ELON, N.C. – Three first-half goals from the High Point Panthers proved to be too much for the Elon University men’s soccer team to overcome on Saturday night, August 25, in front of a packed house at Rhodes Stadium, as the Phoenix dropped a 4-2 decision.
The crowd of 3,862, which featured nearly all of Elon’s freshman class, is the largest in program history. It tops last year’s record of 3,119 when the Phoenix hosted the Panthers on August 27.
“Congratulations to High Point on the win in a hard-fought game tonight,” said Elon head coach Darren Powell. “It certainly wasn’t the way we wanted to begin our season. There were several problems that our team was presented with tonight and we’re going to get back on the practice field and correct them before our next game.
We had an outstanding crowd that was into the game for all 90 minutes. Our team is very thankful to all the students and people in the community that came out and supported us this evening.”
Elon (0-1) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when preseason All-Southern Conference selection Chris Thomas headed in a great pass from Charles Howard in the 18th minute for his first score of the season.
High Point (1-0) answered, netting back-to-back goals in the 25th and 26th minute to take a 2-1 lead. Adam Storm and Adam Sewell provided the goals for HPU.
The Panthers took a 3-1 lead late in the first period when Leon Carby found Ben Burdon open deep in the center of the box near the net for the score in the 34th minute.
Elon trailed HPU 6-4 in shots in the opening stanza, while each squad registered three corners apiece.
But the maroon and gold made it a one-goal game shortly after intermission when Thomas hit Daniel Lovitz with a glancing header pass near the right post, giving Lovitz an open look at the net for the score in the 54th minute.
Elon nearly tied it in the 63rd minute, but a strike by Thomas sailed just left of the goal.
High Point answered again to reclaim a two-goal edge, as Carby notched his first goal of the season on a pass from Ryan Bennett in the 66th minute to make it a 4-2 game.
The Phoenix ended the match with a 13-10 advantage in shots, eight of which were on goal, while also claiming a 6-5 edge in corners.
Nathan Dean played all 90 minutes between the posts, tallying three saves.
Elon is back in action on Saturday, Sept. 1, when it hosts Campbell at 7 p.m. at Rudd Field.