ELON, N.C. – Matthew Jegier tied former Elon University men’s soccer netminder Clint Irwin ’11 for the second-most career shutouts in school history as the Phoenix played the James Madison Dukes to a scoreless draw in a Colonial Athletic Association match on Saturday night, Sept. 23, at Rudd Field.
The result was Elon’s fourth straight stalemate while keeping the maroon and gold in the ranks of the unbeaten at 3-0-5 on the season and 0-0-2 during CAA play. The Phoenix also remained unbeaten in its series against JMU (3-3-2, 0-0-1 CAA), going to 1-0-3 all-time against the Dukes. The five draws also are the most for Elon in a single-season since 2010.
Facing a team in the top of the CAA in nearly every offensive category, the Phoenix faced some early pressure from the Dukes from the start of kickoff. JMU received a pair of corner kicks inside the fifth and seventh minute of action, but could only muster a Joe Vyner header attempt at the 7:46 mark that went wide.
Elon returned the favor by putting the Dukes on its heels defensively and got its first shot on goal in the 28th minute. Amir Berkane saw his attempt from around the 18-yard area knocked away by the keeper, forcing a corner kick set piece. The ball would eventually find the head of Roko Bedalov, but the Seattle, Wash., native saw his attempt go high over the bar.
The remaining 15 minutes of the opening stanza was marred with fouls by both teams, including three yellow cautions on the Dukes. Elon went into the half with the slight lead in shots, 4-3, and also in corners, 3-2.
In the second half, the Phoenix outshot the Dukes 5-3 over the final 45 minutes of regulation, but could not break the deadlock. In the 69th minute, Jahmeil Curwen had another shot on goal inside the box, but it was saved by JMU’s Sean Connolly in goal. Connolly and the Dukes kept the scoresheet clean for the entire second half, helping the Phoenix into its fifth overtime match of the year.
In the first overtime, both teams had a look for the evasive golden goal. Vyner was on the attack early, forcing Jegier to make a save just 47 seconds into the extra period. The play resulted into a pair of corner kicks for the Dukes, but Elon withstood the onslaught on the set pieces.
Perhaps Elon’s best look of the night came inside the 97th minute. Redshirt sophomore Billy Beresford played the ball off a bounce inside the box near the left post for what seemed to be clear path towards the net. The Sheffield, England, native however headed the ball a tad too much as it sailed high over the bar.
As the match went into the second overtime, JMU’s offensive players came out on the attack aggressively and peppered the Phoenix defense with four shots in the period. Yet the maroon and gold withstood the onslaught including a couple of shots inside the 109th minute that was blocked or punched out by Jegier. The match would eventually close out with the teams earning a point after a scoreless battle.
Inside the Box Score
• Elon has only allowed two goals through 810 minutes of action this season and lowered its goals-against average to 0.22.
• The Phoenix had 10 different players attempt at least one shot tonight with Tuki Tayali leading Elon with two shots.
• James Madison won the final shot battle, 12-11, with a 5-4 advantage on goal. Elon took the slight lead in corners, 9-7.
• There 47 fouls in the match with JMU accounting for 31 of those. The Dukes were also whistled for four of the six cautions in the match.
• Jegier had five saves in the match, a season-high for the redshirt junior. His counterpart Connolly made four stops.
• Jegier tied Irwin for the second-most saves by a Elon keeper in a career with his 22nd. Nathan Dean ’14 currently holds the record for shutouts in career at Elon with 25.
• Jimmy Contino and Caner Snover made their first starts of the year for the Phoenix. Snover, Billy Beresford and Jahmeil Curwen also made their season debuts in tonight’s match.
The Phoenix heads to No. 18 UNCW for its second CAA road match of the season on Wednesday, Sept. 27. That match is scheduled for 7 p.m.