover," Lyons said. "They've got really good speed up top and some creative attacking plays as well, so they were causing us a few problems."
UAH struck first when keeper Myles Fullen sent a long shot downfield that fell in front of Rafa Moreno. Samuel Jenkins (Bicester, England) worked to cover Moreno until he broke away to send a shot right past the right leg of a diving Twan Verweij (Utrecht, Netherlands) to put the Chargers up 1-0.
The goal marked just the second time this season that Carson-Newman conceded the first goal, the last time being in a 1-0 loss to Lenoir-Rhyne on Sept. 12.
With the Chargers leading for just over 21 minutes, it was time for Carson-Newman to bounce back with a goal in the 77th minute. Jonny Le Quesne (Jersey, Channel Islands) set up a free kick that was sent deep into a crowd in the six-yard box. Yoshikoshi was able to get just enough air to head in the first goal of the day for the Eagles, tying the game at one.
"I wanted the goal," Yoshikoshi said. "I tried to do my best, so I'm so happy that I (got it).
"We're talking a lot every time about play hard, work hard in practice, focus in practice so we can keep the great performance. I want to keep that."
Moments later, Ben King (Hertfordshire, England) sent a pass from near midfield toward the opposite end of the pitch. Kelynack gained control of the ball just near the top of the 18-yard box after bouncing off the head of a Chargers defender. Kelynack juggled the ball a bit before launching a shot from 15-yards out into the back left corner of the net to give the Eagles their first and only lead of the contest.
The goal marked the second game-winner for the red-shirt junior this season and the fourth of his career. He now sits in a tie for sixth in program history for career game-winners. He needs three more to catch up to Robert Hill and Sindre Welo with seven.
Seven Eagles sent out shots during the game with Tobias Solem Karlsen (Kongsvinger, Norway) leading the team at five with two falling on target. Both of Kelynack's shot attempts also landed on goal.
"I thought when we played some one and two-touch combinations, we created some very good opportunities and moved the ball well," Lyons said. "It's just having the confidence to do that consistently and against any opposition because we're good enough to do it."
The Chargers sent 17 shots out tonight with four of those landing in the hands of Verweij.
Carson-Newman's goalkeeper picked up his 14th career win in the victory. His four saves moved him into ninth-place for career saves with a total of 80. He needs 21 more to catch up to Stian Alnes at 101. He currently holds a save percentage of .824 this season.
The homestand continues for Carson-Newman as it delves back into South Atlantic Conference action when Tusculum comes to town on Wednesday evening. That match is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. A live broadcast of the midweek showdown will be provided at cneagles.com/live.