ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team played Florida International to a scoreless draw on Wednesday, Sept. 10, in the Phoenix’s first home match of the season at Rudd Field.
The Phoenix (2-2-1) and senior goalkeeper Nathan Dean recorded their third shutout of the year in its draw against the Panthers (1-2-1). It was the Liverpool, England, native’s 19th career clean sheet, putting him in a tie for second all-time in school history with Kip Rackley (1984-87) in career shutouts.
Both teams were also plagued by fouls and cautions throughout the match with 41 total fouls and seven yellow cards given out during the game. Elon would also find itself playing in its second consecutive overtime match after going into extra time versus Ohio State last Sunday.
Elon had a couple of early attempts at potential scores within the first 10 minutes. During the fourth minute, Eduardo Alvarez sent a liner towards the keeper, but FIU’s defense was able to block the shot. Couple of minutes later, James Brace tried to sneak in a shot to the net, but again the Panthers’ defense was able to turn him away.
Jason Waterman had Elon’s first shot on goal in the 19th minute, but FIU’s goalkeeper David Griffin was able to corral the ball. A follow try by Austin Dunker went high to give the ball back to the Panthers.
Dean was also up to the task of making some stops of his own during the match. In the 39th minute, FIU attempted its lone shot of the first period as Roberto Alterio nearly snuck one past the Phoenix defense, but Dean was able to make the grab.
Elon had a 5-1 advantage in shots in the opening stanza, but had only one shot on goal, the same for FIU. The Phoenix was blanked in corners in the first half while FIU had two.
At the beginning of the second half, Elon showed some spark offensively on the play of junior Cauê Da Silva. In the 48th minute, Da Silva received the ball from Chad Craig on a breakaway, but mistimed his kick that made it an easy save for Griffin. Two minutes later, Da Silva threaten again as he was able to beat his man to the box on the left side, but his try went wide.
FIU turned up the offensive pressure on the Phoenix backline of Dean, Nathan Diehl, Dunker and Myles Mansfield in the second half. The Panthers tied Elon with five shots in the second session, but the Phoenix held up as the match went into extra time.
Despite the back four’s great play, FIU nearly headed in the golden goal in the 90th minute after the start of overtime. The Panthers were awarded a corner kick and off the set piece, Marvin Hezel’s header just hit the post before Dean recovered to corral the ball.
Neither team would get any closer to a goal after that point as the match ended 0-0. For the match, the Panthers barley outshot the Phoenix, 11-10, and had four corners kicks to zero for the maroon and gold.
Dean played every minute in goal and had three saves on the match. His counterpart Griffin stopped four attempts while also playing all 110 minutes between the posts.
The maroon and gold will kickoff its next match versus West Virginia back at Rudd Field on Sunday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m.