CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A goal in the 87th minute from freshman Ronni Mleczkovicz helped the Elon University men’s soccer team earn a 1-1 draw at Charlotte on Tuesday night, Sept. 12, in a nonconference bout at Transamerica Field.
The draw lifted Elon’s unbeaten streak to start the season to five games as the Phoenix pushed its record to 3-0-2. Charlotte went to 2-1-1 on the year.
“I think this is game our group can learn a great deal from,” said Elon head coach Marc Reeves. “Charlotte is an exceptional team who is fast and effective in getting at you. We were poor in the first half and lucky not to be down by more, however credit to our group we got more organized in the second half and did not quit when it got tough. Scoring late certainly gave us the momentum going into overtime and we actually had a couple of great chances to win it. We now need to recover quickly and get right back to preparing for our opening conference game.”
The 49ers had the Phoenix on the heels from the opening kick, peppering the maroon and gold with five shots and a corner kick in the first six minutes. Charlotte kept the aggression going throughout the opening 20 minutes of the match including getting a breakaway look inside the 19th minute that was saved by Matthew Jegier. On the proceeding corner kick, the Phoenix was able to make a save off the backline to keep the shutout intact.
Charlotte finally got on the board with a goal inside the 31st minute. The 49ers’ Teddy Chaouche got free of the Phoenix defense and finished off a cross into the top left corner of the goal for the first score of the match. The score was the first goal conceded this season by the Phoenix and snapped Elon’s 484-minute shutout streak against opponents dating back to last season.
Elon got one shot in the opening half in the 39th minute, but Mleczkovicz’s free kick went high over the crossbar. The Phoenix set itself up for the potential equalizer about two minutes later after some great passing from Mleczkovicz, John Walden and Tuki Tayali to set up a shot inside the box, but Charlotte double teamed the player on the potential shot forcing a turnover.
Charlotte dominated the opening stanza, firing off 11 shots to one for the Phoenix including four on goal. The 49ers also won the corner battle, 6-1.
In the second half, Elon continued to chase the equalizer and send numbers up front. However, the game was slowed considerably in the second half despite the Phoenix looking for the tie. In the closing minutes, Elon was able to take advantage to get a few corner set pieces in the 83rd minute, but to no avail.
Finally, in the 87th minute the Phoenix capitalized off one of its set pieces. Mleckovicz took the corner kick from the right side and curved the ball straight into the goal for the equalizer. The score was the first of the season for the Gothenburg, Sweden, native and sent the match into overtime.
Charlotte had the lone attempt in the first extra session, which went wide of the goal. With no result made through 100 minutes, the match went into a second overtime. Elon was the aggressor in the second extra period, getting two shots and a pair of corners. The Phoenix had possibly its best look near the 108th minutes as Marcel Fahrenholz had a look inside the box, but the keeper made a nice diving save. As the extra ten minutes expired with no result on either side, the match ended in a draw.
Inside the Box Score
• Charlotte won the overall shot battle, 17-8, but Elon outshot the 49ers during the second stanza and both overtimes, 7-6. The 49ers also had the advantage in corners, 13-7, but was slightly better than Elon in the second half and overtime, 7-6.
• Elon’s 484-minute shutout streak is the best in school history, besting the previous mark of 400-minutes in 2009.
• Jegier made a season-high four saves in goal for the Phoenix with Elon having five saves overall. His counterpart Elliot Panicco made a pair of saves between the posts.
• This was the first draw in the series between the Phoenix and the 49ers with Charlotte holding a 7-3-1 advantage all-time. Elon however now has a two-game unbeaten streak against the 49ers after earning a 2-0 win the last time the two teams met in 2012.
• Both teams combined for 32 fouls in the match including three yellow cautions.
Elon continues its road trip as the Phoenix treks to Hempstead, N.Y., to face Hofstra for its Colonial Athletic Association opener on Saturday, Sept. 16. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.