Elon Men’s Soccer Defeats Loyola Marymount in John Rennie/Nike Classic Finale

DURHAM, N.C. – Miguel Salazar’s goal late in the first half helped the Elon University men’s soccer team to its first win of the 2014 season in a 1-0 victory over Loyola Marymount on Sunday, Aug. 31, in the finale at the John Rennie/Nike Classic at Koskinen Stadium on the campus of Duke Unversity.

The victory was also the first for Elon first-year head coach Chris Little at Elon after serving as an assistant previously from 2010-2012. The Phoenix (1-1) was able to rebound from a disappointing season-opening setback to Stetson on Friday with its win over the Lions (0-1-1).

Elon had a few early chances to put points on the board at the beginning of the match. In the second minute, Elon drew a corner kick and nearly had a header goal by rookie Jonathan Coleby, but LMU’s keeper stopped the try. Just minutes later, Elon had another corner chance, but Elon was called for a foul on the play.

The Phoenix continued to keep the Lions in front of them throughout the opening stanza, limiting them to no shots in the first 35 minutes of action. Elon nearly had its first goal of the match again in the 11th minute as James Brace nearly maneuvered a shot past LMU’s keeper, Vince Paldino, but the junior netminder was there again for the stop.

The first point of the match was put on the scoreboard in the 35th minute as Salazar netted his second goal in as many games. The junior from Guanajuato, Mexico, gave the Phoenix a 1-0 lead on his second career goal.

Going into the half, the Phoenix led in nearly every statistical category. Elon outshot the Lions 7-2 in the opening period and had slight 3-1 advantage in corners. Five of Elon’s attempts were on goal compared to just one for Loyola Marymount.

The Lions became more aggressive in the second period in their attempt to find the equalizer. In the 63rd minute, LMU’s Griffin Bell nearly placed the ball in the back of the net off a header pass, but Elon keeper Nathan Dean was there quickly for the save.

Loyola Marymount fired a flurry of shots towards the net between the 71st and 74th minutes of action. Only the final attempt by LMU’s Mark Dotseth was on goal, but Dean was able to corral the ball once more.

The maroon and gold would hold on for the 1-0 shutout victory over the Lions, a 2013 NCAA Tournament team. Dean played all 90 minutes in goal and had five save during the match for his 17th career clean sheet.

Elon returns to its second early-season tournament of the year next weekend, at the UNCW Courtyard Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach Classic. The Phoenix will face Winthrop to open the tournament on Sept. 5, and finish with Ohio State on Sept. 7.