RADFORD, Va. – Battling in its third game in over a week including its second overtime match, the Elon University men’s soccer team saw its four-game unbeaten streak snapped at the hands of No. 24 Radford on Saturday, Sept. 17, as the Highlanders provided the golden goal in the 104th minute to win 2-1 at the Patrick D. Cupp Memorial Stadium.
Elon (4-2-1) could not come out on top against the Highlanders (5-1) in its first match against a ranked opponent this season. The Phoenix also could not avenge its setback to the Highlanders from last year’s 2-0 loss at home.
“Obviously the result is disappointing, but the performance and the application of the players was fantastic,” said Elon head coach Chris Little. “I thought they gave us everything they had, we were on top for long spells of the game and had Radford in some serious pressure. They’re a good team and it was just one of those nights where we didn’t quite get the break, the right bounce of the ball or make the right decisions, but that happens when you play a good team. But, there is a lot to be proud of that performance.”
Elon had the best possible chance for the first points of the match around the 22nd minute. Nick Adamczyk found himself at the six-yard line with a potential goal after a deflection, but a great sliding save by Radford kept the match scoreless.
Two minutes later, Elon again threatened inside the six-yard area. Nicholas O’Callaghan sent a cross inside for Tuki Tayali, who was able to get the ball down with a header. The follow however went just left of the post for a goal kick.
Two more close calls for the Phoenix in the opening stanza came at the 38th minute. Austin Hill nearly connected on his fourth score of the year around the six-yard area that was saved by the keeper. The ricochet found the feet of Jaiden Fortune, but his attempt was blocked by the defender as the ball was cleared.
Radford made the Phoenix pay at the 43rd minute. The Highlanders’ Michael Walsh caught himself free near the left post after a one-touch pass and snuck in a goal just past the Elon defense for a 1-0 lead prior to the half.
Elon held a slight 8-7 advantage on shots in the first half including four on goal compared to two for Radford. The Phoenix had the lone corner from the opening period.
The Phoenix quickly tied the match in the beginning of the second half. After a Radford foul, a free kick opportunity was set up for Elon. Jack Willbye’s kick found the head of Jonathan Coleby as the junior captain scored his first collegiate goal to tie the match at 1-1 inside the 48th minute.
Elon continued to dominate the second half including posting five corners within the first five minutes of the second period. The Phoenix still could not find the go-ahead as the match moved into extra sessions.
During the first overtime, Elon had three chances for the golden goal, but was turned away each time by the Highlanders’ netminder Aitor Pouseu Blanco. The result moved Elon into its second double overtime match in the past three games.
In the 104th minute, Radford finally broke through catching the Phoenix in a vulnerable position. Radford’s Finn Tiedmann fired a shot that was initially saved by Phoenix keeper Matthew Jegier, but the deflection found the foot of Sivert Daehlie, who moved its past the defense for the golden goal and 2-1 victory.
• Elon fell to 9-8-1 against ranked teams since 2012 and 12-33-4 all-time since entering Division I play in 1999.
• The Phoenix finished the match outshooting Radford, 21-13, and had nine shots on goal. Elon also blanked the Highlanders in corners, 8-0.
• Jegier played the full 110 and had two saves in the match. In goal on the other side, Pouseu Blanco made eight saves.
• The all-time series record moves to 11-6-3 for Radford over the Phoenix. This is also Elon’s first loss at Radford in the series since 2011.
Elon ends its four-game road swing next Saturday, Sept. 24, with a Colonial Athletic Association match at James Madison. Kickoff is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.