JEFFERSON CITY, TENN. – The top-seeded and second-ranked Eagles will face a familiar foe in the NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Championships Southeast Regional Semifinal when Queens University takes a trip back to Mossy Creek for the second time this season. Kick off from McCown Field on Sunday, Nov. 12 is slated for 1:00 p.m.
The fifth-seeded Royals squeaked into the NCAA Championships after dropping the South Atlantic Conference Quarterfinals matchup to Anderson. A 1-1 tie after 110 minutes went to penalty kicks, and the Trojans would have the 4-3 edge on Oct. 31 as Queens nearly saw their season come to an end.
Fourth-seeded UNC-Pembroke, who claimed the conference championship in the Peach Belt, awaited the Royals on McCown Field on Friday. The game needed nearly 100 minutes when a foul outside of the 18-yard box by the Braves gave Thea Mallet a free kick chance with five seconds remaining in the first overtime.
A knuckler from the sophomore midfielder landed in the back of the net giving the Royals its first win in in program history in the NCAA Championships.
For the Eagles, after playing three games in six days in the SAC Tournament, they'll get some much needed rest after the No. 1 seed granted the team a bye and a home game.
"It's a helps us tremendously with rest but being able to watch those two teams play from a scouting standpoint as well," Coach Simon Duffy stated. "We now know who we can focus on playing."
This will be the first time Carson-Newman and Queens will meet in the NCAA Championships. The last SAC opponent the Eagles faced in NCAA tournament play came back in 2009 when they met Tusculum at McCown Field in the Regional Semifinal. Treena Howell's goal in the 17th minute was the deciding factor in the 1-0 win.
C-N is 4-2 in program history when facing a SAC opponent in the NCAA Championships. The Eagles are 6-3 all-time in Regional Semifinal games and 5-0 at home in such games.
"Regardless of who we have played before, it's the second round of the national tournament so we are going to get their best," Duffy mentioned. "We just need to make sure we come out and not only be relaxed but do what we do best."
While the Eagles boast the fourth-best scoring offense in the nation, the Royals have one of the better stretches of defense throughout 2017.
In Queens previous 11 wins including Friday, all have come via a shutout. The last win for the team in which they conceded a goal, came in the first game of the season vs. Young Harris on Aug. 31 in a 5-1 victory.
C-N and Queens met on Sept. 23 at McCown Field where the Eagles collected the first four tallies of the game in the 4-2 win.
Senior Alana Jefferson, a first-team All-SAC selection, leads the Royals with 10 goals in the 2017 campaign scoring four of those in the past six games.
Jefferson joined teammates Charlotte Ring and Mariah Lewis with first-team honors. Emma Rose-Stockon and Lulu Phan claimed second-team All-SAC while Mallet earned honorable mention.
Carson-Newman returns to the NCAA Championships for the third-consecutive year after a five-year hiatus. The Eagles were the No. 1 seed in 2015 claiming a win in the region semifinal falling to Columbus State in the regional final.
The 2016 appearance was much of the same, but this time as a No. 6 seed. A win over third-seed Limestone in the region quarterfinals put the Eagles through to face second-seeded North Georgia in the semifinal. After gaining a 3-1 lead, the Bobcats collected three goals in the final 16 minutes making C-N's season come to a close.
"It'll come down to who wants it more," Duffy added. "This is a special group and you saw that against three good teams in the conference tournament. Being focused and keeping cool heads is what it'll come down to and it's my job that they're mentally and physically ready."
The 2017 Southeast Regional Women's Soccer Championship is hosted by Carson-Newman University. You can visit our Tournament Central page for all information and updates from the weekend's games.