Elon Men’s Soccer Opens 2014 at John Reinne/Nike Classic

ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team kicks off the 2014 regular season this weekend as the Phoenix travels to Durham, N.C., for the John Reinne/Nike Classic beginning on Friday, Aug. 29 with a date versus Stetson at 5 p.m. Elon then concludes the tournament with a match versus Loyola Marymount on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 12 p.m. at Koskinen Stadium.

Follow the Phoenix
Fans can follow the Phoenix this weekend and throughout the season with live updates on elonphoenix.com. Live stats for every men’s soccer match will be available on the team’s schedule and home pages on the Elon athletic website as well as an opportunity to sign up text alerts. Duke will also stream live video of both matches via a paid subscription. In-game updates will also be provided on Twitter at @elonscores or the program’s handle @elonmenssoccer.

Series Histories
Friday’s matchup versus Stetson will be the fifth overall all-time between the two programs and the first since 2006. Both teams are knotted at 2-2 in a series that dates back to 1997 with Elon prevailing with a 4-3 victory in the last meeting. Then-freshman and current Chicago Fire defender Steven Kinney scored his first career goal in that contest for the Phoenix.

Elon and Loyola Marymount will be meeting for the first time ever on the soccer pitch on Sunday.

About Elon
The maroon and gold returns 20 players and six starters from a squad that went 15-5-3 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history last season. Elon also finished the year nationally ranked for the first time in the final NSCAA/Continental Tire poll at No. 22.

Elon head coach Chris Little begins his first season at the helm of the program. Previously, Little had served as an assistant coach from 2010-12, helping the Phoenix to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. In 2012, Little was selected as the NSCAA Assistant Coach of the Year for the South Region and was a candidate for the Glenn “Mooch” Myernick National Assistant Coach of the Year Award.

Headlining the group of returners for the Phoenix are leading scorers Jason Waterman and James Brace. The duo combined for 22 goals and 11 assists last season and was the first Elon pair to score double-digit goals in the same season since 2002.

On the defensive side, seniors Nathan Dean and Austin Dunker along with juniors Samuel McBride and Nathan Diehl anchors a backline that posted six clean sheets as a unit last season.

Scouting Stetson
The Hatters, who compete in the Atlantic Sun Conference, will look to rebound from a 3-10-4 campaign of a year ago. Ernie Yarborough is in his first season as the head coach of the Stetson men’s soccer program and welcomes 12 letterwinners back from 2013.

Among the notable returners for the Hatters includes senior defender JJ Bostic. Bostic was a preaseason all-conference selection after scoring two goals and dishing out an assist in 2013, receiving second team All-Atlantic Sun honors.

Scouting Loyola Marymount
The Lions of Loyola Marymount are coming off a 13-4-3 campaign, which included a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Paul Krumpe enters his 17th year at the helm of the Loyola Marymount program.

The defending West Coast Conference champions were tabbed as the favorite to repeat in the league’s preseason poll and have five returning All-WCC players. Junior goalkeeper Paul Blanchette earned the WCC’s Goalkeeper of the Year Award last season while senior defender Craig Nitti was added to the 2014 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List.

Up Next
After the John Reinnie/Nike Classic, Elon will travel to its second early-season tournament of 2014 in Wilmington, N.C., for the UNCW Courtyard Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach Classic on Sept. 5-7. The Phoenix will face Winthrop and Ohio State in the field.