JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The No. 20 ranked Carson-Newman Women's Soccer program turns its heads to a familiar sight in the Wingate Bulldogs heading into the weekend. Game time from Wingate, N.C. on Saturday is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.
C-N (9-3, 7-1) has played Wingate (6-5-2, 3-4-1) six times over the past three seasons as each of the two teams have met in the South Atlantic Conference Championship for three consecutive years from 2015-17.
The Eagles have won five out of the last six meetings with the lone loss coming during the 2016 regular season in a 1-0 OT loss at Wingate. C-N has outscored the Bulldogs 12-3 in that span and hold an all-time series record of 27-6-2.
After a 1-0 win for Simon Duffy's Eagles last year at McCown Field, things shifted in the SAC title match against Wingate as C-N jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 12 minutes of the match. Lauren Wade's hat trick helped propel the Eagles to their third straight league tournament title.
"I'm really looking forward to going down there," Coach Simon Duffy said. "Their facilities and their pitch are beautiful. It's a big field and I think that suits what we do best. They are a good team and have had some fantastic success over the years. I'm hoping we can turn our attention and focus on what's at hand and having that mentality. We did not have that on Wednesday. I guess I take for granted with my team that we will compete at a high level every game."
Despite a generous down year for Wingate, they are still a formidable side when playing at the Wingate Soccer Complex & Pride Park. Chip Wiggins' Bulldogs resemble a 4-1-1 mark at home, winning all three of its prior conference home matches.
Wingate comes off a 1-1 tie to Queens on Oct. 17 as they now sit at 7th in the league standings with 10 points. Queens sits in eights with seven, and Newberry is on the outside looking in with four points. The top-eight teams in the SAC following the end of the regular season earn a berth into the conference tournament.
C-N sits atop the league with 21 points and currently with just the one loss, would need to run the table in order to achieve its fourth-straight regular season conference championship.
Wingate is one of the better teams in conference play in terms of shooting the ball, ranking top-three in shots, shots per game, and shots on goals. Four different Bulldogs have recorded three goals this season: freshman McKenna Delong, senior Sophie Jendrzejczyk, freshman Dayna Marshall, and senior Colleen Zickert, neither of which were preseason All-SAC members.
Kimmie Moore and Caileigh Apicella both received first-team preseason All-SAC selections as senior while sophomore Kristen DeBiase earned second-team. Moore was All-SAC and all-region in 2017 with five goals and four assists.
Wiggins enters his sixth season at the helm as he has guided the Bulldogs to a pair of SAC Tournament titles (2013-14) in his first five years while leading Wingate to the SAC Tournament title match every year of his career. Wiggins has helped the Bulldogs earn NCAA Tournament bids in three of his five seasons at Wingate as he holds a 67-19-11 overall record which includes a 41-9-4 mark in SAC play.
C-N will return senior forward Magda Mosengo to the lineup following a one-game suspension for accumulating too many yellow cards. Mosengo leads the team and the SAC in total goals with 13, having scored a point in nine-straight matches.
"A lot of what we do revolves around her," Duffy said. "She's an important part of that and she's really stepped up to the plate. I hope she's now hungry again and I hope we are ready to go being at full strength."