ELON, N.C. – Despite battling back to tie the match late in the second half, the Elon University men’s soccer team could not hold off Colonial Athletic Association leader Hofstra from a 3-1 victory on Saturday night, Oct. 29, at Rudd Field.
Elon (7-5-3, 3-2-3 CAA) was handed its third consecutive loss – each coming at home – while also losing its third straight overall to the Pride. Hofstra improved to 9-7-1 overall and 7-1 on the season during league play further increasing its strangle hold in the CAA standings.
With the loss, Elon remained tied for third in the CAA with 11 points along with UNCW, James Madison and William & Mary. Elon’s loss also clinched the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye for Delaware at the CAA Tournament in Hofstra.
The opening stanza of the match was marred with a combined 24 fouls including three yellow cautions that prevented each team from getting into the flow of the game. Elon’s best early chance came around the sixth minute after earning a corner kick. The Phoenix sent in the set piece that found the head of Luke Matthews, but his try went wide of the goal.
Hofstra took quick advantage of the Phoenix to take the lead late in the first half. After a foul was whistled on Elon near midfield at the 44th minute, the Pride’s Joseph Holland received a quick free kick with the maroon and gold defense not set. Holland got between the two center backs and faced keeper Matthew Jegier one-on-one, but maneuvered around the netminder for his third score of the season to give Hofstra a 1-0 lead going into the half.
The Pride led the first period with a 5-3 advantage in shots with Hofstra having the lone attempt on target with its goal. The Phoenix trailed 2-1 in corners and was called for 13 fouls compared to 11 for the Pride.
In the second half, Elon received a free kick around 25 yards away inside the 55th minute. The free kick try by Elijah Agu was blocked while Jack Willbye’s follow went high over the crossbar.
Elon finally found the evasive equalizer close to the 68th minute. The Phoenix earned three corner kicks between the 64th and 65th minute and also received another free kick near the 18-yard area. Off the free kick, Elon had a few frantic moments inside the box for a goal including a couple of shots that hit the crossbar by Nicholas O’Callaghan and Nick Adamczyk. Amir Berkane found the rebound off the second shot off the crossbar to knot the match at 1-1.
It would be short lived as Hofstra regained the lead almost seven minutes later. The Pride received a corner inside the 73rd minute and the set piece was sent into the box where Elon seemed to corral it. However, the Phoenix lost control of the ball near the goal line for Hofstra’s Luke Brown to put the Pride back up 2-1.
Hofstra added an insurance goal around the 78th minute. Meshack Eshun Eddy connected on a goal from 22 yards that put the maroon and goal down 3-1 which set the final score.
• Elon’s three-match losing streak is the Phoenix’s longest since the 2011 season. The Phoenix’s three losses at home is the most for the maroon and gold since 2012.
• The Phoenix’s three goals allowed ties the most Elon has given up in a single-game this season. The maroon and gold also conceded three goals in its 3-2 loss versus Delaware on Oct. 22.
• The Phoenix won the overall shot battle, 13-9, and also had twice as many corners as the Pride, 6-3.
• Elon honored both its four-year players in Taylor Adler and Will Smith prior to the match. The duo has accounted for 45 wins, two conference championships and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances over their time with the Phoenix.
The Phoenix hosts its final match of the regular season with a contest against UNCW on Tuesday, Nov. 1.