ELON, N.C. – After kicking off its season and going unbeaten last weekend at the John Rennie/Nike Invitational, the Elon University men’s soccer team returns to the friendly confines of Rudd Field for its home opener versus Presbyterian on Saturday, Sept. 2. The Phoenix and the Blue Hose are scheduled to hit the pitch for a 7 p.m. start.
Fans can follow the Phoenix throughout the match on Twitter at the program’s handle @ElonMensSoccer. Other scores and updates will also be provided at the handle @elonscores. The game will be streamed live for free through Elon’s Phoenix All-Access channel with Jake Young and David Flynt on the call.
Elon and Presbyterian will be meeting for the 11th time on the soccer pitch, but only the second time during both programs’ Division I era. All-time, the Blue Hose holds a 7-2-1 ledger over the maroon and gold. The last meeting came in 2013 in Wilmington, N.C., at the Hilton Garden Inn Classic and resulted in a 3-0 victory for the Phoenix.
Welcome Back, Potter
The Phoenix will see a familiar face on the Presbyterian sidelines in Blue Hose head coach Jonathan Potter. Potter spent five seasons (2011-2015) as an assistant coach for the Elon men’s soccer program and was on hand to help the Phoenix to four NCAA Tournament appearances and five conference championships.
Last Time Out
Elon concluded its weekend at the John Rennie/Nike Invitational with its 1-0 shutout victory over UCF on Sunday, Aug 27, at Duke University’s Koskinen Stadium. After opening the tournament with a scoreless draw versus Fordham on Friday, Aug. 25, the Phoenix earned its first win of the year thanks to Elijah Agu’s goal in the 27th minute and the first Elon win for first-year head coach Marc Reeves.
At the conclusion of the tournament, senior defender Jonathan Coleby, redshirt junior keeper Matthew Jegier and sophomore defender Luke Matthews each earned a spot on the All-Tournament team.
Elon sits at 1-0-1 on the season and has yet to allow a goal through its first two games. The last time the Phoenix opened the year unbeaten with two straight shutouts was in 2015 en route to a program-best 7-0 start. The maroon and gold will look to snap its five-match winless streak on its home pitch since last season.
Early on in 2017, the Phoenix is being outshot by the opposition, 25-18, but has a slight edge in shots on target, 5-4. Elon is shooting just over 27 percent in shots on goal compared to 16 percent allowed to its opponents. Nine different players have attempted at least one shot this season for the Phoenix with four having a shot on goal.
Defensively, Elon played 200 minutes between its two matches last weekend without conceding a goal and has posted 27 total clean sheets over the past three-plus seasons. Jegier has manned every minute in between the posts for the Phoenix and has 18 career shutouts – one shy for tying Kip Rackley (1984-87) for third all-time in program history.
The Blue Hose went 7-10-3 last season with a 4-4 mark in Big South Conference play in Potter’s first season at the helm of the program. The seven wins marked the third biggest turnaround last season in NCAA Division I and is the most wins in a season in program history at the Division I level. This season, Presbyterian is 1-1 after earning a 3-1 victory over in-state foe USC Upstate on Wednesday, Aug. 30.
Presbyterian was tabbed to finish eighth in the 2017 Big South Preseason poll and is averaging 10.5 shots per match with four total goals scored on the season. For different players have tallied each of those scores this season for the Blue Hose with Clement Vannier leading the way with five shots this season.
On the other end, the Blue Hose is allowing 1.50 goals per match in its two games with teams attempting 10 shots per contest. Keeper Connor Behrend has manned every minute in goal this season for Presbyterian and has a 1.50 goals against average.
The Phoenix will host Triad rival High Point next Friday, Sept. 8, with a kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. at Rudd Field.