ELON, N.C. – After a brief two-match road stint, the Elon University men’s soccer team will return home for the first of two matches at Rudd Field this week as the Phoenix hosts NC State on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Both teams are set 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 match will be broadcasted live through Elon’s Phoenix All-Access channel with Josh Gresh and David Flynt on the call.
Soccer Scarf Promotion
Prior to tomorrow’s match, tickets will be given to the first 100 students that arrive to the game to receive an Elon soccer scarf. Students will receive a ticket starting at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow and it will be redeemed for a voucher at the end of the NC State match. Students can turn in the voucher on Saturday, Sept. 23, to receive their scarfs at the Phoenix’s match versus James Madison.
Elon and NC State have met seven times on the soccer pitch in a series dating back to 1974. The Wolfpack holds a 5-2 advantage over the Phoenix all-time, but both squads have only met twice in the regular season over the past 12 years. Elon won the most recent matchup last season in Raleigh, 2-0, with senior Elijah Agu scoring a goal in that contest.
Last Time Out
Freshman Ronni Mleczkovicz’s goal off a free kick helped the Phoenix to a 1-1 draw at Hofstra this past Saturday, Sept. 16, in the Colonial Athletic Association opener for both teams. Mleczkovicz’s goal came in the 25th minute as his direct kick was sent to the upper right corner of the goal for his second score in as many games to give Elon a 1-0 advantage.
The lead did not last long as the Pride went on the attack just seven minutes later. Hofstra’s Danny Elliott played the ball off a Phoenix miscue and fired the ball into an open net to knot the match at 1-1.
The match went into overtime, but after 110 minutes of action, neither of team could not find the evasive go-ahead goal as the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Mleczkovicz Garners Second Rookie of the Week Honor
Speaking of Mleczkovicz, the Gothenburg, Sweden, native garner his second Rookie of the Week accolade from the CAA on Monday, Sept. 18. Mleczkovicz scored a goal in each of the Phoenix’s two matches last week on the road at Charlotte and at Hofstra and is now tied for the team and league-lead in total points with six. He’s also averaging 1.50 points per match, currently best in the CAA.
Versus the ACC
NC State will be the first of three teams that Elon will face on its schedule from the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC is arguably the toughest men’s soccer conference in the nation with eight teams ranked in the top-25 of the latest United Soccer Coaches poll from last Tuesday, Sept. 12. Since 2010, Elon has fared well against ACC opponents, posting a 7-4-4 ledger including four straight wins against Wake Forest with the Demon Deacons being ranked. The Phoenix will face Wake Forest and Duke later this season.
About Elon (3-0-3)
The Phoenix enters the match still unbeaten on the season after coming off a pair 1-1 draws on the road last week at Charlotte and Hofstra. The six-game unbeaten streak is the longest for the program to open a season since opening the year 7-0 in 2015 and the longest unbeaten streak overall since last season when the Phoenix went 3-0-2 during a stretch from Sept. 24 to Oct. 15.
Elon is averaging 10 shots per match on the season, but have had 21 shots on target at a 35 percent clip. Seven different Phoenix players have attempted at least five shots through the team’s first six matches with six players boasting a goal or an assist. Mleczkovicz along with senior Elijah Agu and junior Jaiden Fortune lead the Phoenix with two goals apiece along with a pair of assists. The trio has combined for six of the Phoenix’s eight goals scored this season.
The Phoenix defense has allowed only two goals in 600 minutes of action this season, with both coming in the past two games. Elon opponents are averaging just above 10 shots per match (10.3) with 18 of those coming on frame at 29 percent. The maroon and gold saw its program-best 484-minute shutout streak snap against the 49ers last week, but still leads the CAA in fewest goals allowed (two), goals-against average (0.33) and shutouts (four). Matthew Jegier has manned every minute in goal this season for Elon and is two clean sheets shy of tying former Phoenix and current Toronto FC netminder Clint Irwin ’11 for second all-time in school history in career shutouts at 22.
Scouting NC State (3-2)
NC State enters Tuesday’s match with a 3-2 record and is coming off a 3-0 defeat at No. 2 Notre Dame on Friday, Sept. 15. The Wolfpack finished 2016 with a 5-12 record and a 1-7 ledger in ACC play and were tabbed to finish sixth in the Atlantic division in the 2017 ACC Preseason poll. NC State is under the direction of first-year head coach George Kiefer, who joined the squad spending the previous 15 seasons building a perennial power at USF.
The Wolfpack have scored eight goals on the season (1.60 per match) and is averaging nearly 11 shots per match (10.8). NC State is managing to put just over 46 percent of those shots on target while also earning 27 corner kicks. Two players have scored six of the team’s eight goals on the year with junior striker Tanner Roberts and rookie forward Manny Perez tying the team-lead with three goals apiece.
Defensively, NC State has conceded nine goals this season (1.80 per match) with four of those coming in the past two games. Wolfpack opponents are averaging nine shots per match with .444 percent of those attempts coming on frame. First-year Leon Krapf keeper has manned every minute between the posts this season for NC State, boasting a 1.79 GAA with 10 saves, a .526 save percentage and a shutout.
Elon returns back into CAA play this weekend as the maroon and gold hosts James Madison on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Rudd Field. Kickoff for that match is scheduled for 7 p.m.