BROOKLINE, Mass. – Jack Willbye’s goal off a free kick in the 35th minute gave the Elon University men’s soccer team a 1-0 victory at Northeastern on Saturday evening, Oct. 8, as the Phoenix snapped a three-game overall winless streak and earned its first Colonial Athletic Association victory.
Elon (5-2-3, 1-0-2 CAA) closed out a six-game road swing with its win over the Huskies (3-9-0, 1-4-0 CAA). This was also the third victory in the past four games over Northeastern while ending Elon’s longest winless streak since 2011.
“I’m delighted for the players and so happy for them,” said Elon head coach Chris Little. “That was our sixth road game in a row which is a really tough ask for anybody. (The players) have worked super hard and we’ve only loss one out of the six by showing a lot of resiliency and character. Every CAA game is very difficult so to come to Boston, get a win in our sixth road game overall and third CAA road game is fantastic.”
A very back-and-forth match saw the only score of the game tallied inside the 35th minute for the Phoenix. After a foul was whistled on the Huskies, Elon received a free kick from the right side just outside the box. Willbye took the assignment and saw his kick curl right into the top upper right corner of the goal to put the Phoenix up 1-0.
The Huskies tried to swing momentum towards their favor over the final minutes of the first half. Over the final eight minutes of the opening stanza, Northeastern had four corner kicks and three shot attempts peppered towards the maroon and gold defense. Elon however held up each time and went into the locker room with a 1-0 advantage.
Elon trailed NU in the shot battle from the first half, 8-6, with both teams knotted with four shots on frame. The Huskies also had the victory in corners, 4-1, over the Phoenix from the first session.
One of the Phoenix’s best looks in the second half came at the 71st minute. Elijah Agu received a cross by Tuki Tayali and found himself on a breakaway towards the Huskies goal. After a power move to get around the nearest defender, Agu fired a shot from just inside the 18, but it was nabbed by the Huskies’ netminder.
Northeastern continued its attack, but could not find a great look for the equalizer as the Phoenix often was at the right place to defend well and force difficult shots for the Huskies. A pair of corner kicks at the 79th and 83rd minute only resulted in one shot attempt for NU as Elon held on for the 1-0 clean sheet victory.
• This was Elon’s first trip to Northeastern in the series between the two schools on the soccer pitch. Each of the previous four games took place in the state of North Carolina with three coming in Elon.
• Matthew Jegier corralled six saves in the match and earned his fourth shutout of the season in goal. It was the fifth total clean sheet overall for the Phoenix this season and the 23rd over the past two and a half seasons.
• Willbye’s score was the first in both his career while becoming the ninth different goal scorer for the Phoenix this season.
• Northeastern won the shot battle, 16-13, with the Phoenix having a slight advantage in shots on target, 7-6. NU also had seven corners compared to three for Elon.
Elon hosts William & Mary on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at Rudd Field. The match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.