ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team suffered a 1-0 setback at the hands of NC State on Saturday, Aug. 23, at Rudd Field in the Phoenix’s final exhibition match of the preseason.
Playing in its first home match since its historic NCAA Tournament game versus Clemson last season, the maroon and gold outshot the Wolfpack, 9-4, and dominated in corners, 7-1. NC State however converted the lone goal of the night off an Elon miscue in the 14th minute making the difference in the game.
NC State’s Nick Surkamp took advantage of a misplayed ball by an Elon defender, leaving him on a breakaway one-on-one against Phoenix goalkeeper Nathan Dean. Surkamp pushed the ball to the far right corner of the net to give the Wolfpack an early 1-0 lead.
Elon continued to dominate possession of the ball in the opening period, firing six shots compared to just two for NC State. In the 25th minute, Nathan Diehl’s attempt was blocked by the Wolfpack defense leading to a corner opportunity for the Phoenix. In the ensuing scramble, the ball found the foot of junior Cauê Da Silva, who hit a strike towards the net, but NC State’s keeper, Alex McCauley, was able to get a hand on it for a save.
In the 55th minute, James Brace had a couple of chances to put the Phoenix on the scoreboard, but both times McCauley turned him away. Elon then used a wealth of substitutions for the remainder of the match as the Phoenix showcased 24 players throughout the game.
Elon would hold NC State without a corner kick in the second period and slightly outshot the Wolfpack, 3-2, in the second half. The Phoenix however could not find that evasive equalizer and would fall by the final score of 1-0.
McCauley had three saves on the night for NC State, playing all 90 minutes in goal. Brace led the Phoenix in shots with three and had two of Elon’s three shots on frame.
The Phoenix opens its 2014 regular-season in Durham, N.C., on Aug. 29, versus Stetson at the John Reinne/Nike Classic, hosted by Duke. That match is scheduled for a 5 p.m. kickoff.