WINGATE, N.C. - No. 20 Carson-Newman Women's Soccer claimed its fourth-straight regular season South Atlantic Conference Championship on Saturday after topping the Wingate Bulldogs 3-0 at the Wingate Soccer Complex.
With 24 points in conference matches, C-N mathematically earns the outright crown following Catawba's 3-0 win over Anderson.
"It's a great feeling and not just that alone but the performance to get it makes it much more special," Coach Simon Duffy said. "Wingate is already a tough ask as it is especially on their home field but I was proud of the way we fought today. We showed the intensity and the right mindset and I hope we can continue to have that moving forward. We still have a lot of work left to do."
The Eagles (10-3, 8-1) become the third team all-time in league history to accomplish four-straight league regular season titles as they join former SAC member Presbyterian (1996-99) and Lenoir-Rhyne who did it for five-straight seasons from 2010-14. C-N holds the most regular season titles with 10 in the program's history with the next closest teams with six being the aforementioned Bears and the Blue Hose.
Wingate moves to 6-6-2 overall and 3-5-1 in SAC play, marking the first time since 2007 in which the Bulldogs have lost at least five conference games. C-N has now won four-straight over the Bulldogs and six of the last seven outscoring them
The Eagles move to 35-4-2 against conference opponents over the last three-plus regular-season meetings outscoring opponents 129-29.
Duffy's core has a knack for scoring quickly this season grabbing goals within the first 13 minutes in six out of the previous nine contests. The trend continued against Wingate as senior defender Alex Brandan (Knoxville, Tenn.) came through with her first goal of 2018 in the seventh minute finishing a feed from midfielder Catarina Realista (Lisbon, Portugal). The assist was Realista's second of the season.
Brandan grabbed her first goal since 2016's Nov. 13 NCAA tournament game vs. North Georgia. The goal seemed to be a long timing coming as the defender connected with the crossbar or the post three times over the last four games.
"It was an incredible strike by her and we always tell her in practice to have a look and get ahold of one," Duffy said. "She's been so close so many times so it was great to see her grab that first one for us on a beautiful shot."
After missing Wednesday's match against Mars Hill due to an accumulation of yellow cards, forward Magda Mosengo (London, England) regained her swagger in the 14th minute when her position companion in Emilee Futrell (Wilson, N.C.) found the senior who connected with her league-leading 14th goal of the season. The two points mark the 10th-straight match in which she has recorded at least one point.
Holly Talbut-Smith (Crawley, England) added insurance in the final minute after Futrell danced past a Bulldog defender and around the Wingate goalkeeper Abbey Frail, finding the senior forward for an open net goal to seal the victory.
"That last goal was important because I thought we would always need one more and that's what we kept chasing in the second half," Duffy said. "It was a great play by Emilee to find Holly and I'm glad they pushed till the finish."
Jackie Burns (Cookstown, Northern Ireland) adds another clean sheet to her resume pushing her career total to 28.4. She remains four shutouts away from tying the SAC's all-time leader Kim Clayton (Catawba) with 32.
Coach Duffy collected his 99th career victory Saturday evening as he now boasts a stellar 31-4-1 record as the Eagles gaffer and improves to 17-1-1 in league matches.
C-N went on to outshoot Wingate 22-8 as 12 shots were sent on frame by the Eagles to the Bulldogs two.
The Eagles will return to McCown Field for the final two games of the regular season starting with No. 16 Limestone on Oct 24. The Saints hold the No. 3 spot in the latest NCAA Southeast Region rankings with C-N not far behind at No. 6. Game time on Wednesday is set for 7:00 p.m.