JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Riding a three-match winning streak, Carson-Newman hits the road to clash with the Trojans of Anderson at the Legacy Early College Soccer Field in Greenville, S.C. on Saturday night.
Carson-Newman (5-1, 2-0 South Atlantic Conference) dives back into conference play after taking down King on Wednesday night, 3-1. Two of the three goals C-N netted came from non-starting players, giving the Eagles nine goals off of the bench this season. This was the fourth-straight match where C-N has allowed its opponent to score just one goal after starting the year with back-to-back clean sheet victories.
In the win over King, Tobias Solem Karlsen (Kongsvinger, Norway) pushed himself into the top 10 of the program's all-time shooting list, now sitting at 139 in his time with the Eagles. He needs just one shot in Saturday's match to stand alone in that 10th slot, currently tied with Sindre Welo who played from 2012-15. One more goal would move him to 28 in his career, landing him in a three-way tie for seventh in team history.
Stephen Lyons' group leads the conference in almost every offensive category possible, including 131 shots, 19 goals and 16 assists. Their 21.83 shots per games are the leading clip in the SAC and the nation.
"We still can be a lot sharper," Carson-Newman coach Stephen Lyons said. "Hopefully can get that going into Saturday's conference game and get another good result.
"We're getting shots on frame and making the keeper work. Defensively, we're doing the extra little bit that we need to limit their opportunities. Again, you're always looking to keep a clean sheet. That's always a big thing."
2️⃣7️⃣ @CNmenssoccer shots— Carson-Newman Athletics (@CNathletics) September 26, 2019
6️⃣ different Eagles with multiple shot attempts.
C-N's downpour of shots helped contain King to its lowest shot total on the year to remain perfect at home this season.
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C-N currently shares the top spot on the conference table with Wingate, both teams still undefeated in league action this season with six points. The last time the Eagles started conference play without a loss was in 2017 when the group went 6-0-1 through their first seven games of the conference schedule before losing to Wingate, 7-1. Their last undefeated start against the SAC came in 2010, stringing together six consecutive wins.
While this match is being played in a neutral venue, it is still considered a home match for Anderson (3-3, 0-2 SAC) due to its home pitch being under construction.
The last time the Trojans took to the pitch on September 21, they lost to Wingate, 2-1, marking the team's first set of back-to-back losses since the early parts of the 2018 season when it dropped three-straight in games against No. 10 Lander, North Georgia and Newberry. Before the match with Wingate, they fell to Newberry, 3-1, to open conference play.
Anderson was slated to finish third in the SAC Preseason Poll this season after an 11-6-3 campaign in 2018 that included appearances in both the SAC Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament. The fourth-seeded Trojans fell to third-seeded Tusculum in the SAC Championship, 2-1. As the No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Anderson defeated No. 3 Limestone in the opening round, 3-2, before falling to Lander in the Southeast Regional semifinal, 1-0, in double overtime.
Sixth-year head coach Michael Zion brings back a number of key players from last year's group including three All-Conference picks in first team goalkeeper Gal Elyashiv and second team selections Lucas Mostajo and Ryan Tyrer, both of whom were also All-Southeast Region players in 2018.
Elyashiv has been the primary netminder for the Trojans this season, holding 1.1 shutouts with 17 saves and seven goals allowed in six starts. He comes off of a sophomore season where he led the SAC with an .800 goals against average and .824 save percentage.
Alexander Cox-Ashwood and preseason All-SAC second team pick Harry Ward have been the leading scorers for Anderson this season with two goals apiece. Ward leads the group with two assists for six points.
Anderson's three shutouts on the season are tied for the most in the SAC. Beyond that, it is in the top five in the league in five other categories including third for 102 shots and 17.0 shots per game.
Carson-Newman holds a substantial lead in the series at 11-4-1. When being hosted by the Trojans, it is 4-1-0, winning both of the last two such matches. The only loss C-N has faced at Anderson came on Sept. 24, 2011 in a 3-1 decision.
Last year's meeting between the Eagles and Trojans resulted in the first draw in series history. The game stayed at a scoreless deadlock heading into halftime with the Eagles holding the Trojans to no shots on goal in the first 45. In the 48th minute, a ball sent deep into the Anderson third resulted in AU's Elyashiv sliding and making contact with Solem Karlsen in the 18-yard box. The foul called on the Trojan netminder set up Ashley Kelynack for a penalty kick that he connected on to put C-N up 1-0. Anderson answered in the 78th minute as Tyrer headed in a corner to tie the game at one. The match stayed in the stalemate for the remainder of regulation with neither team letting up in the extra 20. This was the first draw for Carson-Newman at home since a 1-1 finish against USC Aiken on Sept. 12, 2015.
Saturday's contest is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. Anderson will provide a live stream and live stats for those who cannot make it. Real-time updates of the match can also be found from @CNathletics on Twitter.