Greeneville, Tenn. – The fifth-ranked Carson-Newman women's soccer team has the new program record for most games to start a season unbeaten after defeating Tusculum 3-0 at Pioneer Field on Wednesday afternoon.
13-straight games to start a season unbeaten is now a program record, which previously stood at 12 from the 2009 season.
"It feels amazing," Coach Simon Duffy stated. "With all the recognition we have gotten, our main focus is to still win that championship but I'm just thrilled for the girls."
Almost a year ago today exactly, Lauren Wade collected a hat trick against the Pioneers (9-4, 6-2 SAC) on Oct. 19 of 2016.
It would take the senior forward less than four minutes late in the second half to collect her fourth-career hat trick when Inga Adalsteinsdottir found Wade outside of the 18-yard box in the 81st minute. Wade turned and fired after falling to the ground, only looking up to see the ball in the back of the net, putting the game out of reach en route her second-career hat trick against Tusculum.
"I think the team just stuck together towards the end there," Wade mentioned. "Overall I can't thank the girls enough. It wasn't one player, it was a good key performance and a great team one."
In the 62nd minute, it looked as if Carson-Newman (12-0-1, 8-0-1 SAC) would have an opportunity for their third penalty kick of the season when a Sydney Spadafora cross ran right into the hand of a Pioneer defender. The play, however, was not whistled as such by the referee keeping the game at a scoreless tie.
In the 71st minute, Spadafora and Tusculum's Kenzie Ellenburg both received red cards following a hard foul from the freshman Ellenburg. Both teams would play 10-on-10 soccer the rest of the way.
With a loss from a player from each side, the field opened up for Holly Talbut-Smith and Lauren Wade as the junior Talbut-Smith fed the All-American in the middle of the 18-yard box, slotting home her 7th goal of the year and the seventh assist of the season for Talbut-Smith.
Moments later, Wade saw green grass ahead of her after a lead ball from Catarina Realista put her one-on-one with the Tusculum net minder. The native of Coleraine, Northern Ireland drilled home her second goal in as many minutes, extending the lead to two before putting the game away with her third goal one minute later.
"We just exploited it where we could, and with a good striker like her, it's going to come," Duffy said. "She's threatened to score a bunch the last 3-4 games but it hasn't happened, but what three great goals there."
Jackie Burns notched the sixth shutout of the season for the Eagles just needing one save on the afternoon, which didn't come until the final two minutes. C-N outshot the Pioneers 15-8. They have collected more shots than the opponent in every single game this season.
In the first regional rankings of the season released by the NCAA today, Carson-Newman women's soccer currently sits at No. 2 behind Flagler College.
"It just shows the quality of our team, and we just take one game at a time," Wade added. "Our aim is to still go all the way."
The Eagles will get set for their last non-conference match fixture of the regular season on Saturday, Oct. 21 when Simon Duffy visits his old team in the King Tornado. Game time is set for a 3:30 p.m. start.