ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team and its first-year head coach Marc Reeves unveiled the program’s upcoming 2017 schedule on Friday, July 7. The Phoenix’s 17-game slate is highlighted by showdowns versus four teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last season including a home match versus College Cup and national runner-up Wake Forest.
“We are obviously excited for the season to arrive and this is a fantastic schedule for our group,” said Reeves. “It starts off with some great non-conference games that will truly challenge our team to prepare for each and every opportunity and always be ready to compete.”
Exhibitions and Non-Conference
The Phoenix opens the fall with three exhibition friendlies at Campbell (Aug. 15), versus UNCG (Aug. 18) and Winthrop (Aug. 20) before starting the 2017 regular season at the John Rennie/Nike Invitational for the fifth consecutive year at Duke University. Elon begins the tournament versus 2016 NCAA Tournament participant Fordham on Friday, Aug. 25, at 5 p.m. The Phoenix closes out its weekend with a matchup against Central Florida on Sunday, Aug. 27, at noon.
“Preseason contests allow us to develop and learn as a group,” said Reeves. “We will be constantly evaluating and working to improve and be ready for the demands of the college season. We are thankful to Duke for continuing to have us in their tournament as we play two quality opponents who have great coaches. This will be an exciting start to the season.”
Elon then hosts its home opener versus Presbyterian on Sept. 2, the first of a brief two-match homestand for the maroon and gold at Rudd Field. The Phoenix follows with a visit from fellow Triad rival High Point on Sept. 8, before traveling to in-state foe Charlotte, another 2016 NCAA Tournament team, on Sept. 12.
“Rudd Field is an excellent home facility and we are thankful to our hard working staff that make it an incredible playing surface,” said Reeves. “The program has seen some great success and tremendous support on this field in the past. Our group will be determined to continue the tradition by preparing to consistently perform at a high level. We are hopeful we can get some great crowds and create an energized atmosphere for our team to be successful.”
Elon welcomes the first of its three Atlantic Coast Conference opponents on its schedule, NC State, to Rudd Field on Sept. 19. The Phoenix make a return trip to Duke to take on the Blue Devils on Oct. 3, before matching up against Wake Forest in Elon on Oct. 17. The maroon and gold has won the last four matches against the Demon Deacons, with Wake Forest being ranked in each outing. Both programs last met in 2015 with the Phoenix earning a 1-0 road victory over the then seventh-ranked Demon Deacons.
The Phoenix concludes its nonconference slate at former conference foe Davidson on Oct. 24. It will be Elon’s first visit to Davidson since 2013 when the pair were still members of the Southern Conference.
Elon prepares for its fourth season as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association after coming off a 3-2-3 league ledger a season ago. The CAA will be another tough slate of exciting and challenging contests for the Phoenix, who has finished among the top-four in the league since joining the conference in 2014.
“We know how strong the CAA is and contains many excellent coaches who I have huge respect for,” said Reeves. “Our group will prepare correctly to maximize our chances of earning three points in as many games as we can.”
League play officially begins for the Phoenix on Sept. 16, at defending regular-season champion Hofstra. Elon’s then hosts its CAA home-opener versus James Madison on Sept. 23, before heading back on the road to UNCW on Sept. 27. The Phoenix closes out the month with a home contest against College of Charleston on Sept. 30.
The Phoenix hits the road for a matchup at William & Mary on Oct. 11. Both teams split their meetings last season with the Tribe eliminating Elon from the CAA Tournament. Back-to-back league home matches await the Phoenix starting with a contest versus Northeastern on Oct. 14. A week later, Elon hosts Drexel at Rudd Field on Oct. 21, in its final home match of the regular season.
The regular-season finale will send the Phoenix to Newark, Del., for a showdown versus defending CAA Tournament champion and NCAA Tournament participant Delaware on Oct. 28. Elon last visited Delaware in 2015, where the Phoenix came away with a 1-0 clean sheet victory.
The 2017 CAA Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament begins on Nov. 4, with the quarterfinal round at campus sites. The semifinals and finals are scheduled for Nov. 10, and Nov. 14, respectively, at the site of the league’s regular-season champion.