JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Moments after defeating No. 6 Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday, coach Simon Duffy delivered a postgame speech that was equal parts proud and forewarning of the future.
As the team sat around the head coach toward the east end of McCown Field postgame, smiling over their upset while sipping on cartons of chocolate milk, the message of showing up to practice and to play on a quick turnaround became evident.
Duffy was proud with the team's grind-it-out effort to defeat LMU by a final of 2-1 – the deciding goal coming in the 84th minute off a header from junior defense Lira Mathes (Knoxville, Tenn.). But with less than 72 hours to prepare for another home contest, Newberry travels into Mossy Creek to face C-N Saturday evening, looking to create an upset of its own.
"It's going to be a tough game, it really is," Duffy said. "Especially after the high emotions of Wednesday night's game against a fantastic LMU side, I don't want this to be any kind of a hangover on Saturday where we aren't mentally prepared. We need to respect this team."
Despite having a losing record in each of the past four seasons, the Wolves enter into Saturday's contest with a 2-1-1 record. In 2018, their 7-9-1 overall record was the best they've had since their last winning season in 2014, where they went 10-5-4 and finished third in the South Atlantic Conference.
Senior forward Daphne Heyaime serves as an impact creator for the Wolves. She scored 12 goals and added 3 assists in her junior campaign, earning Second-Team All-SAC honors and was also named to the First-Team Preseason All-SAC before the season began this year. Heyaime has already scored five goals this year, which is tied for first in the conference.
Goalies Jayleen Gant and Delaney Hood have split responsibilities in-between the woodwork for the Wolves this season. Across three starts, Hood has a 2.44 goals against average and a .684 save percentage in 221 minutes played, both of which rank in the bottom three among statistical qualifying SAC goalkeepers, respectively. In a relief role, Gant ranks first in both save percentage (.938) and GAA (.057) across 158 minutes of play.
The last time the Wolves took down the Eagles was back in 2014, when Newberry won at home by in a decisive 4-0 game. Since then, it's been all C-N. The Eagles boast a five-game winning streak over their conference foe and over those past five meetings C-N has outscored the Wolves 14-4. The last time the Wolves earned a victory at Mossy Creek was in a 1-0, double-overtime contest back in 2013.
Through each of the first four games, the Eagles have been able to show grit and play each opponent in a tough and competitive manner win or loss. Offensively, flashes from players like senior forward Delaney Griffin (Franklin, Tenn.) and freshman forward Makayla Garner (Fort Mill, S.C.) have been promising, despite the fact that C-N ranks in the bottom third in goals scored in the SAC. Delaney's 11 shots and Garner's two goals both lead the team in their respective categories.
It's time, according to Duffy, that will run its course and continue to create chemistry to get the unit up to full speed.
Defensively the team continues to be strong with only five goals allowed, which is tied for fourth best in the SAC. Junior defense Jente Kuper (Ottersburg, Germany) and freshman Beatrice Gards (Stockholm, Sweden) have been defensive stalwarts, locking down the middle of the defensive third. But, a few unforced errors as a whole unit have led to turnovers and goals against.
What Duffy would like to see Saturday is a full performance across the duration of the contest. While the talent level has been on display through sections of the game, piecing together a complete game is paramount to the team's success in SAC play.
"I'd like to see us put a performance together for 90 minutes," he said. "Not just in moments and not just in waves."
Kickoff at McCown Field is scheduled for 5 p.m. with live coverage provided by the Eagles Sports Network. Part two of a doubleheader concludes at 7:30 p.m. when the men's soccer team takes the pitch, also against Newberry.