HARTSVILLE, S.C. – A trio of goals scored, a mark reached for the fourth time this season, lifted the Carson-Newman Eagles past the Coker Cobras on the road Saturday at Coker Athletic Field by a final of 3-1.
"Happy with the result today, especially now that we are back in conference play," head coach Simon Duffy said postgame.
Saturday's matinee kick began rather slowly for the Eagles (7-4, 5-1 South Atlantic Conference) until the 15th minute, when junior defense Lira Mathes (Knoxville, Tenn.) was able to head a goal into the left-hand side of the net off a corner kick from freshman midfielder Addie Henry (Chattanooga, Tenn.). The score was reminiscent of her first score on the year – a header in the 84th minute to upset then-ranked No. 6 Lincoln Memorial on Sept. 18.
It would be another eight minutes of passing before the next shot was registered for either side, but in the 24th minute, junior forward Emilee Futrell (Wilson, N.C.) found her fourth goal of the season off of a through ball by Henry that was deposited past Cobras (1-9, 0-5 SAC) goalie Sarah Swaim on the lower left-hand side. Futrell, who holds the team lead in goals, also scored a goal in last year's contest against Coker – a 7-0 thwarting at Mossy Creek.
With the keys to the car and in the driver seat against a struggling Coker side, C-N took the pitch in the second half with a new woman in between the woodwork for the first time this season. Freshman Shannon Hellina (Hertfordshire, England) took the pitch for the second 45-minute period, recording three saves on four shots. Coker's lone goal on the day came in the 56th minute from sophomore midfielder Skyler Jorgensen off of a crossed-in pass from freshman forward Chloe Grein.
Not out of the woods yet, C-N would respond less than three minutes later when junior defense Kristina Markfort found the back of the net on a give-and-go pass from Futrell near 10 yards out. In the past three games, Markfort, who is known for her crafty dribbling abilities to go alongside a six-foot-one frame, has scored over three of her career five goals in the past two matches. After a two-goal performance against Queens on Oct. 5 and a goal today, Markfort becomes the first player to reach 10 points in 2019 for C-N.
Coker's five shots in the contest is the second-lowest mark allowed on the season for C-N – the lowest coming against Newberry on Sept. 21. Coker registered zero shots in the first half, a feat that hadn't been accomplished by C-N's defense since, ironically, last year's 7-0 victory against the Cobras.
All 21 players that traveled with the team this weekend received playing time in Saturday's match. While Duffy typically uses a rotation of familiar role players, fresh faces, such as freshman midfielder Chiara Michieletto (Como, Italy) and a pair of sophomore defense in Sydney Bailey (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Lainee Griffin (Knoxville, Tenn.) received the starting nod against the Cobras. It was the first career start for all three players.
With the victory, C-N keeps pace with Wingate and Lenoir-Rhyne near the top of the table in third place. The Eagles hold a 1.5 game lead over Catawba in fourth place, respectively.
Coach Duffy was proud of his squad as a unit on the afternoon, as C-N moves to 2-2 on the road in 2019.
"Need to recover now and turn our attention to another away game at Mars Hill, it'll be another tricky foe," he said. "Hope to continue on winning in conference and hope to get a W and remain in the upper half of the league."
Home safe from a 10-hour roundtrip that began Friday morning, C-N will rest up before hitting the road once more against Mars Hill. Wednesday's kick from Mars Hill, N.C. is set for 5 p.m.