JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - Lira Mathes' first career goal in the 84th minute proved to be the difference as the Carson-Newman Eagles defeated the No. 6 Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters at McCown Field Wednesday evening.
"I'm just so happy and thrilled for the girls with the effort put forth, the attitude, because that's a very good LMU side who have some exceptional players," head coach Simon Duffy said.
Toward the closing moments of the match, C-N (2-2) earned a corner kick when a shot ricocheted off LMU (4-1) goalie Emanuely Costa off the boot of midfielder Lara Hallgrimsdottir. Serving as a corner specialist, Preseason All-SAC Second Team member Hallgrimsdottir stepped into the corner on the right-hand side and found the junior defense Mathes (Knoxville, Tenn.) at the back post for a goal that was knocked home to the center of the net.
C-N opened the goal scoring in the 20th minute off the boot of defense Jente Kuper (Ottersburg, Germany) when senior forward Sydney Spadafora (Collierville, Tenn.) floated a ball into the middle of the 18-yard box. Kuper received the rainbow ball from Spadafora with the right foot and fired a shot to the upper right-hand side of the mesh, blowing by Railsplitters goalie Emanuely Costa.
LMU tied the game moments later when a bit of sloppy play led to a corner on the left-hand side. Senior forward Itzel Ballesteros delivered an exceptional cross, which was knocked home on the left side of the goal by Emelinda Pantaleao.
Minus the lone blemish, senior goaltender Jasmine Rizk turned in a stellar performance on the night. She recorded a half-dozen saves in the contest, and is 2-2 overall on the season with an 82 percent save percentage.
"I'll tell you, LMU, they gave us a challenge," Rizk said. "They had a lot of shots. Our girls really rose to the challenge and I'm just so proud of the way we played."
Throughout the course of the match C-N was able to keep the potent offensive attack subsided with various defensive plays made the entire squad, including defense Beatrice Gards (Stockholm, Sweden), Kristina Markfort (Munster, Germany) and Kuper. Despite LMU registering more overall shots by a 14-13 margin, C-N outshot LMU in shots on goal 8-7.
This is the first time that C-N has defeated a ranked opponent at home since the 2015 season when the Eagles defeated #9 Lenoir-Rhyne.
Looking to continue their winning ways, C-N will continue home play at McCown Field when the Newberry Wolves roll into Mossy Creek on Saturday at 5 p.m.