CARY, N.C. – The Elon men’s soccer team will look to repeat as Southern Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament champions as the top-seeded Phoenix (14-4-2) play seventh-seeded Wofford (10-8-2) in the title match on Saturday, Nov. 10, for the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The match is slated to begin at 7 p.m. at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The match will also be televised by ESPN3.
This will be the 22nd meeting all-time between the two schools in a series that dates back to 1990. The Phoenix holds a slight 11-10 record over the Terriers, but Wofford won the most recent meeting, a 4-3 overtime win in Elon on Oct. 9. Elon’s Darren Powell has a 5-3 record all-time against the Terriers as the Phoenix’s head coach.
The two programs also squared off for the 2009 SoCon championship with Wofford winning 2-1 to earn its first league tournament title.
The 23rd-ranked Phoenix advanced to the championship match for the second consecutive season after defeating fourth-seeded Georgia Southern, 1-0, on Thursday night. Chris Thomas had the lone goal of the game as the senior forward added his 23rd strike on the season. The win extended Elon’s unbeaten streak to six games, tying its longest of the season.
Thomas reached the 50-point plateau this season with that goal and leads the nation in total points (51) and goals. It was also the Snellville, Ga., native’s ninth game-winner of the 2012 campaign. Thomas was honored as the league’s Player of the Year for the second time on Tuesday, Nov. 6, and earned All-SoCon first team accolades.
Matt Wescoe is second on the squad with five goals and has dished out a team-high seven assists on the year. The junior midfielder had two goals in the regular-season match against the Terriers, establishing a personal-best. Wescoe also earned All-SoCon honors, being placed on the second team.
Gabe Latigue earned second-team All-SoCon recognition after scoring four goals and handing out six assists on the year. The senior from Apex, N.C., had a goal in the Phoenix’s opening round game against Davidson and earned All-SoCon Tournament team honors last season after scoring a goal in the 2011 title match.
Nathan Dean has played every minute between the posts for the Phoenix and has posted a GAA of 1.29 and corralled 76 saves. The Liverpool, England, native had his seventh shutout of the season against the Eagles on Thursday and sits alone in third place for the most in a single-season.
Powell was named the league’s top coach for the third time in his eight years at Elon. The 14 wins are the most ever by the squad since entering Division I play in 1999 and is tied for the second most in school history. Powell has compiled a overall record of 78-62-20 at Elon.
Scouting the Terriers
Seventh-seeded Wofford defeated sixth-seeded Appalachian State, 4-2, on penalty kicks Thursday to clinch a spot in the championship match. Keeper Andrew Drennan had two saves in the shootout to help send Wofford to the title match. Alex Hutchins had the Terriers’ lone goal during regulation and the two extra periods.
Hutchins has 13 goals on the season to lead the Terriers’ offensive attack. Carlos Dominguez Gonzalez, who scored a hat trick against Elon earlier this season, is second on the squad with five scores and had a team-best five assists.
Drennan has played all but eight minutes between the posts this season and has notched 61 saves on the season with a GAA of 1.19. He had six on Thursday in the match versus the Mountaineers.
Ralph Polson is in his fifth campaign as the head coach for the Terriers and has an overall mark of 36-48-9 at Wofford.