ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team makes the short trek to the state capital as the Phoenix takes on NC State for an early-week nonconference matchup on Tuesday, Sept. 13. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Dail Soccer Stadium.
Fans can follow the Phoenix on Tuesday with updates on Twitter from the program’s handle @ElonMensSoccer. Other score updates will also be provided at the handle @elonscores as well as live stats from the men’s soccer home page. The match will be streamed online via the ACC Network Extra on the NC State athletic website, gopack.com as well as on WatchESPN and the ESPN app.
Versus NC State
Elon and NC State have only met six times all-time on the soccer pitch. The Wolfpack holds a 5-1 advantage all-time over the Phoenix in a series dating back to 1974 with the last regular season meeting coming in 2005. However, the two programs have squared versus each other during preseason play the last two years. Elon won the most recent exhibition contest last year, 3-2, in Raleigh.
College of Charleston Classic Recap
The Phoenix began Colonial Athletic Association play last Saturday, Sept. 10, with a trip to College of Charleston. The Cougars took the lead late in the first half on a Joseph Terry goal in the 43rd minute as Elon trailed at the half for the first time this season. Later in the 63rd minute, Elon found the evasive equalizer as Tuki Tayali knotted the score at 1-1 with his second goal of the year. For the third straight season, both teams battled into double overtime, but there would be no golden goal heroics as the match ended in the 1-1 draw. The tie was Elon’s first during the regular season since a scoreless bout versus James Madison in 2014.
Elon Receiving Votes in NSCAA Poll
For the second time this season, Elon was receiving votes in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Top 25 poll last Tuesday, Sept 6. The Phoenix earned 23 points in the poll, the third most among teams receiving votes. Regionally, Elon sits fourth in the Midwest Region behind Indiana, Maryland and Delaware. The Blue Hens were also the lone other CAA school in the NSCAA poll sitting at No. 22 in the nation.
Making Their Mark
Elon welcomed 16 newcomers to its roster for 2016 with 11 of them seeing playing time on the pitch so far this season. Including redshirt freshman, 13 total players are seeing the field for the first time in an Elon uniform. Two newcomers, defender Luke Matthews and Marcel Fahrenholz, have started every game this season while three others – Austin Hill, Jack Willbye and Tayali – have played over 100 minutes off the bench. Tayali and Hill are second and third on the squad in total points, respectively, while Matthews is fifth. Fahrenholz and Willbye are first and second on the team in assists with three and two, respectively.
Elon Versus the ACC
NC State will be the first of two Atlantic Coast Conference opponents on the Phoenix’s schedule this season. Elon is no stranger to facing teams from arguably the toughest men’s soccer conference in the nation as the ACC currently has seven ranked teams in the NSCAA Top 25 including the top three ranked programs in Notre Dame, Clemson and North Carolina. Since 2010, Elon has posted a 6-4-4 record against ACC schools including four straight wins versus Wake Forest with three of those coming with the Demon Deacons ranked. The Phoenix will later host Duke this season on Oct. 25.
Despite scoring one goal on Saturday against College of Charleston, the Phoenix offense still has remained on the attack this season. Elon has outshot its opponent in every game this season and holds a 96-37 shot differential over the opposition. The Phoenix lead the CAA in shots taken and in shots per match (19.20) – which is third in the nation – while also pacing the league in shots on target at 41.
Elon has had 10 different players tally at least one point this year with junior Elijah Agu being the team and CAA leader with 11 total. Agu also paces the squad with five goals – good for first in the league and seventh in the country – and is ninth in the nation in game winners with two. Agu is also one of five Phoenix players with double-digit shot attempts this season.
Defensively, Elon had yielded four goals all season and is holding opponents to 7.4 shots per game. Despite new starters along the backline in Matthews, Hassan Pinto as well as breaking in a new starting midfield, Elon has continued its top-notch defending this season as opponents have only 14 shots on goal.
About NC State
The Wolfpack enters Tuesday’s match with a 1-3 ledger on the young season. After splitting its games at the James Madison Invitational to open the season, NC State has dropped two straight at home against North Florida on Sept. 4, and No. 6 Syracuse on Sept. 9, in its most recent contests.
NC State has scored only five goals this season with sophomore striker Ade Taiwo accounting for three of that total. Lukas Zarges is one of two others to tally a goal for the Wolfpack and is tied for second on the team with three points. He also has one of the three assists that NC State has this year.
Keeper Alex McCauley has played every minute in goal for the Wolfpack this season. He has a GAA of 2.00 while also making eight saves. Overall, NC State has allowed eight goals this season.
Elon moves on to the third game of its road trip with a visit to No. 18 Radford on Saturday, Sept. 17. That match is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start.