ELON, N.C. – Despite jumping out to an early 1-0 lead in the second minute and holding a 2-1 advantage late into the second half, the Elon University men’s soccer team suffered a tough 3-2 Colonial Athletic Association setback to Delaware on Saturday night, Oct. 22, in the Phoenix’s homecoming match at Rudd Field.
Elon took its first loss during CAA play falling to 3-1-2 in league play and 7-3-3 overall on the season. The Blue Hens improved to 10-5-1 on the season and a 5-2 mark in the CAA in 2016.
“Credit to Delaware, they are a good team,” said Elon head coach Chris Little. “If you give them chances to hang around in the game, they can create chances and score. I think we did enough to win it, but soccer can be cruel sometimes. It’s a good learning lesson and we’ll recover from it and bounce back and be ready for our next game against Duke on Tuesday.”
A quick score into the second minute by Elijah Agu put the Phoenix ahead early 1-0 on his 10th goal of the year. Agu took a great feed off the the top right post of the box from Jaiden Fortune and quickly pushed past the keeper to put the Phoenix up 1-0.
Delaware did not waste time on the equalizer as the Blue Hens responded to tie the match near the fifth minute. Thomas de Villardi took a bending shot from nearly 25 yards away that went into the top right corner to knot the match at 1-1.
Nearly four minutes after that, Elon was on top again with Agu again being the catalyst. The striker played a cross from midfield and fired a shot that went just low enough under the keeper to put the maroon and gold back up 2-1.
Elon held on to the lead for the remainder of the half and went into intermission with its 2-1 advantage. The Phoenix took five shots in the opening stanza while holding the Blue Hens to its one tally. Delaware also had the lone corner of the opening period.
During the second half, the Blue Hens were the more aggressive team as they chased the equalizer once more. They would find it as Guillermo Delgado connected on his ninth of the year around the 66th minute to tie the game at 2-2.
Less than 10 minutes later close to the 75th minute, Delaware’s Jaime Martinez sent a cross from the right side that was deflected by Elon keeper Matthew Jegier. The deflection however found the foot of Marco Siverio as he was able to settle the ball near the left post of the six-yard area and beat the scrambling Phoenix defense to put the the Blue Hens ahead 3-2.
Over the final 15 minutes, the Phoenix seemed to have a couple of solid chances at finding its own equalizer. Elon’s best opportunity came at the 89th minute as Fortune sent a shot to his left behind the defense in the box that went past the keeper. The ball however just went left of the goal as Elon fell to the Blue Hens, 3-2.
• This was the first meeting of the two programs in Elon in its brief series history. The Blue Hens now lead the series all-time, 2-1-1, with each team having a victory on each other’s home pitch.
• The loss was Elon’s first at Rudd Field this season (3-1) and also the first overall since a 2-1 double-overtime setback at No. 24 Radford on Sept. 17.
• Jegier played all 90 minutes in goal and had a pair of saves during the contest. Todd Morton and Paul DeFeo split time between the posts for the Blue Hens and combined for a pair of saves.
• Elon won the overall shot battle, 10-9, but Delaware had an 8-5 advantage in the second half. Both teams also had just one corner in the match.
The Phoenix hosts Duke on Tuesday, Oct. 25, with kickoff starting at 7 p.m. at Rudd Field.