HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Collin Hensel netted a quick-witted game-winning goal with a mere 24 seconds remaining to send Carson-Newman past Alabama Huntsville, 2-1, on Tuesday evening at Charger Field.
"Overall, the guys did very well," Carson-Newman coach Stephen Lyons said. "A lot of players got an opportunity to play tonight, especially in that starting group. Matheus Maia was one of those, getting his goal to open things up. There were really good individual performances tonight that showed a lot of character. I think this proved that they do have that belief in themselves."
Carson-Newman (7-2-1) has now won four-straight meetings against Alabama Huntsville (3-5), moving its overall series lead to 6-4.
Hensel's goal marked the first game-winner of his career and pushed his career goal total to six.
With his goal, C-N has now seen four of its 26 goals this season come in the final five minutes of play. Within that, two have come in the final minute, those being Hensel's goal and Nic Carsh's (Newberg, Ore.) goal with 19 seconds remaining against Newberry on Sept. 21.
Maia (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) provided the first push that C-N needed on the night with the first goal of his career. Not only was this his first appearance on the pitch this season but it was also his first career start.
Most of C-N's starting mainstays through this point of the season came into the match from the bench, including Tobias Solem Karlsen (Kongsvinger, Norway). The senior tacked on the most shooting opportunities for the Eagles with four attempts and two on goal.
In the 25th minute, Sofian Maghouz (London, England) set up a pass to Thaylan Silva (Sao Paulo, Brazil) but the junior got caught up with a Charger upon fighting for possession. Maia swept in to recover the open ball, taking it above the 18-yard box before launching a rocket to the back right upper 90.
Alabama Huntsville forced a 1-1 tie in the 61st minute on a look to the low left portion of the net from Khalil Bell.
The stalemate lasted until the 90th minute when Hensel provided the answer the Eagles were pressing for.
Silva made a pass toward the left side of the 18-yard box to an open Nic Carsh (Newberg, Ore.). The sophomore sent a shot toward the net that connected with the chest of UAH's netminder Drew Kelly. Standing within reach, Hensel picked up the save with a quick flick past Kelly for the first game-winning goal of his career.
Hensel had been in the match for just over five minutes before he scored.
COLLIN. HENSEL. WOAH.— Carson-Newman Athletics (@CNathletics) October 9, 2019
With just 24 seconds remaining, @ballincollin11 makes the most of a deflection off the keeper to net his third goal of the season and first career game-winner!
"Collin had something in him," Lyons said. "He scored here two years and was able to keep us from overtime tonight by getting the win."
Making his first start since Oct. 18, 2017, Joe Boyd (Nottingham, England) needed just two saves in the match. This was his first win since Sept. 9, 2017 when C-N defeated Clayton State, 4-2. He now has nine wins in his career, moving him into a tie for sixth with Stian Alnes who recorded nine victories from 2002-04.
"Joe came out and made a few good stops outside the area," Lyons said. "Today was a big positive for him, individually. That depth is a massive bonus. It's a big headache for the coaching staff, but we know that it's going to be needed down the stretch."
By halftime, C-N was held to its lowest shooting total in a single half of play this season with four, Maghouz and Maia both accounting for two each. The Eagles bounced back with seven shots in the second half, totaling their lowest shots tally of the season with 11. They landed seven of those shots on frame.
The Chargers also fired 11 shots on the night with three on goal, a new low for opponents this season. Bell led UAH with three shots, two of those on goal.
Kelly was called upon for four saves in the contest.
The road trip continues for Carson-Newman as it jumps back into South Atlantic Conference play on Saturday with a trek to Coker. That match is set to begin at 2:30 p.m. from the Coker Athletic Field in Hartsville, S.C. The folks at Coker will provide a live stream and live stats for the match while real-time updates will shuffle through @CNathletics on Twitter.