ELON, N.C. – Fans will have an opportunity to see their first view of the 2016 Elon University men’s soccer team as the Phoenix hosts 10th-ranked Georgetown on Saturday, Aug. 13, in an exhibition match at Rudd Field. Kickoff is slated for a 7 p.m. start.
Updates of the match will be provided on Twitter from the team’s account, @ElonMensSoccer. Other score updates will also be provided at the Twitter handle, @elonscores. There will be no live stats for the match.
This is the first-ever meeting of any kind on the soccer pitch between the Phoenix and the Hoyas.
The Phoenix and third-year head coach Chris Little bring back 14 players from a 2015 squad that won 14 games, a share of the Colonial Athletic Association regular season title and earned its fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in the past five seasons. Elon advanced to the second round of the national tournament for the second time in school history before falling at No. 2 overall seed and eventual national runner-up Clemson.
Little, who was named the 2015 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Midwest Region Coach of the Year, welcomes back three starters from a year ago. Junior captain Jonathan Coleby returns to man one of the center back spots while sophomore Nicholas O’Callaghan was another starter along the backline in 15 of his 19 games played as a rookie.
In goal, redshirt sophomore Matthew Jegier played every minute between the posts and had nine clean sheets in his first year as starter last season. Those nine shutouts led the CAA and earned Jegier a spot on the league’s All-Rookie Team.
Sophomore striker Jaiden Fortune joined Jegier on the CAA All-Rookie team and is the Phoenix’s returning leading scorer. As a rookie, Fortune tallied 16 total points with five goals and a team-high six assists despite starting only two games. In all, Elon returns nine players total that tallied a goal and/or an assist during the 2015 campaign.
Additionally, Elon will implement 16 talented newcomers into the program which includes 13 first-year players and three transfers. Among the notable transfers, sophomore midfielder Jack Willbye arrives from Old Dominion where he earned a spot on the Conference USA All-Rookie Team last season.
Scouting No. 10 Georgetown
The Hoyas enter this year ranked No. 10 in the 2016 NSCAA Preseason Poll after coming off a 16-2-3 overall mark and a perfect 9-0-0 record in the BIG EAST Conference last year. Georgetown also reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Boston College in penalty kicks. Additionally, Georgetown won the BIG EAST Championship crown, marking the first time in program history that the Hoyas won the league’s postseason tournament.
Led by 11th-year head coach Brian Wiese, the Hoyas bring back 17 letterwinners from their 2015 team including five starters. Captains Brett Campbell, Bakie Goodman and JT Marcinkowski headline the returners while Arun Basuljevic is also back as the program’s leading scorer with 16 points on six goals and four assists.
Big Cleats to Fill
The Phoenix loses a ton a major talent from its squad from last season including five of its top six goal scorers and another pair of four-year starters. Graduating seniors James Brace, Nathan Diehl and Miguel Salazar earned first team All-CAA honors with Diehl being named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. Brace ended his career in the top-10 in program history in goals scored (22) and points (55).
Departing graduating seniors Eduardo Alvarez and Sam McBride also received spots on the All-CAA third team. Alvarez had a team-high seven goals last season including a pair of game-winners. McBride played every minute on the pitch and helped anchor a backline that had a CAA-best nine shutouts.
Among the Elite
Last week, Elon was receiving votes in the 2016 NSCAA Preseason poll. Since 2012, Elon has either been ranked or received votes in the major polls at least once. The Phoenix achieved its highest ranking ever in the national polls last season rising as high as No. 8 in the country. The maroon and gold has also fared well again Top-10 opponents over the past four seasons with victories against No. 6 Charlotte (2012), No. 9 Wake Forest (2013), No. 6 Coastal Carolina (2013) and No. 7 Wake Forest (2015).
Elon travels to Buies Creek, N.C., to take on Campbell next Wednesday on Aug. 17, for the second of its three exhibition matches on its schedule. That contest is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.