ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team will make the in-state journey to the Queen City as the Phoenix will face Charlotte in an early week matchup on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Both programs are scheduled to hit the pitch at Transamerica Field for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
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 on conferenceusa.com via a subscription.
The Phoenix and the 49ers have only faced each other in the regular season only once over the past five years, but have also played each other many times during exhibition play. Tuesday’s contest will be the 11th all-time in the series with Charlotte holding a 7-3 advantage all-time against the maroon and gold. However, the last time the teams met in 2012, Elon earned its highest victory ever against a ranked opponent with a 2-0 upset over the then No. 6 Niners at Rudd Field.
Last Time Out
Elon extended its shutout and unbeaten streak to start the season with its 3-0 victory over intra-Triad rival High Point on Friday, Sept. 8, at Rudd Field. Amir Berkane converted on a penalty kick goal late in the opening stanza while both Jaiden Fortune and Elijah Agu scored their second goals of the season late in the game.
Berkane put the Phoenix on the board in the 41st minute with a penalty kick after Fortune was taken down by the defense in the box. The Kelvedon, England, native stepped up to the spot before finding the back of the net for the first time this season. Fortune put the game out of reach for the Panthers with his sliding finish inside the 74th minute before Agu sealed the final score about seven minutes later off a feed from Fortune.
Through four games this season, the Phoenix has proved to be a stout defensive team, carrying over a trend from the last several seasons. Elon currently boasts a 0.00 goals-against average and is one of just six teams in the nation that has yet to allow a goal this season through 380 minutes of action. The Phoenix is allowing eight shots per match on the young season including just seven combined to the opposition in the past two games. Over its last 61 matches (dating back to the start of the 2014 season), the Phoenix has shutout 29 opponents with a 0.93 GAA.
This is the first time ever in program history that the Phoenix has posted a shutout in its first four games of the season. The last time Elon posted four straight shutouts came in 2009. Dating back to last year’s final match of the season versus William & Mary, the maroon and gold has gone 453 minutes without conceding a goal. That figure is the best for the program in school history, besting the previous scoreless streak total of 400 minutes during the 2009 season.
About Elon (3-0-1)
After starting the season with a scoreless draw versus Fordham, the Phoenix offense has picked it up the past three games. While the maroon and gold is still averaging just under eight shots per match (7.7) during the span, 12 of its 23 total shots have come on target at a .522 percent clip. Elon has also won the battle on corner kicks at 10-2 while averaging two goals per match.
Agu and Fortune have been the main offensive catalysts for the Phoenix, tying the team-led in total points with six as the duo have two goals and a couple of assists to their stat lines. Overall, the Phoenix is averaging 1.50 goals per game and just under 10 shots per contest. Agu, Fortune and Ronni Mleczkovicz are tied for the team-lead with two assists.
Elon’s Matthew Jegier became the third keeper in school history with 20 or more career shutouts after the Phoenix’s clean sheet over High Point. The redshirt junior from Charlotte, N.C. trails only Nathan Dean ’14 (25) and Clint Irwin ’11 (22) on the program’s all-time career shutout list.
Scouting Charlotte (2-1)
The 49ers, who were ranked No. 19 in last week’s Top Drawer Soccer poll, sit at 2-1 on the season after earning a 1-0 victory over league foe Marshall on Saturday, Sept. 9. Prior to that match, Charlotte had opened the season with a 1-0 win over Winthrop before falling at Coastal Carolina, 2-3. The 49ers return seven starters and 17 letterwinners off last season’s Conference USA regular-season championship and NCAA Tournament team and were picked to repeat as league champions in the league’s 2017 preseason poll.
The Niners are averaging 1.33 goals per match and have 21 shot attempts on goal this season. Three players have found the back of the net for Charlotte this season with Marco Sunol-Rojas leading the way with two this season. Teddy Chaouche has tallied a team-best two assists on the year.
In goal, Elliot Panicco has manned every minute for the 49ers and has put up a 1.00 GAA with six saves and a pair of shutouts. Overall, Charlotte opponents are averaging just five shots per match, but nine of those 15 shots have come on goal.
Elon opens Colonial Athletic Association play at defending league regular-season champion Hofstra on Saturday, Sept. 16. That match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.