ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer program closes its two-game road swing with a visit to Hempstead, N.Y., as the Phoenix kicks off Colonial Athletic Association play with a match against Hofstra on Saturday night, Sept. 16. The game is slated to begin at 7 p.m. at Hofstra Soccer Stadium.
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 via Pride Productions at gohofstra.com.
Elon will be seeking its first-ever win against the Pride in their brief series history. Hofstra has won the previous three matchups over the Phoenix since both programs became conference foes in 2014. Saturday will only be Elon’s second visit to Hofstra after previously falling 1-0 to the Pride during its last meeting in 2015.
Last Time Out
A goal in the 87th minute from freshman Ronni Mleczkovicz helped Elon earn a 1-1 draw at Charlotte on Tuesday night, Sept. 12, in a nonconference bout at Transamerica Field. After trailing behind to the 49ers in the opening half, Elon continued to battle for the equalizer before Mleczkovicz tied the match on a corner kick late in the match. Both teams settled for the 1-1 draw after 110 minutes of action as Elon remained unbeaten on the season at 3-0-2.
Conference Lid Lifters
Since joining the league in 2014, Elon has posted a 1-1-1 ledger in CAA openers. Saturday’s match will be the second straight season that the Phoenix has opened league play on the road with Elon earning a 1-1 draw last year at College of Charleston. This is the second time the maroon and gold will face the Pride to open conference play with the Phoenix falling to Hofstra 2-0 in Elon’s inaugural season in the CAA in 2014.
Elon first-year head coach Marc Reeves amassed a perfect 7-0 ledger in conference openers as the head coach at Radford from 2010 to 2016. Overall, Elon has a 9-5-4 mark in its conference openers during its Division I era (since 1999).
About Elon (3-0-2)
Elon enters CAA play with its unbeaten record at 3-0-2 after battling from behind to earn a 1-1 draw at intrastate foe Charlotte on Tuesday, Sept. 12. That match was the Phoenix’s first true road contest of the season after a brief two-game homestand versus Presbyerian and High Point. Last season, the maroon and gold was a strong team away from its home pitch of Rudd Field, posting a 3-1-3 ledger in true road matches.
Defensively, Elon saw its program-best 484-minute shutout streak come to an end against the 49ers, but still remains one of the more formidable units in the nation. The Phoenix is only one of four teams in the country that has allowed just one goal this season and is ranked fourth in the nation in goals-against average at 0.18. The maroon and gold is also fifth in the NCAA in shutout (0.80) and save percentage (0.923). Keeper Matthew Jegier leads the league in GAA, save percentage and shutouts (four). The Charlotte, N.C., native has 20 clean sheets in his career, moving into third all-time in school history and two behind current Toronto FC keeper Clint Irwin ’11 for second all-time.
Offensively, the duo of Elijah Agu and Jaiden Fortune is tied for the CAA-lead in total points with six with the pair having two goals and two assists on the season. Mleczkovicz has had a strong start to his freshman campaign, ranking third in the team with three points with a goal and two assists.
Scouting Hofstra (1-3-2)
The Pride are off to a 1-3-2 start in 2017 and is coming off a 1-0 defeat at UConn on Tuesday. Hofstra has faced a tough schedule so far on the young season with losses at No. 6 Maryland and No. 12 Virginia. The defending league regular season champions were tabbed to finish second in the 2017 CAA Preseason poll.
Hofstra has only accounted for two goals this season and is averaging 11 shots per contest. Preseason 2017 All-CAA pick Danny Elliot and reigning league Rookie of the Year Luke Brown have scored the only goals for the Pride so far on the year with Elliott leading the squad with 20 shots. He also has an assist on the year and leads the program in total points with three.
The Pride defense has conceded eight goals this season, but only two in the last three matches. Hofstra opponents are averaging 14 shots per contest and have amassed 40 corner kicks compared to 21 for the Pride. Netminder Alex Ashton has played every minute between the posts and has a GAA of 1.24 and 23 saves, second in the CAA.
The Phoenix takes a jump out of conference play, hosting NC State next Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Rudd Field. Kickoff for that match is scheduled for 7 p.m.