CHARLOTTE, N.C. – For the first time since 2015, seventh-seeded Carson-Newman is heading to the South Atlantic Conference semifinals after defeating second-seeded Queens 2-1 in upset fashion thanks to a two-goal effort from Tobias Solem Karlsen on Tuesday night at Dickson Field in the opening round of the tournament.
"I thought it was a great battle between two very good sides," coach Stephen Lyons said. "Our effort, energy and execution was the difference tonight. (Tobias) scored a top-level goal and (Ashley) delivered a cross for that second goal which was so difficult for them to defend. Twan (Verweij) made some great saves too but the big thing about tonight was the entire team's effort to get the result and I am very proud of the leads tonight."
This is Carson-Newman's (9-4-3) first quarterfinal win since 2015 and its first on the road in the opening round since a 2-1 victory over Mars Hill in 2001. That win was also the last time C-N won a quarterfinal match as the lower seed, taking down the No. 3 seeded Lions as the sixth-seeded team in the tournament.
The Eagles have gone 2-0 against Queens (10-5-1) this season, both of those wins coming in Charlotte. It is the first time C-N has defeated Queens twice in the same season in program history.
With just two shots attempted through the early moments of the first half, a loose ball on the Queens end of the pitch ended up at the feet of Tobias Solem Karlsen (Kongsvinger, Norway) thanks to a pass from Nencho Margaritha (The Hague, Netherlands). From the far left side of the 18-yard box, the junior directed a floater toward the right side of the net to give C-N a 1-0 advantage in the 25th minute.
The assist marked the first of the Margaritha's career.
Queens answered just minutes later when Edmundo Robinson dished out a pass to Alberto Morales to even the match at one in the 32nd minute.
The tie stood until halftime for the eighth deadlocked match the Eagles have seen at the break in the 2018 campaign. Despite an early shooting surge by the Royals, C-N trailed by just a single shot at the half, 8-7, with both sides landing a pair on goal. Both Twan Verweij (Utrecht, Netherlands) and Sebastian Kalk obtained a save each in the opening frame.
Carson-Newman regained its lead in the 59th minute on a strong cross from Ashley Kelynack (High Wycombe, England) that ended up with Karlsen. His possession led to a flick into the back of the net for his ninth goal of the season.
Karlsen has tallied three multi-goal outings this season, bringing him to six in his career. His last outing with multiple connections with the back of the net came in the form of a hat trick in the 4-1 win over Coker on Sept. 22.
The junior is now tied with Kyle Izzard for ninth on the career goals list in program history with 22. He also holds five game-winners on the year, pushing him out of a tie with Brad Cobbs from the 2002-05 squads on the career record list in C-N history to be the stand-alone man at third-most in team history with 10. He now needs one more to tie Omar Cooke at second, scoring 11 from 2005 to 2009.
In terms of game-winning goals in an individual season, Karlsen has now matched the second-best mark in program history that he set last season with five.
Queens made every effort to pressure the Eagles' defense in the waning moments of the match. Michael Hornsby lined up for a corner kick in the 86th minute that kept the ball in Queens' possession for the next few minutes. Multiple looks ended with Kieran Gore sending a shot in the 89th minute that was saved by C-N's keeper, moving Verweij to three saves on the night and sealing the win for Carson-Newman.
The Royals narrowly outshot the Eagles by a 16-14 margin with both teams landing four on frame throughout the match. Karlsen and Robinson each led their teams and all players with five shots apiece.
Carson-Newman now heads to the SAC Semifinal where it will meet third-seeded Tusculum. That match will begin on Friday at 7 p.m. from Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, S.C.