ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team travels to Wilmington, N.C., this weekend to play in its second early-season tournament of the year at the UNCW Courtyard Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach Classic. The Phoenix opens the tournament versus Winthrop on Friday, Sept. 5, at 5 p.m. then concludes versus Ohio State on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 1 p.m. at the UNCW Soccer Stadium.
Follow the Phoenix
Fans can follow the Phoenix this weekend and throughout the season with live updates on elonphoenix.com. Live stats for every men’s soccer match will be available on the team’s schedule and home pages on the Elon athletic website as well as an opportunity to sign up text alerts. In-game updates will also be provided on Twitter at @elonscores or the program’s handle @elonmenssoccer.
In a matchup of former Big South conference foes, Elon and Winthrop will face each other for the 12th time on the soccer pitch on Friday. The Eagles hold a 6-4-1 lead all-time over the Phoenix in a series that dates back to 1991. Elon however won the most recent meeting between the two programs with a 4-0 victory in 2009.
Elon and Ohio State will be meeting for the first time on Sunday. The Phoenix boasts 1-0 record versus current members of the Big Ten Conference with its 2-1 victory over Rutgers last season at the John Rennie/Nike Classic at Duke.
About Elon (1-1)
Elon opened the 2014 campaign last weekend at the John Rennie/Nike Classic on the campus of Duke, splitting both of its matches. The Phoenix suffered a 3-2 setback at the hands of Stetson in its opener, but rebounded to shut out Loyola Marymount, 1-0, in its finale.
The Phoenix’s Miguel Salazar scored his first two career goals this past weekend, including the lone goal and game-winner versus Loyola Marymount. The junior from Guanajuato, Mexico, was selected to the John Rennie/Nike Classic All-Tournament team along with fellow junior James Brace. Salazar was also tabbed the Colonial Athletic Conference Player of the Week by College Sports Madness on Tuesday.
Senior goalkeeper Nathan Dean earned his 17th career clean sheet on Sunday against the Lions and is now two shy of tying Kip Rackley (1984-87) for second place all-time in school history in career shutouts. Current Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin (2007-10) sits atop the school-record list for career shutouts with 22.
Sunday’s win was also the first for Elon first-year head coach Chris Little at the school. Little, who has a career head coaching record of 32-21-5, was previously an assistant for the Phoenix from 2010-2012.
This weekend’s visit to UNC Wilmington will be the first of two visits to the school this season for the Phoenix. Elon will face the Seahawks on Oct. 15, in a conference match as the maroon and gold competes in its first season in the CAA.
Scouting Winthrop (2-0)
The Eagles, who were voted to finish second in the 2014 Big South Preseason poll along with High Point, opened up the season with a pair of wins at the Big South/Southern Conference Challenge last weekend. Winthrop defeated Wofford 1-0 on Friday before finishing the tournament with a 3-1 victory over Georgia Southern.
Four Eagle players made the Big South/SoCon Challenge All-Tournament team with junior defender Jordi Lluch taking home Most Valuable Player honors. Winthrop is led by head coach Rich Posipanko, who is in his 26th year at the helm of the Eagles’ program.
Scouting Ohio State (0-0-2)
The Buckeyes opened the year with a pair of draws at its home tournament, the Bert and Iris Wolstein Classic, last weekend. OSU battled UC Davis to a scoreless draw in its season-opener before closing out the tournament against Butler with a 2-2 tie.
In his 17th season as the head coach of the Ohio State men’s soccer program, John Bluem returns nine starters from a team that went 5-8-4 in 2013. The Buckeyes were predicated to finish ninth in the 2014 Big Ten preseason poll.
Senior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov is among the notable returning starters for the Buckeyes after earning second team All-Big Ten accolades last season. The Strongville, Ohio, native had three saves versus UC Davis and is a Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Candidate this year.
The Phoenix will host its first home match of the 2014 regular season on Wednesday, Sept. 10, with a date versus Florida International. That game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Rudd Field.