JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – After facing its first defeat of the season, Carson-Newman looks to get back on track in its first home game of the season on Saturday at McCown Field.
The Eagles dropped their second game of 2017 on Wednesday night at Lees-McRae in a 2-1 decision. Sophomore Joe Taylor had the lone goal of the game, scoring on one of the two penalty kicks the team took. His goal in the 41st minute tied the game at one apiece and gave him his first career goal at C-N.
"I think first half, we didn't quite implement our game style against Lees-McRae," head coach Stephen Lyons said. "We went a little bit more direct than we normally do, but, again, we still created some great chances."
The Eagles held the Bobcats to just 15 shots on the game, shooting 32 of their own. They loss moved them to 1-1 on the season and 34-16-14 against Conference Carolinas teams since 1989.
Now the Eagles look ahead to their home-opener against Clayton State from the Peach Belt Conference, a team they have faced just one time prior in a loss back in 1998.
The Lakers finished 2016 with a 4-13-0 record while going 2-7-0 in PBC play, placing them at 9th place in the conference standings at the end of the season.
Since 2007, the Lakers hold a 21-3-1 record against South Atlantic Conference teams, going 6-1 in road games against the SAC.
Clayton State returns just two of its goalscorers from last season in seniors Ryan King and Kevin Otokore. King ended last season being named to the Peach Belt Conference Second-Team. The midfielder started in 16 of 17 games last season, scoring a team-leading 12 goals and three assists for 27 points. 14 of his points were scored in the finals three weeks of the season with a pair of goals over USC Aiken, three goals and an assist in a victory at North Georgia and a goal and assist in a loss to Flagler.
"I think the first thing we have to do is focus on ourselves and how we play and have just a bit more confidence in our ability to play the style we want, have the confidence in getting the ball on the back, and our ability through the midfield because that's really going to be our strength going forward," Lyons said. "We focus on ourselves, but we also respect our opponent because we know it's going to be another tough game."
Lead by head coach Pete Peterson, who's entering his 14th season with Clayton State, the Lakers 2017 campaign started with a 2-1 loss at Queens (N.C,) on August 31 before picking up the first win of the season at Emmanuel (G.A.) with another 2-1 score. They moved to 2-1 on the season with a 3-0 against Montevallo on Thursday evening.