Columbus, Ga. – The second-ranked Carson-Newman Eagles dropped the season opener clashing with No. 10 ranked West Florida as C-N fell by a score of 2-0 at the Columbus State Invitational.
Friday's loss for C-N (0-1) became the first time the Eagles fell in regular season play since October of 2016 in a 1-0 loss to Wingate which also marked the last time C-N was held scoreless. It's the first non-conference loss in regular season play since Sept. 6th of that same season when they fell to Alabama-Huntsville by a final of 3-1. The decision also marked the first loss to open up the season since 2014.
"The Argonauts (1-0) had a bit more desire and passion than we did tonight but I think I need to take the blame for this one," Coach Simon Duffy stated. "We just looked second-best tonight and were lacking in many departments. I need to do a better job but fair play to West Florida for their efforts."
The first half was less than stellar for each side who combined for a total of eight shots, five of which came from the Argonauts. The lone shot on goal for UWF in the first 45 minutes was tipped over the goal by a diving Jasmine Rizk (Andersonville, Tenn.) who got the starting nod for the first time in her career. The junior ended the evening with two saves.
Joe Bartlinski's squad broke through just over two minutes into the second half Peyton Peffers corralled a loose ball off the hands of Rizk as the freshman buried the first goal of the year for the Argonauts.
The Argos collected their second goal of the evening in the 82nd minute after a turnover in midfield left Peppers with the opportunity to take the ball up the right side of the field. A perfect cross from the Panama City Beach, Fla. native landed on the foot of Sam Waarum who connected with the ball sending it into the top shelf.
C-N drops to 1-4 all-time against West Florida who claimed revenge on Friday after falling to the Eagles in the 2017 NCAA Quarterfinal.
Duffy's group fought through weather and game delays before finally getting underway at 6:30 pm. from the Walden Soccer Complex, a game that was slated for a 4:30 p.m. start.
"It was tough to go from sitting around to warming up and stop and start again," Duffy added. "The game before went to double overtime, so it's tough mentally to get that sorted but that's not an excuse. UWF had to go through the same thing and had such high energy and we weren't able to handle it."
The Eagles mustered just three shots on goal. The total of eight shots for the team was the lowest total since Nov. 6 of 2015 when they had just four against Anderson.
Carson-Newman was without goalkeeper Jackie Burns (Cookstown, Northern Ireland) and midfielder Catarina Realista (Libson, Portugal) who traveled to their respective countries to play in the World Cup Qualifiers.
The Eagles will head into game number two on Sunday when they take on No. 12 ranked Columbus State.