ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team will host a top-five program for the first time in eight years as the Phoenix will hit the pitch versus second-ranked Wake Forest on Tuesday, Oct. 17. Kickoff between both teams is set for 7 p.m. at Rudd Field.
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 streamed on Elon’s Phoenix All-Access channel with Andrew Vendelis and Jake Young on the call.
The Phoenix and the Demon Deacons have a long history dating back to 1979, however the two programs started facing each other nearly on a yearly basis when Elon began Division I play in 1999. Wake Forest holds the upperhand in the all-time series at 8-5-1, but the Phoenix has won the last four meetings including three with the Demon Deacons being ranked in the top-15 or higher. Tuesday’s meeting will be the ninth time Elon will face Wake Forest being ranked. The two teams last squared off in 2015 with Elon coming away with a 1-0 win at the then seventh-ranked Demon Deacons.
Last Time Out
A first-half hat trick from sophomore Tuki Tayali and the first collegiate goal from fellow sophomore John Walden aided the Phoenix to its first Colonial Athletic Association victory of the season as Elon earned a 4-0 win over Northeastern last Saturday, Oct. 14. The four goals were the Phoenix’s best offensive output of the year so far and improved the maroon and gold to 4-3-6 overall and 1-2-3 during league play.
Elon ended the match with 14-10 shot advantage over the Huskies, including a 10-4 mark in the opening stanza. The clean sheet was the CAA-best eighth of the season and the 24th career shutout for redshirt junior keeper Matthew Jegier. The Charlotte, N.C., native is just one shutout shy of tying Nathan Dean ’14 for the most career clean sheets in program history.
Versus the ACC
Wake Forest is the third and final opponent Elon will face on its 2017 schedule from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Since 2010, the Phoenix has posted a 7-5-5 ledger against one of the toughest conferences in the nation in men’s soccer with seven teams ranked in the latest United Soccer Top-25 poll last Tuesday.
Versus Ranked Opponents
Since 2012, Elon has fared well versus ranked opponents with the Phoenix going 9-6-1 overall in those contests including three top-10 victories. Tuesday’s match will be the fourth time this season Elon will play a ranked team and seventh time that it will face a top-five opponent in its Division I history (since 1999). with Elon going 0-5-2 in those games. Wake Forest has faced Elon four times ranked in the top-five all-time.
Tayali Named CAA Co-Player of the Week
Earlier in the day on Monday, Oct. 16, Tayali earned CAA Co-Player of the Week accolades for his performance against the Huskies. It was the first career Player of the Week honor for the London, England, native. The striker became the second Phoenix player in as many seasons to net a hat trick, joining Elijah Agu who also achieved the feat last year versus St. Bonaventure.
About Elon (4-3-6, 1-2-3 CAA)
Coming off its 4-0 win versus Northeastern last Saturday, the Phoenix snapped its eight-game winless streak and remained unbeaten on the home confines of Rudd Field this season. Elon’s victory gave the Phoenix six points on the season and put them in seventh in the CAA standings just outside the top-six that qualifies for the CAA tournament. Elon currently trails Delaware for the final spot with the Blue Hens sitting on seven points during league play. Both teams will meet in the regular-season finale at Newark, Del., on Oct. 28.
The Phoenix’s scoring outburst against the Huskies on Saturday also snapped a three-match goalless drought while giving Elon its first multi-goal match since a 3-0 result versus Triad rival High Point on Sept. 8. On the season, the Phoenix has scored 13 goals and is averaging 9.8 shots per contest with 53 of those coming on goal. Tayali is tied for the team-lead in total points with eight along with Agu, who’s pacing the squad with four assists.
Elon’s defense has only conceded six goals this season and is the only team in the CAA to have allowed single-digit goals to its opponents. The Phoenix remains one of the top defensive teams in the nation ranking third in the country in save percentage (.885) and in the top-five in goals-against average (.419) and shutout percentage (.615). Jegier continues his stellar play in goal as the netminder is fourth in the nation in shutouts (eight) and save percentage (.880) while playing every minute in goal.
Scouting No. 2 Wake Forest (13-1, 6-0 ACC)
The Demon Deacons will enter the match in the midst of another stellar season, suffering just one loss through its first 14 outings, which came versus Georgia State on Sept. 5 in a 2-1 result in overtime. The reigning national runner-up remains unbeaten during ACC play and is on a current 10-game win streak including victories over fellow league foes and top-10 programs No. 6 Clemson and No. 4 North Carolina.
Wake Forest’s offense has been potent this season, scoring multi-goals in 12 of its 14 games including an 8-0 blitz versus Longwood on Oct. 10. The Demon Deacons are first in the nation total goals (44), total points (140), points per game (10.0), assists per game (3.71) and shots on goal (8.50) and are second in shots per match (17.86) and scoring offense (3.14). Senior Jon Bakero leads the nation in total points with 34 on his 11 goals and 12 assists this season, with both marks tops in the ACC. In all, 13 players for Wake Forest has tallied a goal this season with six players having 10 or more shots.
On defense, the Demon Deacons has allowed 10 goals to its opponent with the opposition getting off only 5.6 shots per match with 28 coming on goal. Wake Forest has allowed one goal or fewer in 12 of its 14 matches this season. Andreu Cases Mundet has manned the majority of the minutes in goal this season for the Demon Decons and has turned in a goals-against average of 0.62, a save percentage of .652 and has tallied 15 saves.
Elon concludes the home portion of its regular season this Saturday, Oct. 21, as the Phoenix hosts CAA foe Drexel. That match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Prior to the match, the program will recognize its two seniors in Agu and Jonathan Coleby.