JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman begins its final road trip of the regular season on Saturday night with a South Atlantic Conference meeting against Wingate from Pride Park at the Wingate Soccer Complex.
It has been 12 years since Carson-Newman (7-3-2, 3-2-2 SAC) last saw a win at Wingate, going 0-4-1 since then.
In road matches this season, the Eagles have gone 3-1 with their last two being conference victories over Queens last Saturday and Lincoln Memorial on Sept. 19. They have outscored opponents 9-4 in away games this year.
"It's another big conference game on the road against a quality opposition," coach Stephen Lyons said. "We've just got to be ready to execute our game plan like we've done a lot of times this season with the confidence and belief that we've got the quality and depth to do well the rest of the season. We have to take the chances when they come, that's the biggest thing for us.
"To get to where we want to be, we need depth and quality off the bench where the level doesn't drop. That's been a really pleasing factor for this group."
Saturday will be the 34th meeting with Wingate (6-5-1, 4-4 SAC) in a series that dates back to 1989. Carson-Newman trails 12-16-5 with a 3-6-3 record in games played at Wingate. The Eagles have only recorded two wins in the series this decade, both of those on the banks of Mossy Creek.
Wingate is looking to bounce back after a 4-0 loss to Queens on Wednesday night. It was their third-straight road loss and second shutout loss on the year.
Home matches have been favorable for the Bulldogs this season with their worst result being a 0-0 draw with Chowan on Sept. 5. They have gone 4-0-1 in matches played at Pride Park this year, 3-0 against SAC opposition. Their last home loss was on Oct. 21, 2017 when they fell to Lenoir-Rhyne, 1-0.
"You expect a lot of teams to have home-field advantage and Wingate is certainly no different," Lyons said. "I think the big focus for us, as always, is to control what we can control, sticking to our game plan, bringing the energy and attitude while having a bit more of that ruthlessness to get a positive result."
The reigning SAC regular season and tournament champions are currently fifth in the conference with 12 points, just one point better than C-N. The Bulldogs were selected to win the league for a fourth-straight season in this year's preseason coaches' poll. Their 2017 campaign came to a close in the Southeast Regional semifinal at the hands of Lander in a penalty kick shootout, 5-4.
Wingate currently sits in the top-five of seven statistical categories this season. It is tied for the third-most shutouts and leads the yellow card tally with 31.
Reigning SAC Coach of the Year Gary Hamill, in his 27th year at the helm of the men's soccer program, welcomed back three All-SAC selections this year in Elliot Cutts, Mattia Ditommaso and Pablo Jara.
Cutts, a junior forward, led Wingate in goals and points with 12 and 27, respectively, last year and was third in the league for goals and fourth for points. The All-SAC selection is currently second for goals at four and is tied for the most points on the team with 10.
Jara has started in all 12 of his team's matches this season in front of the net. The senior goalkeeper holds a 5-5-1 record with 41 saves on the year and 19 goals against for a save clip of .683. He has notched the third-most shutouts with season with four, three of those coming against conference opponents. He is a three-time All-American, the first in program history, along with being a three-time All-SAC selection and All-Region goalkeeper. He needs just three more shutouts to lead the SAC in career shutouts, currently at 33.
Another key returner for Wingate is senior Nate Evans, who currently shares the points lead with Cutts at 10. Aside from that, the forward leads the team with five goals and 10 shots on goal. He has also netted two game-winners on the season.
Last season's meeting saw Wingate hand C-N its first SAC and first home loss of the season in dominating 7-1 fashion on Senior Night. The Bulldogs were up 3-0 by the 27th minute and held that lead into the break. With Wingate up 7-0 with 10 minutes left, Carson-Newman was only able to muster one goal as Tom Read found the back of the net in the 86th minute on a header from a Jonny Le Quesne free kick. It was the first time C-N conceded seven goals since a 7-0 shutout loss to Presbyterian in 2002.
Saturday's match will begin at 7:30 p.m. from the Wingate Soccer Complex in Wingate, N.C. A live broadcast and live stats will be provided by the folks at Wingate while live tweets of the contest can be found on Twitter from @CNathletics.