ELON, N.C. – Goals by Jaiden Fortune and Mikey Thomas helped the Elon University men’s soccer team remain unbeaten on the young season as the Phoenix collected a 2-0 victory over Presbyterian on Saturday night, Sept. 2, in the maroon and gold’s home opener at Rudd Field.
It was the third straight clean sheet to start the season for the Phoenix (2-0-1) while the Blue Hose dropped to 1-2 on the year.
After over 35 minutes of action to open the game, Elon finally got on the board thanks to Fortune’s first goal of the season. The Orlando, Fla., native played a ball from Elijah Agu near the back left line of the goal and dribbled up to the corner of the six-yard area before sending a low shot toward the far back post to put the Phoenix ahead 1-0.
Elon nearly went up 2-0 before the end of the half off a free kick. Ronni Mleczkovicz played a ball from just outside the 18-yard area into the far back right post where it found the sliding foot of Luke Matthews. The sophomore however pushed the ball just past the target to end the threat.
After the first half, Elon held a 4-1 advantage on shots with the Phoenix having two shots on goal compared to one for Presbyterian. Elon also blanked the Blue Hose in corner kicks, 2-0.
The Phoenix continued the attack in the start of the second period, getting off three shots and a corner in the first 11 minutes. The pace of the game slowed down however after that point with the Blue Hose continuing to chase the equalizer. A shot by Presbyterian’s Sergio Pinto in the 67th minute gave the Blue Hose a look, but the Phoenix defense made it tough as it was blocked.
As the game ticked down to the final 10 minutes, Elon finally put the Blue Hose away thanks to Thomas’ goal. The sophomore played a great ball from Mleczkovicz near the right side at the top of the box and faced the keeper one-on-one. The Kent, England, native calmly slid the ball past the netminder for his first career goal to put the maroon and gold ahead 2-0.
Presbyterian would get one final shot on goal in the 82nd minute, but Matthew Jeiger made the second of his two saves to keep the clean sheet intact. That would be the final best look of the night for the Blue Hose as Elon played out the final eight minutes to take the 2-0 win.
Inside the Box Score
• Elon finished the game with the overall edge in shots, 8-4, including 4-2 in shots on target. The Phoenix also won the battle in corners, 4-1.
• Jegier played all 90 minutes between the posts and earned the 19th clean sheet of his career. The shutout ties him for third all-time on the program’s all-time career list with Kip Rackley (1984-87).
• Mleczkovicz scored the first two points of his collegiate career with an assist on each of the goals scored. He also became the first Phoenix player with two assists in a match since Amir Berkane did versus William & Mary on Oct. 12, 2016.
• Mleczkovicz and redshirt freshmen Roko Bedalov and Nicholas Graves made their collegiate debuts for the Phoenix against the Blue Hose.
• This was only the second meeting all-time between the Phoenix and the Blue Hose at the Division level for both teams. Elon has won both meetings with the last contest coming in 2013.
Elon returns home for a contest versus Triad rival High Point next Friday, Sept. 8. That match is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.