VIDEO: Stephen Lyons Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Six seniors will be honored on Saturday night as Carson-Newman closes out its regular season by hosting Catawba at McCown Field.
Leon Mattig (Wettenberg, Germany), Daan Smit (Drenthe, Netherlands), Sam Jenkins (Bicester, England), Joe Taylor (Stockton-On-Tees, England), Jonny Le Quesne (Jersey, Channel Islands), and Twan Verweij (Utrecht, Netherlands) will all be saluted during halftime of the women's soccer game that begins at 5 p.m. before Carson-Newman (7-4-3, 3-3-3 South Atlantic Conference) hits the pitch later in the evening.
"They've meant a lot," coach Stephen Lyons said. "They're a fantastic group whether they are contributing on the field. I know, obviously, Leon has had a few injuries, but his contribution just from the sideline and within the group says a lot about his character. That kind of goes for all of them: all good characters on and off the field, represent the program well. I'm looking forward to them finishing strong and having a good final season here at Carson-Newman."
Mattig has not seen playing time with the Eagles since the 2016 season when he started in all nine of his appearances for the Orange and Blue. In those appearances, he recorded five shots with two falling on frame. After that season, the defender faced back-to-back seasons that were plagued with injuries, keeping him away from playing time.
Fellow three-year defender Jenkins has been a fixture for the C-N back line during his career, serving as a team captain the past two seasons. In his 47 games played, he has started in 44 matches and recorded a pair of goals with an assist. His second season at Mossy Creek was a momentous one, named a 2017 All-SAC first team and D2CCA All-Southeast Region second team selection.
Smit, another defender, has made 19 appearances in his two seasons with the Eagles, 12 of those as a part of the starting 11.
As for the midfielders being honored in Taylor and Le Quesne, they both transferred here from Tennessee Wesleyan for the 2017 season.
Taylor has started in 16 games during his two years with the Eagles with three goals scored.
Le Quesne had a strong first season with the Eagles in 2017 that led to him being named an All-South Atlantic Conference honorable mention. In his time with Carson-Newman, he has made 24 starts with three goals and ten assists.
Verweij, the Eagle's goalkeeper, will be leaving a mark once his time at Carson-Newman has come to a close. His debut in 2017 was a stellar one as he was named a conference Player of the Week before making the All-SAC Honorable Mention at the end of the 2017 season. In his two seasons with the Eagles, he has recorded 103 saves, landing him at eighth in program history and he holds the third-most career shutouts in program history with 10.1. His 8.1 shutouts in 2017 were the most in the conference, 16th-most in the nation and were enough to place him at fourth on the Carson-Newman single season record saves list.
Regular season finales have been nice to the Eagles over the years, holding a 20-7-2 record in such games since 1989. When the regular season has closed in Mossy Creek, the Eagles have gone 11-2-1 since 1994.
This season, however, the Eagles have not seen a win at home since their 2-1 victory over Alabama Huntsville on Sept. 29.
"You always want to win games, whether it's home or away," Lyons said. "That's always the objective. For me, with this team, it's about believing that they can do it. It would be nice to get one Saturday going into the conference tournament.
Saturday will be the 37th meeting between Carson-Newman and Catawba (3-11, 0-9 SAC) since 1989 with the Eagles leading 21-14-1. Matches at home have fallen in favor of the Orange and Blue at 11-4-1 since 1993, but the Eagles have not seen a win at home against the Indians since 2014.
Carson-Newman sits at seventh in the conference heading into the match, currently giving it a spot in the SAC Tournament. It is also still in contention for a spot in the NCAA Tournament at seventh in the Southeast Region rankings released on Wednesday.
Catawba, still without a conference win this season, sits at the bottom of the league table. It holds the fifth-longest conference losing streak in Division II, losing 11-straight matches dating back to Oct. 21, 2017. Their last none-losing result came in a 0-0 draw at Wingate on Oct. 18 of last season. They have not seen a South Atlantic Conference win since a 2-1 victory at Coker on Sept. 23, 2017. They are the last team on the conference table.
Sixth-year coach Ken Hassler's group has gone 1-6 in road matches this season. It is enduring a four-match losing streak away from home with its last road win coming on Sept. 8 at USC Aiken.
Hunter Faust leads the Indians with 16 points on five goals with three assists. The junior midfielder also leads the way in shooting with 24 attempts, 16 of those landing on frame.
Gianluca Tommasi has seen the most time in front of the net this season for Catawba with 11 starts in 12 appearances. He has made 48 saves with opponents scoring 24 goals against him this season. He is 3-9 thus far.
Catawba's 16 goals and 48 points this season are the fewest in the SAC. It is in the top-five of five categories in the conference this season including first in points at 48 and second-most goals allowed with 40. Its 8.86 fouls per game lead the conference and are fifth in the nation.
Last year's meeting between the Eagles and Indians resulted in a 3-0 shutout in Salisbury, N.C. The win gave C-N its seventh-straight shutout victory and ninth consecutive unbeaten game. Tobias Solem Karlsen (Kongsvinger, Norway) scored a pair of goals in the match with from Thaylan Silva (São Paulo, Brazil).
Saturday's match is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Fans who cannot make it to McCown Field for the regular season finale can view a live broadcast courtesy of the Eagle Sports Network on cneagles.com/live.