DURHAM, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team began the 2015 season with a commanding 4-0 victory over DePaul in the opening match of the John Rennie/Nike Invitational on Friday, Aug. 28, at Duke’s Koskinen Stadium.
The Phoenix (1-0) earned its first season-opening win in nine years with its victory against the Blue Demons (0-1). Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler, Caue Da Silva, Nathan Diehl and Eduardo Alvarez each contributed a goal for the maroon and gold on the offensive end.
“It was really important to get off to a winning start,” said Elon head coach Chris Little. “That was an emphasis during preseason and our training so I was very delighted that we earned the win.”
The Phoenix opened the scoring in the 15th minute of the match. DePaul was called for a handball inside the box, rewarding the Phoenix with a penalty kick. Vandermaas-Peeler was able to push the ball past the keeper to put Elon up 1-0.
Nearly 10 minutes later, Elon increased its lead to 2-0 thanks to a great play from Da Silva and Jonathan Wenger. Wenger found Da Silva racing up the middle and sent him a great cross over the top of the defense in the box. Da Silva tapped the ball into the left corner of the net and gave the Phoenix a 2-0 advantage.
In the 31st minute, the maroon and gold added its third score of the match. The Phoenix earned a corner kick and Nathan Diehl played the ball off the set piece sent in by Vandermaas-Peeler to give Elon a 3-0 lead heading into the half.
Shortly after the start of the second period, the Phoenix tacked on its fourth goal of the contest thanks to Alavarez. The Reitoca, Honduras, native scored his first career score on a bending shot from nearly 25-yards out that settled the final tally in the 50th minute.
– This was Elon’s first season-opening win since 2006.
– The four goals scored by Elon was its highest output since a 5-0 outburst against Northeastern last year.
– The Phoenix increased its record to 3-1-1 at the John Rennie/Nike Invitational.
– DePaul won the overall shot battle, 10-8, but the Phoenix had five shots on goal compared to four for the Blue Demons.
– Elon had a 3-1 advantage in corners over DePaul.
– Matthew Jegier corralled four saves and a shutout in his first-ever start between the posts.
Elon closes out the tournament on Sunday, Aug. 30, with a noon match against Saint Mary’s.