Elon Women’s Soccer Welcomes South Carolina State on Thursday

ELON, N.C. – The Elon University women’s soccer team concludes the non-conference portion of its schedule on Thursday night, Sept. 29, when it welcomes the South Carolina State Bulldogs to Rudd Field for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

You can watch Thursday’s match on Phoenix All-Access. Updates on the match against the Bulldogs will be provided on Twitter at the handle @elonscores and the program’s handle, @ElonWSoccer.

The Phoenix split its opening CAA weekend against Towson and James Madison. On Friday, Elon overcame a late equalizer from the Tigers to pull off a 2-1 double-overtime victory against Towson. Kendall Ballotti scored the game-winner with just three minutes remaining in overtime. On Sunday, James Madison scored three goals in the first 26 minutes en route to a 3-1 victory over the Phoenix.

This is the second all-time meeting between the Phoenix and the Bulldogs of South Carolina State. It will be the first time that South Carolina State has visited Rudd Field. The first meeting between the two squads happened last season on Sept. 6, 2015. The Phoenix earned the 5-0 shutout thanks to two goals from Tori Baliatico, a goal from Susannah Anderson, and goals from seniors Julie Hibberd and Samantha Burch.

Elon currently has a 5-5-1 overall record and is 1-1 overall in conference play. The Phoenix has a 4-4-1 overall record against non-conference oppoents, which has included three teams ranked in the top-three of their league’s preseason poll (High Point, UNCG and Coastal Carolina) and one top-10 nationally ranked opponent (#8 Clemson). The maroon and gold is currently unbeaten in four of its last five non-conference matches.

Nine different players have scored for the Phoenix so far this season. Erin Tanhauser leads the way with three goals this season after scoring against Towson on Friday. Susannah Andersonrecorded her team-high third assist of the season on Tanhauser’s goal. Kennedy Little made her way on the scoresheet this season with her first-career goal on Sunday against JMU.

The Phoenix squad has 20 returners from the 2015 season, which posted a winning record of 9-8-2 and started the year with a Division I era program-best, 7-1-1 mark, in the first nine games. Elon has infused 10 newcomers into the fold, which includes nine total freshmen, three of which are international student-athletes, and graduate transfer Bria Bass.

Freshman goalkeeper Katelyn Fowler was named CAA Rookie of the Week on Sept. 5, after posting a shutout in 135 minutes of action against Coastal Carolina on Sept. 1 and Western Carolina on Sept. 4. She came into the match against the Chanticleers at halftime as a substitute, did not allow a goal in the second half, and made two big saves to help the Phoenix preserve a 2-1 victory over Coastal Carolina. Fowler also earned her first-career shutout in a 1-0 victory at Western Carolina, making four saves in 90 minutes of action.

Ninth-year head coach Chris Neal made history on Aug. 19th, becoming the winningest coach in program history with his 75th career victory at Elon. He surpassed Paul Webster (1995-2003) for the most wins in Elon women’s soccer program history. He earned his 79th win on Friday against Towson.

Sophomore Tori Baliatico earned Honorable Mention accolades by the conference as part of the 2016 Preseason All-CAA Team. The Scotch Plains, N.J. native finished tied for first on the team in points (9) and goals (4) last season and earned 2015 CAA All-Rookie Team honors. She has already scored one goal to begin this season.

South Carolina State comes into the match with a 2-8-1 overall mark. The Bulldogs earned its two victories this season on Sept. 4 in a 2-1 win at home against Wofford and a 3-2 road win on Sept. 14 at University of South Carolina-Aiken. South Carolina State is 1-4 on the road this season and are being outscored 5-20 in those contests. Jacqueline Beristain leads the team in scoring with three goals so far this season. Five Bulldogs players have scored through 11 games. Despite only getting off 88 shots this season, South Carolina State has put 44 (54.5%) of its shots on frame.

Elon will prepare for its first CAA road contest of the season on Sunday, Oct. 2. The Phoenix faces the William & Mary Tribe for a 2 p.m. contest at Busch Field in Williamsburg, Va.