ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team returns to Rudd Field to host its Colonial Athletic Association home opener against James Madison this Saturday, Sept. 23. The match is slated to begin at 7 p.m.
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 Andrew Vendelis and Riley Beal on the call.
The brief series between the Phoenix and the Dukes has been an exciting one that has gone in Elon’s favor so far. The Phoenix is unbeaten in the series, 1-0-2, since becoming league foes in 2014. Last season, both squads battled to a scoreless draw in Harrisonburg, Va., as keeper Matthew Jegier tied a career-high with seven saves in that match. The lone win of the series for the Phoenix came in 2015 at Rudd Field as the maroon and gold earned a 2-1 victory over the Dukes thanks to Jaiden Fortune’s goal in the 82nd minute.
Last Time Out
Elon is coming off posting its third straight draw and fourth of the season after battling NC State to a scoreless stalemate on Tuesday, Sept. 19. The match was the first to be played in Elon in the series between the two programs and the first of three opponents that the Phoenix will face on its schedule from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Jegier earned his 21st career shutout in the match and is one shy of tying former Elon and current Toronto FC netminder Clint Irwin ’11 for second place all-time in school history. The result also pushed Elon’s record to 7-4-5 versus the ACC since 2010.
Mleczkovicz Garners Second Rookie of the Week Honor
Freshman Ronni Mleczkovicz garnered 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-lead in total points with six.
About Elon (3-0-4, 0-0-1 CAA)
Elon enters Saturday’s match unbeaten on the season at 3-0-4 and a 0-0-1 mark in league play after earning a 1-1 draw in its CAA-opener at league defending regular-season champion Hofstra last Saturday, Sept. 16. The seven-match unbeaten streak to start the season is the longest for the program since starting 2015 at 7-0-0.
The Phoenix defense has allowed only two goals this season in 710 minutes of play. Elon is currently tied for third in the nation in fewest goals allowed with the Phoenix playing the most minutes among the teams in the top-five. Elon is also third in the country in goals-against average (0.25), fourth in shutout percentage (0.71) and fifth in save percentage (.900). Overall, Elon opponents are averaging 10.0 shots per match and a total of 20 total shots on goal (2.86 per game). The Phoenix defense has also allowed one opponent goal or fewer in its last nine outings dating back to last season.
Offensively, Elon is averaging 1.14 goals per match and 9.7 shots per game with 26 of those (3.71 per game) coming on goal. Seven different players have at least five shots this season during the first seven matches with six players boasting a goal or an assist. Fortune, Mleczkovicz and Elijah Agu are tied for the team-lead in total points with six as the trio have accounted for six of the Phoenix’s eight goals this season.
Scouting James Madison (3-3-1, 0-0-0 CAA)
The Dukes enter the match on Saturday with a ledger of 3-3-1 and will open CAA play against the Phoenix. JMU is coming off a 4-3 defeat at Radford on Wednesday, Sept. 20, in its most recent contest. Coming off a 5-9-3 record in 2016 with a 3-3-2 mark in league play, the Dukes were picked to finish sixth in the 2017 CAA Preseason poll.
The JMU offense has been among one of the best in the CAA this season, ranking first in points (35), goals (12) and assists (11). Overall, the Dukes are averaging 14.0 shots per game and have fired 52 of those on target just over 53 percent. Sophomore Niclas Mohr leads the offensive attack for JMU with nine points with a three goals and three assists. He along with sophomore midfielder Ben Dao are tied for the CAA-lead in total goals while senior Joe Vyner has a league-best four assists.
Defensively, the Dukes defense has conceded 10 goals, but opponents are averaging just under 10 shots per match with 36 coming on frame at .537 percent. Redshirt freshman TJ Bush has seen the most minutes in goal this season for JMU, boasting a goals-against average of 1.57, a save percentage of .719 and has tallied 23 saves.
The Phoenix will head to the North Carolina coast for a league road match at No. 18 UNCW next Wednesday, Sept. 27. That match begins at 7 p.m.