SAC CHAMPS! C-N draws at Tusculum for share of title


VIDEO: Highlights

VIDEO: Stephen Lyons Interview

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – With a second draw in as many matches, Carson-Newman secured a share of the South Atlantic Conference regular-season title for the first time since 2015 in Wednesday night's 1-1 decision against Tusculum at Pioneer Field.

Carson-Newman (10-3-3, 6-1-3 SAC) came into the match needing at least a draw to ensure some form of the title. With Queens taking down Anderson, the Eagles and Royals both moved to 21 points in the league standings. In program history, C-N now has 10 regular season titles to its name.

"It's massive; obviously, we would have loved to get the win," Carson-Newman coach Stephen Lyons said. "To share the SAC Conference regular season, we know it's one of the toughest conferences around. I think throughout the year the guys have thoroughly deserved it. We talked to them about what legacy they want to leave within the program that has been historically fantastic. Tonight, they did a little part of that and Saturday we hope to go and build on it."

Within the series with Tusculum (6-6-3, 5-3-2 SAC), the Eagles also saw a two-match losing skid come to an end but they did extend their winless streak against the Pioneers to four-straight. Their last outing at Pioneer Field started the streak on Oct. 18, 2017 with a 2-2 draw.

Carson-Newman led in just about all facets of statistical categories on the night, including a season-high 14 corner kicks to just six from the Pioneers. It narrowly outshot Tusculum 11-10 with just four shots landing on frame compared to seven from TU.

Both defenses withheld attacking opportunities in the first half with just a total of five shots being attempted. Tusculum held the advantage with three in the period. Heading into the break, Carson-Newman was facing its fourth scoreless tie through the first 45 minutes this season.

"I thought we were maybe just a little bit off in the first half," Lyons said. "I thought our best spell came after they scored. We reacted extremely well. I really felt going into both overtimes that we'd go on and edge it, but that wasn't to be the case. The guys can take a lot from it."

The scoreless deadlock was broken in the 56th minute when Henrique Devens picked up a far cross from Sokho De Souza near the left post. Devens then sent a look past C-N's netminder Bram Kaarsgaren (Den Bosch, The Netherlands) to the back right corner of the net from nearly 15 yards out to put Tusculum up 1-0.

The Eagles had chances to answer within a 10-minute span following the goal, both opportunities coming in the form of headers from Tobias Solem Karlsen (Kongsvinger, Norway) deep in the 18-yard box. Both of those chances landed in the hands of Tusculum's Sam Gilbert.

Tusculum's lead stood until the 83rd minute when a yellow card shown to TU's Arthur Le Gall. The booking set C-N up for a free kick from 25 yards out that Thaylan Silva (São Paulo, Brazil) sent skipping past a falling Gilbert to tie the match at one apiece.

The goal marked the fifth of the season for the junior and his third-straight off of a set-piece.

From there, C-N saw a trio of corner kicks that brought nothing else in regulation, sending the match into overtime. Both overtime periods saw the teams combine for three shots total, C-N holding the advantage at 2-1.

Solem Karlsen led the Eagles with three shots on the night with his two headers being his lone looks on goal. Both Sofian Maghouz (London, England) and Will Sainsbury-Logan (Norwich, England) tacked on a pair of shots, as well.

Devens was the leader among the Tusculum clubhouse with three of his four attempts landing on goal. Nikola Vujicic and Edgar Cervantes were the only other Pioneers to deliver multiple shots in the match, both having their two shots also land on frame.

Kaarsgaren was called upon to make six saves in the C-N net throughout the match with his busiest period coming in the second half when he grabbed four. On the other end of the pitch, Gilbert needed three saves, none of which came during the entirety of overtime.

Carson-Newman now sets its sights on the SAC Tournament where it will be the top-seed in the field since it held the tie-breaker over Queens with a 2-1 victory back on Oct. 5. It will host eighth-seeded Coker on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Eagle Sports Network will bring you a full broadcast of the quarterfinal match-up from McCown Field at with updates hitting Twitter throughout the contest from @CNathletics.

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