JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - After a successful five-game homestand, which saw the Eagles pick up four wins including an upset of then-No. 6 Lincoln Memorial, Carson-Newman is back on the road Saturday in a conference tilt against Anderson.
"They're just a very determined team," coach Simon Duffy said. "I've seen them play now in their last couple of games…The team we played midweek here Belmont Abbey, I think it'll be a very similar kind of team that we're up against and obviously we're back in league play now so it's going to carry a bit more merit."
A 174-mile trip to Anderson marks the first of a three-game stint in South Atlantic Conference play for C-N. After securing a 1-0 win at home against Lander on Wednesday, the Trojans stand at 3-2 (1-1 SAC) on the season with additional wins against USC Aiken by a 2-1 score, and Newberry 3-1.
Through their first five games the Trojans have only allowed 7 goals, which is ranks tied for fifth-best in the SAC thus far. Being able to expand upon C-N's three-goal effort from Wednesday's contest against Belmont Abbey will be crucial on the road trip. Through the team's first six games, the Eagles have registered 99 shots and have had two-straight games with more than 10 shots on goal.
"We're not trying to complicate things," Duffy said. "I was really impressed with our movement (against Belmont Abbey). Just in the final third, we work on things and it doesn't transpire that next day, but it's putting the ideas and thoughts into the heads of the players and that hopefully they see things.
"But the movement, just the runs that the players were making off the ball, make it a lot easier for the person making a decision on the ball."
Last season, Anderson finished with a 7-8-1 overall, but finished fourth in the SAC after finishing with an impressive 6-3-1 mark in conference play. Since joining the SAC in 2011, Anderson have only had two winning seasons, with its most successful campaign dating back to 2015 when the Trojans went 14-4-1 before being eliminated in postseason play by C-N in the SAC tournament.
In the past five meetings between the two sides C-N is a flawless 5-0-0, including two postseason SAC tournament victories. Anderson's successful 2015 season is also the last time the Trojans have beaten the Eagles – a 2-1 road victory at McCown Field.
Junior forward Kirsten Armetta is the top returning player for Anderson. As a sophomore last year, she scored four goals and added six assists for a total of 14 points. In her junior campaign, Armetta has three goals on nine shots, including two game-winning goals. She is one of six players in the SAC with two game-winning goals thus far on the season, ranking her in a sixth-way tie for second overall.
After losing goalie Abby Helm, an All-SAC Second Team selection in 2018, to graduation, the Trojans turned to junior goalie Madison Paige. Paige has started all five contests for the Trojans this season, recording 21 saves and a shutout. She ranks eighth in the SAC in GAA (1.40) and 11th in save percentage (75 percent), respectively.
While keeping the same composure on the road as opposed to the friendly confines of McCown Field can be difficult for some teams, Duffy's squads over the past three seasons are a combined 13-2 away from home.
It takes a full-pitch effort to claim a victory in any contest, but Duffy is looking to see the same tenacity from the team as he saw Wednesday despite an eight-hour roundtrip.
"If we can maintain that solidity in the back, not give up shots, not give up crosses, because I thought we did a fantastic job of that last time," Duffy said. "If we can win the battle in the midfield, win the air balls, and deal with balls in the air, not letting them bounce. Up front if we can cause them problems like we did midweek (against Belmont Abbey) I think that will be important for us."
Kickoff at Trojan Stadium is scheduled for 5 p.m. with the men's soccer team following after at 7:30 p.m.