JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – No. 14 ranked and second-seeded Carson-Newman will see Catawba for the third time in two weeks when the two sides square off in the Southeast Region Quarterfinal match on Friday, Nov. 9 at McCown Field. Kickoff is slated for 2:00 p.m.
The Eagles (14-5) and Indians (13-5) met at Mossy Creek on the final day of the regular season as C-N prevailed 2-1 in double overtime. With the South Atlantic Conference Tournament looming, Coach Simon Duffy and Nick Brown's squads clashed in the league semifinal with C-N claiming victory 2-1 behind Magda Mosengo's two tallies.
"Just very thankful that we're still trucking," Coach Duffy said. "Hopefully we go in with the mindset that any game could be our last game. I think the girls will be focused after last weekend."
Catawba has played a team three times in a single year twice in its history, Presbyterian in 1997 and C-N in 2004. The Indians were 2-1 against the Blue Hose and 0-3 vs. the Eagles in their respective seasons. For C-N, it also marks the third time they have seen the same side three times throughout the year. Outside of the matchup with the Indians in 2004, C-N faced off against a nationally-ranked Tusculum side in 2003, holding a 0-2-1 record against the Pioneers.
C-N and Catawba have met twice in the NCAA Tournament with C-N holding the advantage 2-0. Both wins came in back-to-back seasons (2004-2005) at McCown Field.
The Indians grabbed the seventh-seed, entering the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008. Catawba lost to C-N in the SAC title that year on penalty kicks but made the tournament as a fifth-seed with a record of 15-4-2. Catawba won their opening round game against Georgia College & State University 2-1 in overtime then fell in the Southeast Region semifinal to top-seeded and third-ranked Columbus State 2-0. CSU went on to beat the Eagles in the region title 1-0.
Catawba has been to the NCAA tournament five times prior to 2018 since the program began in 1990, holding a 3-5 record in postseason play. Three of their eight games have come against SAC opponents with the lone win coming during the 1997 season against former conference member Presbyterian.
Brown's group had just one player selected to All-SAC teams following the regular season. Sophomore midfielder Jovana Sanchez earned first-team honors following six goals and seven assists on the year but had just one goal in conference play.
The 13 wins in a season for the program is the most since 2012 when they finished the year 13-7 following a dominant run from 2002-09 in which the lowest win total was 12 in a single season. Catawba has not been higher than 5th in the league standings to finish the season since.
Catawba has been awarded an unreal amount of corners following the 2018 regular season campaign which sits at a total of 130, the most in the league. C-N is the next closest team with 110, then it falls off to 80 where Queens and Lenoir-Rhyne sit.
Catawba is led by Brown who took the reins of the Catawba College Women's Soccer Program in the spring of 2015. A former player for the Catawba men's team, Brown had served an assistant with the women's program since 2010. Prior to becoming Catawba's head coach he was at the helm at Lake Norman High School.
The Eagles have reached the NCAA Division II Championships for the 11th time in its career with an overall record of 16-10. C-N is 5-2 against SAC opponents in the NCAA's. Its last loss to a league foe came to Tusculum in 2006 by a score of 1-0 in two overtimes in a region final game at McCown Field. The Eagles program is 12-4 in Jefferson City in NCAA tourney matches, riding its three-game win streak following victories over Queens, Columbus State, and West Florida last season.
The Eagles are 2-1 all-time in Southeast Region Quarterfinal matches. This year, the region has added two teams to the tournament whereas years before, it's just been six teams. The last No. 2 seed to go to the region final game was Lenoir-Rhyne in 2011 who fell 1-0 to Armstrong Atlantic State. No two-seed has made it out of the region in the last decade.
According to NCAA.com, C-N has had the toughest schedule of any team in the country this year. The overall record of each opponent combined during the campaign to date sits at 176-96-14 with a win percentage of .640. Catawba is 70th in the rankings.
"I expect other players to step up," Duffy said. "I know there was a lot of our players who were not happy with how we went about Sunday's game. We have to be better and I hope they want to right that performance. We expected to have a tough schedule and I think we've handled it well considering we haven't been at full strength for most of the year. All the memories come flooding back of this time last year. I hope the fans can come out and support us because it's an amazing lift they give us. We need to play like it is our last game, it's as simple as that."
Carson-Newman Athletics will have a full weekend of coverage for the three games that will take place from Nov. 9 and Nov. 11. Follow along with updates at our tournament central page which will include all highlights, interviews, and quotes from each match.