CARY, N.C. – Gabe Latigue had his second game-winner of the season in the 75th minute to give the Elon men’s soccer team its second Southern Conference Men’s Soccer Championship in school history as the Phoenix defeated Wofford, 2-1, in the championship match in Cary, N.C., on Saturday night. The win gives the Phoenix both the outright regular season title and tournament crown for the first time in program history.
Latigue was named the tournament’s most outstanding player and was joined by Chris Thomas and Matt Wescoe on the all-tournament team. The Phoenix clinches the SoCon’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship and will host a selection show on Monday, Nov. 12 at the Fat Frogg in Elon. The selections will begin to be streamed live at 5:30 p.m. on ncaa.com and fans are invited to attend.
Wescoe put Elon up 1-0 in the 9th minute after receiving a feed from Jason Waterman out of the right corner. Waterman received a feed from Mark Berlin and then delivered the cross to Wescoe for his sixth score on the season.
Elon had an opportunity potentially go up 2-0 after Jordan Smith drew keeper Andrew Drennan away from the goal in the 30th minute. Smith and Drennan both chased the ball into the right corner after a Wescoe cross, but Smith was able to keep it in play before Drennan could corral it. The Phoenix could not capitalize however after Gabe Latigue’s attempt from 15 yards went wide.
Both teams controlled the ball evenly throughout the opening stanza, but Elon was more of the aggressor with an 11-6 shot advantage. Both teams each had one corner in the first half, but would enter the break at the 1-0 score.
At the start of the second half, Elon nearly went up 2-0 in the 46th minute after Berlin sent a cross into the box from the right side to Waterman. Waterman’s attempt was just cleared by a Terrier defender before the ball crossed the line.
Elon continued to maintain possession of the ball throughout the beginning of the second half, but Wofford would finally get on in the 71st minute on a header by Ellis Vienne. Vienne received the ball on a corner from Ethan Miller and was able to add his first goal of the year.
The Phoenix though would respond with a goal on a free kick by Gabe Latigue in the 75th minute to put Elon ahead, 2-1. Latigue was awarded the kick after a Wofford foul on Smith in the 72nd minute at the top of the box. Latigue’s shot bent the wall from 22 yards and found the back left corner for his fifth score on the year.
Elon keeper Nathan Dean and the Phoenix defense made sure that the score would stay that way prevented the Terriers from any easy shots for the remainder of the contest. The maroon and gold pressured Wofford in the final minutes of the match to take hurried or contested shots at the goal.
Dean played all 90 minutes between the posts and had three saves. The 15 wins is one short for the most in program history, set in 1987.