ELON, N.C. – In front of a crowd of over 1,500 fans, the 18th-ranked Elon University men’s soccer team earned a 3-1 victory over Drexel in its Colonial Athletic Association opener on Friday night, Sept. 18, at a packed Rudd Field.
Elon improved to 7-0 (1-0 CAA) to continue its best start in program history while Drexel fell to 1-6 (0-1 CAA). Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler had the game’s first goal while rookie Nicholas O’Callaghan and junior Taylor Adler netted their first career scores in the match.
“Just really delighted to get the first three points in the league,” said Elon head coach Chris Little. “(The CAA) is a really tough league and one that is really underrated and I think we have shown some of the results so far across the country that we have some really tough teams. To get that first win is really important and I was really delighted for the guys, thought they played well and really deserved the win tonight.”
Vandermaas-Peeler scored his first goal at home this season just before the 19th minute to put the Phoenix up 1-0. The senior from Cary, N.C., took a touch pass from O’Callaghan from the left side inside the box and slotted the ball past the goalkeeper for the early advantage.
O’Callaghan himself found the back of the net about five minutes later inside the 23rd minute for his first career goal. After Elon received a corner kick, Vandermaas-Peeler lofted the ball inside the box where Jonathan Coleby attempted the first shot, but its was blocked by the Dragons’ defense. The carom found O’Callaghan, who placed it just inside the left post and was deflected in to put Elon up 3-0.
The Phoenix saw its lead increase to 3-0 after Adler took a bending shot from about 18 yards at the 63rd minute. James Brace found the junior on the left side of the penalty box and Adler took a few steps towards the middle before sending his shot to the back right corner of the goal.
Drexel broke the shutout in the 72nd minute due to an Elon miscue as the Phoenix turned the ball over deep in its territory. Drexel’s Aaron Thompson played the ball from his brother Tristan Thompson near the left side of the goal and trimmed Elon’s lead to 3-1 and setting the final tally.
– The win improved the Phoenix to 2-0 at home tis season and also 2-0 all-time versus Drexel.
– The Phoenix dominated in the shot battle, 26-4, and had seven shots on frame compared to two for the Dragons.
– Elon also shutout the Dragons on corners, 12-0.
– First game of the season for Elon that a yellow card was not issued on either side.
– O’Callaghan’s goal and assists were the first points of his career as was the goal from Adler.
– Matthew Jegier had a save in goal and played the full 90 minutes. His counterpart Tyler Afflerbach had four saves while playing the full game.
– Senior Caue Da Silva nearly had a couple of goals including a try in the 16th minute that hit the post. Da Silva led the Phoenix with five shots on the match.
Elon takes a step outside of conference play and head to South Carolina for a 7 p.m. evening match against the Gamecocks on Tuesday, Sept. 22.