RADFORD, Va. – After sophomore Rett Webb netted his first career goal to tie the match in the second half, the Elon University men’s soccer team could not find the go-ahead goal and eventually battled Radford to a 1-1 draw on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Cupp Stadium.
In a match that was marred by over 20 fouls for both teams, neither the Phoenix (3-2-2) nor the Highlanders (2-2-2) could get into a crisp rhythm for the match. It was the second draw of the year for both teams and the second in three games for the maroon and gold.
Radford quickly went on the attack against the Phoenix to start the game, with Krzystof Nalborski getting free with a shot on goal in the opening minute, but his attempt went wide. The Highlanders almost headed in another shot off a free kick in the 11th minute by Stephen Hudgens, but Elon keeper Nathan Dean was there to make the stop.
The Highlanders netted the first goal of the match in the 28th minute of action. RU drew a foul on Elon setting up a free kick near the top of the box. Nalborski sent a 25-yard strike past Dean for his first score of the season and to put Elon in a 1-0 deficit.
In the 28th minute, Elon had its best chance to score a goal in the first period with both James Brace and Jason Waterman racing down the middle of the box. Brace tried to send a touch pass to Waterman to his left, but Radford intercepted the errant pass.
Elon’s Cauê Da Silva had a couple of tries in the 37th minute of action to put Elon on the scoreboard. The junior’s first strike deflected off a defender at the top of the box, but Da Silva was able to find the rebound for another attempt that went high.
The Phoenix was able to get a header attempt on its first corner of the match just seconds before the end of the first half, but Nathan Diehl’s shot went high of the goal. The match went into the half with Radford holding a 1-0 lead.
Radford had a slight shot advantage in the opening stanza at 4-3, but three of the Highlander’s attempts were on frame compared to none for the Phoenix. Both teams also had one corner apiece in the first period.
Seven minutes into the second half, Elon got its first real shot on goal as Da Silva sent in a curving shot to the keeper from 10-12 yards from the right of the goal. RU’s keeper Aitor Pouseu Blanco made the stop however.
Elon finally scored the equalizer in the 64th minute. Webb attacked Pouseu Blanco with a strike within the box, but the keeper made the stop. The rebound again found the foot of Webb who then pushed the ball through the net first his first career goal and tied the match at 1-1.
The Highlanders recovered with another shot in the 68th minute, but the Phoenix clearly had the momentum. Elon drew a corner kick in the 75th minute, which resulted into a shot for Miguel Salazar. The attempt went wide, but it was deflected off a defender giving the Phoenix another chance, but Elon was unable to capitalize.
Radford nearly scored the go-ahead goal in the 88th minute as Hudgens had a header attempt, but the ball sailed high and the match went into the first overtime session.
Neither team had much action in the first extra period with any shots on goal. The match would go into another overtime as Elon avoided a couple of scares, but the match would end at the score of 1-1.
Da Silva led the Phoenix with four shots on the match while Dean had a pair of saves while playing all 110 minutes between the posts.
Elon returns on the pitch to play at Coastal Carolina on Friday, Sept. 26. That match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. Start.