WILMINGTON, N.C. – Jason Waterman’s first game-winner of the year in the 84th minute propelled the Elon University men’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory over No. 21/23 UNC Wilmington on Wednesday night, Oct. 15, at the UNCW Soccer Stadium.
The senior striker scored on a breakaway between a couple of UNCW defenders after a long cross from Rett Webb to give the Phoenix (6-4-3, 2-1-1 Colonial Athletic Association) its first win of the year against a ranked opponent with the Seahawks falling to 9-3-2 and 2-2-1 in the CAA.
Elon tallied the first score of the match in the eighth minute of action. James Brace finished off a Waterman cross for his sixth score of the season to give the maroon and gold a 1-0 lead.
The Phoenix nearly went up 2-0 on a couple of occasions in the opening stanza. Waterman broke free of his man and had a shot on goal in the 20th minute, but UNCW’s keeper made a great save. On the ensuing corner kick, Elon appeared to head in a shot, but a foul was called on the maroon and gold.
The Seahawks finally notched the equalizing goal just minutes before halftime. Mateo Cardona drilled a shot past the Phoenix defense for his second goal of the year from about 15 yards out. Both teams would enter the half tied at 1-1.
Elon controlled possession for the majority of the first half with an 8-6 advantage on shots and a 4-0 edge in corners.
UNCW nearly jumped in front on a breakaway in the 68th minute of action. The Seahawks’ Jack Ward fired a strike in the box towards keeper Nathan Dean, but the senior was able to corral the ball. Nine minutes later, UNCW had another open shot, but the try by Will Clark went high.
The Phoenix took the lead for good as Webb sent a ball down the field towards Waterman in the 84th minute as he was battling with a couple of defenders. The Bloomington, Ind., native was able to maneuver past the players and push the ball in the back left corner of the net for his second goal of the year.
Elon would end the match with 11-10 advantage on shots with both teams having four shots on goal. The Phoenix also blanked the Seahawks in corners, 5-0. Dean had three saves on the night in goal for the maroon and gold while UNCW’s netminder Sam Williams had a pair of saves.
The Phoenix starts a three-match home stand this weekend with a meeting against defending CAA champion Drexel on Saturday, Oct. 18. Kickoff is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Rudd Field.