JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - Top-seeded and 16th-ranked Carson-Newman will match up against the second-seeded Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters for the South Atlantic Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday, Nov. 4 at Manchester Meadows. Kickoff from Rock Hill S.C.
The two sides will face each other for just the second time ever in the league tournament which came in the SAC Quarterfinal match in 2016 at McCown Field. C-N (14-3) prevailed 1-0 en route to its second-straight title. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds have matched up in the conference final eight times as the top seed has won six of those contests.
C-N will make its eighth appearance all-time in the SAC title match as the program is a perfect 7-0 in such games. Coach Simon Duffy looks to lead the team to its fourth-straight conference championship, a feat that has never been done in the history of the league since its inception in 1991.
"Just going to get some light training going today and recover a little bit," Duffy said. "We'll watch some film tonight on them and get focused for tomorrow. We've been able to step up in big moments all season and I hope we come ready to play and get this championship."
During the 11-game win streak in tournament matches, the Eagles have outscored teams 26-4.
The team will also look to extend its five-game winning streak against LMU (13-4), as they hold the scoring advantage 15-4 in that span. C-N's win earlier this season came in Harrogate, Tenn. in a 5-2 victory for Duffy's group. Magda Mosengo scored two goals in the match with Emilee Futrell, Kristina Markfort, and Catarina Realista all adding tallies in the win.
After scoring two goals in the SAC semifinal against Catawba, Mosengo is in search of her 20th goal of the 2018 campaign came from Lauren Wade in 2016 who scored 20. Only five players in the program's history have reached the mark.
Despite its second-lowest shooting output against the Indians in which the Eagles only mustered 12 shots, C-N has outshot teams in every game this season with the exception of its game against No. 10 West Florida to open up the year. The Eagles have a record of 13-2 this season when they hold the advantage in the shot category.
Lincoln Memorial comes off a 2-0 victory over the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears in a rainy affair in the SAC semifinal match despite being outshot 19-12 on the afternoon.
Courtney Boyd added a goal in the 71st minute for Sean Fraser's unit after a goalie misplay. Itzel Ballesteros added the second of the pair in the 76th minute on a one-on-one opportunity with the L-R goalkeeper
Railsplitter goalkeeper Ann-Marie O'Connell collected six saves and recorded her eighth solo shutout of the season, moving her record to 13-4. Her squad had also defeated the Bears 2-1 during the regular season.
LMU placed six players on all-conference teams tying C-N with four players collecting first-team honors.
The aforementioned Fraser was named Coach of the Year prior to leading his team into the tournament as the No. 2 seed. LMU responded after a 2017 season in which the team went just 7-10 overall and 2-8 in conference play. They held a conference record of 7-3 in 2018's regular season with its trio of losses coming to C-N, Tusculum, and Anderson. Both the Pioneer and Trojan losses came in overtime.
The Railsplitters had not had 13 wins a season since 2007 when they finished 15-5-1 (5-2 SAC), the very year after they joined the South Atlantic Conference. That year, LMU won both the regular season and tournament titles, their only championships in either of the two categories.
LMU's only other appearance in the SAC title game came in 2013 as the fifth seed. They matched up against second-seeded Wingate, falling 2-1. They defeated four-seed Catawba 2-1, and knocked off No. 1 seed Lenoir-Rhyne 2-0 to make the appearance.
Jessica Cravero leads the team with 15 goals and was named the SAC's Freshman of the Year. Ballesteros has recorded 10 goals which sits at fifth in the conference.
"Their two players up front have been able to score," Duffy said. "It's something they've just been effective at this season," Duffy said. "With that being said we just need to improve on our overall effort and keep our focus, play our game."