ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team continues its home stand this weekend as the Phoenix welcomes West Virginia to Rudd Field for a non-conference matchup on Sunday, Sept. 14, with kickoff slated at 7 p.m.
Follow the Phoenix
Fans can follow the Phoenix on Sunday 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. Sunday’s match will also be streamed online for free through Elon’s Phoenix All-Access channel. John Roddey (play-by-play) and Connor Cummings (color) will be on the call for the match. In-game updates will also be provided on Twitter at @elonscores or the program’s handle @elonmenssoccer.
Elon and West Virginia have squared off on the soccer pitch three times prior to Sunday’s meeting. Elon holds a 1-0-2 advantage all-time in a series that dates only back to 2009 with the Phoenix earning a 3-2 victory at the then 18th-ranked Mountaineers in the most recent contest in 2012. Chris Thomas scored twice in that contest, becoming the program’s all-time goal scorer while Matt Wescoe headed home the game-winner in the 89th minute.
Last Time Out
Elon battled Florida International to a scoreless draw on Wednesday, Sept. 10, in the Phoenix’s 2014 home opener at Rudd Field. The shutout was third of the year for the Phoenix and senior goalkeeper Nathan Dean and the 19th career clean sheet for the Liverpool, England, native, moving him in a tie for second-place all-time in school history with Kip Rackley (1984-87).
The Phoenix has outshot its opponents in three of its five matches this season and has an overall shot differential of +13. Of those attempts, 32 are on frame, which is 12 more than the maroon and gold opponents.
Defensively, the Phoenix has been very stout this season and has allowed no goals in regulation in its last four matches while allowing only a 0.80 goals per match. Despite a 33-25 corner deferential, Elon has yet to give up a score on the set piece this season.
Junior Miguel Salazar continues to pace the squad with his two goals and four points on the season, followed by James Brace and Nathan Diehl, who have one goal each. Elon will also look for offensive production from last year’s leading scorer Jason Waterman, who leads the Phoenix in shots with 13, but has yet to cash in on his first goal of the year.
Dean and the Phoenix backline headlined by senior Austin Dunker and junior Nathan Diehl will look to continue its stellar play from its previous four matches. Dean, who has played every minute in between the posts this season, has 16 saves to go with a GAA of 0.76 so far in 2014.
Scouting West Virginia (3-2)
After a 3-0 start to begin the season, the Mountaineers have lost two straight, including a 3-2 setback versus UC Irvine on Thursday, Sept. 11. West Virginia, who competes in the Mid American Conference, is led by head coach Marlon LeBlanc who is in his ninth season at the helm of the program.
Offensively, the Mountaineers are averaging 2.00 goals per game and 13.8 shots per contest with over 37 percent of those shots have being on frame. Senior forward Andy Bevin leads West Virginia with 11 points on his three goals and team-best five assists while fellow striker Jamie Merriam has netted a team-high four goals on the year.
Brent Arnold has seen the most time in goal this season for WVU with 15 saves and a GAA of 1.11. He also has two shutouts this season.
The Phoenix returns on the road for its first true road trip of the season on Sept. 20 at Radford. That match is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start.