VIDEO: Stephen Lyons Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – With a potential five-match home winning streak on the line, Carson-Newman welcomes King to the friendly confines of McCown Field on Wednesday night.
Carson-Newman (4-1) has gone five-straight matches without a loss on the banks of Mossy Creek, holding a 4-0-1 record since falling to No. 10 Lander on Oct. 18, 2018. Its four-match home winning streak marks the second-best streak among South Atlantic Conference, just behind Tusculum with five, teams and is 16th along all of Division II. C-N has seen two different five-match home winning streaks since 2015 when it strung together seven-straight victories over the 2015-16 seasons.
The Eagles head into this homestand finale following back-to-back dramatic finishes against Lincoln Memorial and Newberry. In both matches, C-N was forced to play a man down with a red card shown in each. The win against Newberry came in comeback fashion with the Eagles using two last-minute goals to stay perfect in South Atlantic Conference action.
"The guys have shown great character against a bit of adversity," Carson-Newman coach Stephen Lyons said. "Obviously, we need to be a little better about how we manage games at times in the decisions that we make, but, yeah, the guys coming off the bench have impacted the game, which is massive. TO get two big wins last week was a big result for us."
1️⃣2️⃣th career game-winner from @tobiasSkarlsen— Carson-Newman Athletics (@CNathletics) September 22, 2019
��️ An open-net dagger for @niccarsh77
First 2️⃣-0️⃣ SAC start since 2014 for @CNmenssoccer
It was a wild Saturday night on the banks of Mossy Creek.
��: https://t.co/8BbByGzOWQ pic.twitter.com/qr7hC5zewE
C-N heads into the match with a league-high 16 goals, a total good enough for a share of 10th in the nation. Of those 16 goals, seven have come off of the bench. Beyond goals, the Eagles are among the top five in the league in numerous categories, including first-place with 13 assists and a 0.60 goals against average.
As for King (1-3), it enters the match trying to win a second-straight match after defeating Tusculum in overtime last Wednesday, 3-2. So far this season, all four of King's matches have come down to one-goal games. The last three games it has played in have needed overtime.
"We know that King are well-coached," Lyons said. "They're going to be hard-working and well-organized so we're going to have to be patient and, again, when the chances come, make sure we're being clinical."
King has yet to see a win on the road this season, being outscored by its opponents 3-1. In those matches, the Tornado were outshot 26-23 and trailed in shots on goal 13-9.
Third-year coach Richie Rose was picked to finish fifth in the Conference Carolinas this season after going 7-9-1 last season with a 5-5 showing in league action. They made it to the semifinal of the league tournament, falling to top-seeded Limestone, 9-1.
The Tornado return 18 players from last year's roster including All-Conference Carolinas selections Carlos Saavedra, Jairo Ruiz Caram and Adonis Wheeler. Also returning is Ben Delisle, currently one of the top two goal scorers on the team.
Delisle and Callum Davidson both lead the group with two goals on the season. As a group, King leads the Conference Carolinas in fouls per game with 9.75. Beyond that, they are in the top five of four other categories, including third with a .760 save percentage and fourth with a .250 shutout percentage.
C-N leads the series 18-4-3 and has won eight of the last ten meetings with King, including a six-match winning streak from 2008 to 2013. Games at McCown Field have favored the Eagles with a 9-2-2 with just one loss coming on the home pitch in the past decade when King left Jefferson City with a 3-2 win on Sept. 17, 2014.
The last time the Eagles and Tornado faced-off, it was King who was victorious with a 1-0 shutout at Parks Field. Luis Calderon made the most of a sequence following a King corner kick to get a shot past Twan Verweij into the back-left corner of the net. Both teams fired 11 shots on the day with both keepers making a pair of saves. It was the first time C-N lost at King's home turf and the first shutout loss to the Tornado since 1989.