VIDEO: Simon Duffy Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Using an offensive spurt that began in the closing seconds of the first half, Carson-Newman claimed a 3-1 conference victory over the Queens Royals Saturday night at McCown Field.
After losing Wednesday to Lenoir-Rhyne, the Eagles (6-3, 4-1 South Atlantic Conference) chose not to look in the rear-view mirror but ahead at the challenge that the Royals presented. All three times that the Eagles have lost this season, the game immediately following has resulted in a bounce-back victory.
"It shows a lot of resilience, a lot of character," head coach Simon Duffy said postgame. "We didn't have any ill feelings (after the loss), we just needed to be better ourselves. The quality needed to be better."
Duffy pregame wishes to have higher quality chances on target came to fruition. Of the team's season-high 30 shots, 12 fell on goal, ranking as the second-highest total all season.
The scoring began at the blink of an eye. With only five seconds remaining on the clock in the first half, junior defense Kristina Markfort (Munster, Germany) opened the scoring with a booming rainbow shot to the center of the net from approximately 35 yards out over Queens goalie Erica Turner. The score was the first on the season for the German defender.
"That's just exceptional, not just the timing of it, but to be able to do that and see the keeper try to back up and be able to pull that off (the execution), that's just a top-class goal," Duffy said. "Just exceptional, she has the ability to do that for us and you saw that when she took the second goal as well. Just her creativity on the ball and what she's able to do is just stunning sometimes, she's quality."
But the Royals (6-4-1, 2-3 South Atlantic Conference) would respond in a hurry. Quickly out of the 15-minute intermission in the 49th minute, Queens forward and leading goal scorer Lulu Phan found her way onto the scoresheet with a numbers advantage offensively that led to a ball that was crossed into the six-yard box and knocked home by Phan past goalie Jasmine Rizk (Andersonville, Tenn.).
Trading blows with the score tied, the Eagles responded themselves in swift fashion. C-N's first shot with the score tied in the 52nd minute was another goal knocked home by Markfort off the assist from a free kick crossed into the six-yard box by German teammate Jente Kuper (Ottersberg, Germany).
With the lead regained, C-N used a flurry of offensive chances to keep the Royals behind. The team registered 20 shots (10 on goal) in the second period – the most in a half for the C-N all season. Junior Emilee Futrell's goal in the 89th minute – a high arching ball over the goalie from approximately 20 yards out – would put a final stamp of approval on the night.
Assisting on Futrell's goal was sophomore Lainee Griffin (Knoxville, Tenn.), marking her first career point as an Eagle.
A lightning delay at Mossy Creek pushed the contest's start time back over an hour from an original 5 p.m. kick to approximately 6:15 p.m. It is the second time this season where weather has played a factor in delaying a women's soccer contest.
With a majority of the home dates on the season completed, C-N will now begin a five-game away streak that will run until Nov. 2. The Eagles will be back in action Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. at North Greenville.