Eighth-Ranked Elon Men’s Soccer Phoenix Set for Battle at Delaware

ELON, N.C. – The eighth-ranked Elon University men’s soccer team looks to rebound from its first setback of the season as the Phoenix heads to Delaware for a Colonial Athletic Association road match on Saturday, Sept. 26. That game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff at the Stuart and Suzanne Grant Stadium.

Follow the Phoenix
Fans can follow the Phoenix on Saturday and throughout the season with live updates on elonphoenix.com. Live stats for every men’s soccer match will be available on the team’s schedule and home pages on the Elon athletic website. In-game updates will also be provided on Twitter at @elonscores or the program’s handle @elonmenssoccer. The game will be streamed on Delaware’s athletic site, bluehens.com.

Series History
Elon and Delaware have only faced each other once all-time on the soccer pitch with both programs meeting last season in Newark, Del., in the Phoenix’s first year in the CAA. The maroon and gold fell 2-1 to the Blue Hens in the contest in a match that determined the league’s 2014 regular season title.

Last Time Out
The Phoenix suffered its first setback of the 2015 season at South Carolina on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Elon fell 3-1 to the Gamecocks and allowed its highest goal total of the season despite outshooting the Gamecocks 20-8 in the contest. Senior Eduardo Alvarez had the lone goal in the match for Elon, his team-leading fourth of the year.

Phoenix Nationally Ranked
Elon achieved its highest ranking ever in the national polls on Tuesday, Sept. 22, with the Phoenix being placed No. 8 in the recent National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Top 25 Poll. Elon is also currently ranked No. 11 in TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Top 25 Poll and No. 13 in College Soccer News Top 30 Poll.

O’Callaghan Garners CAA Player and Rookie of the Week Accolades
Monday, Sept. 21, Elon rookie Nicholas O’Callaghan was named the CAA Player and Rookie of the Week for his efforts in Elon’s wins over at then No. 7 Wake Forest and versus Drexel in the Phoenix’s CAA opener. Against the Demon Deacons, O’Callaghan aided the Phoenix backline to shutout a Wake Forest program that ranked in the top-five in the nation in goals scored in Elon’s 1-0 win. At home versus Drexel, O’Callaghan then tallied his first career points with a goal and an assist in the maroon and gold’s 3-1 win over the Dragons.

About Elon
Despite the loss on Tuesday, Elon is still off to one of its best starts in program history with a 7-1 overall record and a 1-0 ledger in the CAA. The Phoenix is currently tied for first in the league standings along with Hofstra.

Elon has scored 21 goals on the season, nearly matching its entire season total of 22 a year ago. The Phoenix is averaging 14.12 shots per contest, only second behind Delaware in the CAA, and has 41 shots on target with a percentage clip of just over 36.

Nine different goal scorers have contributed offensively for the Phoenix including Alvarez, who has scored a goal in two of the past three contests. Alvarez and rookie Jaiden Fortune are tied for the team-lead in total points with nine.

Despite allowing a season-high three goals at South Carolina, Elon is still one of the top defensive squads in the league. The Phoenix has conceded six goals in 720 minutes of action this season and has a GAA of 0.75, both second in the CAA. The maroon and gold has also posted a league-best five shutouts so far on the year.

Scouting Delaware (3-4-1, 0-0 CAA)
The defending 2014 CAA regular-season champion and the 2015 league preseason favorite, the Blue Hens are 3-4-1 on the year. Delaware dropped its most recent contest at Virginia Tech, 4-1, and is on a current three-game losing streak.

Delaware leads the CAA in shots per contest at 14.50, but is tied for fifth overall in goals scored with 10. The Blue Hens’ Guillermo Delgado, the 2015 CAA Preseason Player of the Year, leads the program with four goals and is one of five Delaware players to score a goal this season.

In net, Blai Palmi has seen the most time for Delaware and has a 2.04 GAA with 28 saves and a .651 save percentage. Overall, Delaware opponents have averaged 1.88 goals per match on 10 shots a game.

Up Next
The Phoenix closes out its three-match road trip with a visit to William & Mary on Wednesday, Sept. 30. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.