JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Three second half goals pushed the Carson-Newman men's soccer team (9-2-1) past the No. 16 Young Harris Mountain Lions (9-2) as the Eagles knocked off their second ranked team foe of the season in a bout between two of the top teams in the Southeast region.
Goals from freshman Thibault Mathorez (Graces, France), junior and reigning South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week Tom Read (London, England) and a Young Harris own goal in a span of 15 minutes gave the Eagles the non-conference victory. Senior goalkeeper Kavi Luchowa (London, England) picked up his third clean sheet of the season and his seventh of his career.
For the first time since 2005, the Eagles have defeated two ranked opponents in the same season as C-N beat then No. 21 Alabama-Huntsville on Sept. 5th.
"I thought the first half was pretty even; they didn't have any clean cut chances. In the back, I thought we looked strong and our midfield was working hard. Our playmakers couldn't get on the ball; they were getting frustrated," coach Richard Moodie said. "The changes in the second half, we knew they were going to get antsy, and we made some tactical adjustments in the front-three and it seemed to pay off. Tom Read went in the game as our number nine and Skoda shifted wide. Great performance from the boys and genuinely, it was just a little bit of belief at halftime."
The two sides played a scoreless first half. The Mountain Lions outshot C-N seven to six and each team had two corner kicks.
During the first 14 minutes of second half play, YHC recorded the only shot attempt as defender Paco Craig sent a header high over the cross bar.
Then, in the 60th-minute, Carson-Newman struck first. Senior Poly Avgousti (Paphos, Cyprus) sent a low cross into the box from the right sideline that bounced past Young Harris goalkeeper Anton Viden who was playing at the near post. The cross bounced to the feet of Mathorez who calmly slotted his shot down the middle of the goal for the eventual game-winner and gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Eight minutes later, senior Nick Skoda (Knoxville, Tenn.) started a Carson-Newman counterattack down the right channel. Skoda sent a cross into the box looking for Read but Viden collided with defender Jonny Denton and the ball sputtered around in the box. After another deflection, Denton knocked the ball into the net for an own goal that put C-N ahead 2-0.
The Eagles capped the scoring six minutes later. Read and Skoda found each other once again on the counter. Read dribbled from the midfield stripe into the offensive-third where he sent a through ball to Skoda. The senior took a shot that bounced over Viden, but was rolling towards the end line when Read touched Skoda's shot home to push the Carson-Newman advantage to 3-0.
"A lot of credit to the boys in the back. People have been saying defensively, we don't look strong and we look weak. You look at the boys today and they weren't going to give up a goal. I thought they were fantastic defensively as a unit, but the back-four and goalkeeper Kavi Luchowa were phenomenal."
C-N outshot Young Harris 13 to 12 and the Eagles held a nine to two advantage in corner kicks. Read led the Eagles with five shots and Mathorez added three. Craig and Lewis Hilton led the Mountain Lions with two shots each.
Luchowa has now recorded two clean sheets in the last three games and both shutouts have come against regionally-ranked foes. Mathorez's goal was his first score since the win over Mars Hill on Sept. 23rd. Read has now added goals in three-straight contests and leads the team with 14 points.
Carson-Newman picked up its first win over Young Harris in the series history; the Mountain Lions had won the previous four contests. It is the second shutout in the series as YHC beat C-N 5-0 in 2011.
Young Harris entered the contest with the 12th-best scoring offense, averaging 2.80 goals per game; before facing the Eagles, the Mountain Lions held a 0.89 goals against average. The last road loss before Wednesday's contest for YHC was a 2-1 loss in double-overtime to Anderson (S.C.); Young Harris had reeled off 15-straight road wins.
No. 7 Wingate is next on the Carson-Newman schedule as the Bulldogs come to McCown Field on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. for a Homecoming contest.