JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – No. 12 Carson-Newman will look to extend a multitude of streaks on Wednesday night when they host South Atlantic Conference opponent Tusculum at McCown Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Coach Simon Duffy's squad (6-2, 4-0) is in search for its seventh-straight win following two losses to open up the season to No. 3 ranked Columbus State and No. 4 West Florida. C-N also holds four-game winning streaks in both the conference and Pioneer matches as they continue to pursue its fourth-consecutive regular season league title.
"It's a big week for us," Duffy said. "This is one of those that you can't stress enough about the importance of it. The returning players understand it as physical and the animosity felt against them from their side. They'll be gunning for us but I think the players know what to expect and I expect us to be ready to go."
The Eagles program continues to be dominant on its home soil with an unbeaten streak that dates back to the beginning of the 2015 season. Since the loss to Ohio Dominican, C-N is 31-3-2 against conference opponents over the last three regular-season meetings outscoring opponents 117-26. Including tournament matches, the record improves to 40-3-2 with a difference in scoring of 137-28.
C-N trails in the overall series to Tusculum (4-4-1, 2-2) 16-18-2 which includes just a 6-7 record inside the confines of McCown Field.
Duffy's group saw the Pioneers twice in 2017 following the regular season with trips to the SAC Championship Semifinal. C-N took the regular season matchup 3-0 in Tusculum behind Lauren Wade's fifth-fastest hat trick in Division II history with a time of 3:30. It took a 2-1 overtime victory in the semifinal match following Magda Mosengo's bender just over two minutes into the extra frame.
The Pioneers come off a 3-1 victory over Catawba at home on Sept. 29 to snap a two-game conference losing streak when they dropped matches at Wingate (2-0) and to Lenoir-Rhyne (3-1).
Tusculum was picked to finish fifth in the South Atlantic Conference preseason polls receiving 73 points after finishing 2017 10-7-1 (7-3 SAC)
Four Pioneers were named Second-team Preseason All-SAC: Senior forward Jordan Newby, junior midfielder Sonja Ballmert, senior defender Nicole McMillen and sophomore defender Kenzie Ellenburg. Newby collected six goals and was second on the team in points in 2017 with 12. Ballmert led the team in points with 14 on five goals and four assists. McMillen returns as a three-year starter for TC recording four assists in 2017. Ellenburg started in 13 games last season helping the team grab six clean sheets en route to being named Pioneer Defensive MVP following the season.
Tusculum is led by Coach Mike Joy who enters his 22nd season at the helm. Joy is the winningest women's soccer coach in school and league history. He owns a 251-117-34 overall record, with a league record of 102-51-14.
"He's had some really good players come through there," Duffy said. "He's been very consistent and they are well drilled. They'll fight until the very end and there's a lot to be said about the way he's instilled the work ethic in the program."
Jackie Burns (Cookstown, Northern Ireland) is still in search of the 27th solo shutout of her career which would put the junior goalkeeper at the top of the list in the history of the conference. Averi Williams (Powell, Tenn.) is 15 minutes shy of eclipsing 6000 for her career as she currently sits 5th all-time since the program's inception in 1991.
"Averi is a winner and a competitor it's as simple as that," Duffy said. "Even in training, you'd think she was playing against Tusculum. You train like a beast, you play like a beast. She competes every day and whatever we do you can see the way she puts it all out there."
C-N remains at No. 2 in the southeast region rankings but continues to move its way up the United Soccer Coaches top-25 checking in at No. 12 in the latest polls.