ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team earned a 2-1 victory over Duke on Tuesday night, Oct. 21, at Rudd Field in a key non-conference match between the two in-state rivals.
The win for the Phoenix (8-4-3) was the first-ever for the program against the Blue Devils (5-8-1) in the 13th all-time meeting between the two schools. Going into the match, Elon was 0-9-3 all-time versus Duke.
Junior Miguel Salazar provided the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal in the 61st minute to help Elon push its winning streak to four games and unbeaten streak to five. The maroon and gold also improved to 5-1-1 on its home pitch at Rudd Field.
Despite allowing a couple of corner kicks to the Blue Devils in the opening minute of the match, Elon dominated possession of the game throughout the first period. James Brace attacked Duke’s goalkeeper Wilson Fisher early at the 1:30 mark, but the Blue Devils’ netminder corralled the ball.
Elon’s best opportunity to score in the first half came in the 22nd minute as Luis Argudo’s shot looked to be straight on towards the back of the net. The ball however hit the post and bounced to the turf before a Blue Devil defender knocked it out of play.
Even with the unlucky miss, Elon dominated the opening stanza with a 10-0 advantage in shots with four coming on goal. Both teams were knotted at 3-3 in corner kicks.
Jason Waterman would put the first points on the scoreboard for the Phoenix in the 53rd minute. Waterman played a ball near the top of the box from Myles Mansfield and fired a tough shot towards the back right corner of the net to put the maroon and gold up 1-0.
Duke would quickly answer with the equalizer just two minutes later as the Blue Devils drew a foul just outside of the penalty area. Duke’s Sean Davis took the free kick and the ball found the foot of Brody Huitema, who tied the game at 1-1 in the 55th minute.
With the momentum in its favor, the Blue Devils had a couple of chances to take the lead in the 58th and 59th minute. Only Zach Mather’s shot at the 59:54 mark was on frame, but Elon’s keeper Nathan Dean stopped it.
Two minutes later, Salazar would give Elon the lead for good. The Phoenix sent a long ball down to Waterman, but it was deflected off a Duke defender. Salazar played the ball near midfield and dribbled up the field before taking a shot from 15-20 yards out for his third goal of the year.
Duke would continue to push numbers forward in order to tie the match again, but the Phoenix would hang on with the 2-1 victory.
Elon outshot Duke, 17-6, and had a 7-4 edge in shots on frame. The Blue Devils won the battle of corner kicks with a 7-4 mark.
Elon plays its final regular-season home match on Sunday, Oct. 26, versus James Madison at 1 p.m. It will be the final regular-season home game for seniors Dean, Waterman, Austin Dunker, Tommy Allen and Eliot Browarsky.