VIDEO: Stephen Lyons Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. -- The 2019 campaign will begin for Carson-Newman in 13 days with a trip to North Greenville on Sept. 6 for a 7 p.m. first kick. This is the first part in a three-part series highlighting each of the Carson-Newman men's soccer positions for the season, starting off the sequence with a look at the forwards.
All six forwards suiting up in Orange and Blue this season are returning players compared to just three returners from a year ago. Among the returning Eagles, just two have played more than two years at Carson-Newman, Tobias Solem Karlsen (Kongsvinger, Norway) and Collin Hensel (Spring Hill, Tenn.).
"They should have at least a year's experience in how the team kinda want to play," Carson-Newman coach Stephen Lyons said. "Couple of them got a few more years understanding what we want and so bringing that maturity and experience should put them in a good place straight away."
Hensel will be looking to regain playing time after redshirting last season. The redshirt-junior heads into the season with three goals on 12 shots and seven on goal. He has played in 17 games throughout his career.
Solem Karlsen, on the other hand, comes back as the leader of the unit after starting in 15 of his 17 matches a season ago.
Solem Karlsen heads into the 2019 campaign with back-to-back All-SAC first team accolades, both at the end of the season and in the preseason polls, and a D2CCA All-Southeast Region laurel to his name. He led the team in goals for a second-straight season, netting 10 last year with five counting as game-winners, while sitting in the top-five of the SAC for goals and points as 22. He was the conference leader for game-winners and was 10th in the nation.
"He's a natural leader and we need him to be working hard the entire time because that will be infectious for the rest of the group," Lyons said. "Again, there's pressure in that position from the players all around and I'm excited to see kind of how it develops and how the guys do."
In his three seasons with the Eagles, the senior has racked up 22 goals, 21 of those coming in the past two seasons, and 10 game-winners. In terms of program records, he sits at ninth for goals and third for game-winners. He is three game-winning goals shy of overtaking Dario Carrasco who scored 12 from 2005 to 2006.
Solem Karlsen was one of three forwards last season to have numerous starts, the other two being Nencho Margaritha (Hauge, The Netherlands) and Bill Hadam (Knoxville, Tenn.) who both made a trio of starting lineup appearances in 14 and 13 matches, respectively.
"The position's wide open," Lyons said. "It's going to be whoever does their business in training and produces it in the games. Nobody is nailed on."
Margaritha did not see a goal last season but he was credited with the assist on a screaming goal from Solem Karlsen that helped propel C-N to a SAC Quarterfinal win over second-seeded Queens.
Is this Tobias Solem Karlsen goal from @CNmenssoccer's 2-1 @SAC_Athletics quarterfinal win over Queens last night an #SCtop10 trick or a treat?— Carson-Newman Athletics (@CNathletics) October 31, 2018
You decide! ��@ESPNAssignDesk... any thoughts? pic.twitter.com/p3DayhDjZZ
Hadam sent out 16 shots throughout last season with six landing on frame. His first career goal came in the 3-1 victory over Queens in the regular season.
Carey made one start in his 10 appearances on the pitch. He scored his first goal as an Eagle in the 3-1 win at Queens on October 13.
Like Hensel, Harris-James was forced to redshirt in his first season with the Eagles. While at the University College of Birmingham, he brought in 34 goals through 54 matches and was a first-team captain in his final season with the team.
The men's soccer position previews continue on Tuesday with a move up the field to discuss the midfielders.