MT PLEASANT, S.C. – Jason Waterman’s golden goal in the 105th minute gave the Elon University men’s soccer team a 2-1 victory at College of Charleston on Wednesday night, Oct. 29, at the Patriots Point Place Soccer Complex.
The goal helped the Phoenix (9-4-4, 4-1-2 Colonial Athletic Association) extend its unbeaten streak to seven matches with its victory over its former Southern Conference foe the Cougars (2-10-3, 0-5-2 CAA). The goal was Waterman’s fourth of the year and second game-winner of the season.
Elon’s win on Wednesday along with Hofstra’s draw with Northeastern puts the Phoenix into first place in the league standings. The maroon and gold also secured a spot in the upcoming league championship tournament with William & Mary’s loss to James Madison
Elon won the battle on shots with a 15-13 advantage overall and a slight 7-6 edge on goal. The margin was just as slim in corners with the Phoenix winning with a 7-6 advantage over the Cougars.
The Cougars were on the attack early in the match, getting a shot up in the fourth minute on a header by Paul Burdick. The shot would go wide however giving the ball back to the Phoenix.
Elon drew its first opportunity for a score in the seventh minute after the maroon and gold earned a corner kick. The ball found the foot of Samuel McBride, who sent a slight header touch to Nathan Diehl, but the Cougars’ keeper corralled the ball.
CofC had a few frantic moments for a goal beginning near the ninth minute. Burdick had the first shot on goal for the Cougars, but Elon’s Nathan Dean was able to knock the ball out of the play. On the following corner kick, Dean made two tremendous saves on a pair of shots from CofC before Elon was able to clear the ball.
The Phoenix attempted to catch the Cougars napping in the 15th minute after drawing a foul near the top of the penalty area. Elon’s Austin Dunker took the free kick as CofC looked to be not set defensively, but the Cougars’ goalkeeper Alex Young was able to make the save.
The Cougars found the back of the net just a minute before the half. Cesar Murillo took the ball off a poor clear by the Phoenix, escorted it up field and found Nico Rittenmeyer who then sent a ball to the low right corner of the goal from 18 yards out.
CofC ended the opening stanza with an 8-4 advantage on shots with both teams having four attempts on goal. The maroon and gold had the edge in corners with a slight 4-3 advantage over the Cougars.
Five minutes after the start of the second half, the Phoenix had another opportunity to put its first goal on the scoreboard. Waterman drew a foul while in the box on a defender and was rewarded a penalty kick. The play also drew a red card on the Cougars, giving the Phoenix a man-up advantage the rest of the way.
Waterman however could not covert on the penalty kick as the senior pushed the ball wide left of the goal.
In the 65th minute, Elon nearly had its equalizer off a corner as the ball was knocked to the ground in front of Taylor Adler in the box. The sophomore fired a strike towards the next, but it sailed wide left to keep the score 1-0.
Elon finally found its tying goal in the 70th minute. A long cross was sent into the box to Miguel Salazar who then tapped it over to Chad Craig, who maneuvered around the keeper to score and knot the game at 1-1.
The maroon and gold almost had its go-ahead goal in the 83rd minute of action. Salazar had a free look from nearly 15-20 yards out, but the ball hit the post. Waterman was able to get to the carom, but his slide try was sent too far to the left. The match would go into the first overtime with the score tied at 1-1.
Elon dominated the first extra session with three shots compared to none for the Cougars. The Phoenix’s best chance at a score in the first overtime came in the 97th minute on a Salazar strike, but his attempt went wide and the match would head into a second overtime.
The Phoenix finally netted the golden goal in the 105th minute after Craig played a ball from Dunker and sent a pass to Waterman at the six-yard area of the box. The Bloomington, Ind., native beat the keeper to the ball and placed it in the goal to give Elon the hard-fought victory.
Dean made five saves in goal while playing every minute between the posts. Young also recorded five saves.
Elon travels to Delaware to close out the regular-season on Sunday, Nov. 2, for a potential shot for the CAA regular-season title. Kickoff begins at 2 p.m.