JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - Looking to regain momentum from a season-opening defeat at the hands of Bellarmine, the No. 21 Carson-Newman Eagles will begin play at home Sunday against Young Harris.
Despite firing off nine shots in Thursday's loss, including three from senior forward Delaney Griffin (Franklin, Tenn.), the Eagles failed to score. Coach Simon Duffy saw encouraging progress in making the right decisions with the ball, however, and knows that the offensive will translate eventually.
"(Goal scoring) is the hardest thing to do in the game," Duffy said. "But honestly I know it's going to come because of the movement and what we're trying to do in that final third…If we continue right where we left off I know the goals are going to come. It's not from a lack of trying or effort. Our forwards have been out there doing finishing work all week and those things will come."
Eighteen players saw minutes in the opening tilt for C-N, with goaltender Jasmine Rizk (Andersonville, Tenn.), defense Beatrice Gards (Stockholm, Sweden) and Jente Kuper (Ottersberg, Germany) and forward Elena Propst (Maiden, N.C.) as the only four to see the game through the full 90 minutes. The rotation of depth allowed for Duffy to bring on seven substitutes, including four freshman, who all will be valuable role players for the future.
In the preseason C-N scheduled an away fixture against Trevecca Nazarene which resulted in a defeat, but provided the underclassmen with new experiences of playing outside of their comfort zones on the road.
"It's going to be a learning process for a lot of them," Duffy said. "But every day in training I see our upperclassmen really setting a standard which hopefully translates to our younger players that they understand that you need to show up every single day. We move on and we win or we learn."
The Eagles have a 3-1 record all-time against the Mountain Lions, with the last meeting between the two teams resulting in a 2-1 victory in 2015. Last season, Young Harris finished with a 6-9-1 record, respectively, with a 4-6 record in Peach Belt Conference play.
Junior midfielder Miranda Simpson is the leading returning scorer for the Mountain Lions. In her sophomore campaign she scored four goals and registered 10 total points across 1,321 minutes of play.
Duffy described Young Harris as a "changed team" from last year and cited the Mountain Lions' athleticism as a key ingredient for all the makings of yet another challenging nonconference game.
"It's two teams coming in now a bit wounded and definitely wanting to right the ship," he said. "It's going to be even more important for us to understand, 'Hey, we need to be up for this.'"
Kickoff at McCown Field is slated for 2 p.m. Fans unable to make it out to the home opener can watch as the No. 21 Eagles face the Mountain Lions on CNEagles.com/live.