Eagles look to begin campaign strong against Bellarmine

Bellarmine Game Notes

Video: Simon Duffy Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – When the No. 21 Carson-Newman Eagles take the field in Louisville, Ky. to face the Bellarmine Knights, the starting group of 11 will be a slight mystery.

The past two weeks of practice and scrimmages at McCown Field have created a couple of positional battles that will be determined when play begins Thursday evening.

Coach Simon Duffy described the upcoming season as a changing of the guard for the Eagles. After graduating seniors such as Holly Talbot-Smith, Catarina Realista and Magda Mosengo, who ranks fourth in program history in goals scored, Duffy set out to bring in new talent across the pitch. Eight of the team's 23-women roster are freshmen.

"With us having as many new players coming in as we've had, and obviously the seniors that graduated, it's going to be a bit of change with us," Duffy said. "It's not going to be the same faces that have been around here for the past three or four years. So we've just got to make sure that these new players are well-versed in our system of play and what we want to do.

"So far, it's been great."

This is the first all-time meeting between C-N and Bellarmine. For the Eagles, returning leading scorer Emily Futrell (Wilson, N.C.) and defense Jente Kuper (Ottersburg, Germany) enter into the season listed on the Preseason All-SAC First Team, while senior midfielder Lara Hallgrimsdottir (Kopavogur, Iceland) was named to the All-SAC Second Team.

The Knights return junior Natalie Teo, who scored five goals on the 2018 season. Their 11-6-3 record earned them fifth place in the regular season, but the Knights made a run in the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament before losing 1-0 to Rockhurst in the conference finals to end the season, respectively.

"They're going to be a really, really good squad," Duffy said. "I figure that they'll be very fit, well-organized, they're going to absolutely challenge for everything and it's going to be a very tough opening opponent for us."

C-N will look to frustrate the defensive third of Bellarmine, who only allowed 17 goals across 20 games last year. The Eagles' 19 goals allowed in 20 games last season was tied for second fewest in the SAC. In 2017, the team only allowed 12 goals.

Kickoff at Owsley B. Frazier Stadium is set for 7 p.m., with live updates provided across all of C-N's social media platforms.