ELON, N.C. – A first-half penalty kick plus a late goal in the final minute proved to be the difference as second-ranked Wake Forest topped the Elon University men’s soccer team, 2-0, on Tuesday night, Oct. 17, in an early-week matchup between the two programs at Rudd Field.
Elon fell to 4-4-6 on the season and saw its four-match win streak versus the Demon Deacons snapped. Wake Forest improved to 14-1 on the year and won its 11th game in a row. The Demon Deacons also improved its series record versus Elon to 9-5-1 with its first win versus the Phoenix since 2010.
The reigning national runner-up a season ago attacked the Phoenix quite early and often, but Elon hung with the Demon Deacons throughout the majority of the opening stanza. Wake Forest had a slight edge in shots, 10-7, with three total coming on frame. The Phoenix also allowed four corners in the opening 45 minutes, but was unharmed on the set pieces.
The Phoenix’s best chance in the opening period came at the seventh minute. As the maroon and gold raced down towards its offensive third, the keeper for Wake Forest came out to clear the ball out of play. The netminder however only cleared it so far to Elijah Agu, who stood about 25 yards away from the goal. With the net clear and the defense scrambling, Agu fired a shot high that curved towards the crossbar, but the ball sailed too high over the goal.
Inside the 25th minute with Wake Forest bearing down pressure on the maroon and gold defense, Elon attempted to force a difficult look for the Demon Deacons on a cross into the box. The ball however caught the arm of a defender with the official quickly rewarding a penalty kick for Wake Forest. Luis Argudo took the assignment and connected on his eighth goal of the season to put the Demon Deacons ahead 1-0.
Elon looked to return the pressure on Wake Forest in the beginning of the second half, but was once again on its heels. The Demon Deacons peppered the Phoenix with a pair of shots and a couple of corner kicks in the first 12 minutes of the second period.
The Phoenix had its lone shot on target of the night in the 61st minute. Tuki Tayali received a cross inside the box and attempted a header towards goal. The striker however was not able to get a clean shot on it, enabling the keeper to make an easy save.
Luke Matthews had another good chance for the Phoenix in the 83rd minute off a free kick. As the ball sailed inside the box and darted through traffic, it found the foot of Matthews who gave it a quick strike near the six-yard area. The ball carried too high off the mark though to give possession back to the Demon Deacons.
As time bled off the clock with the Phoenix throwing numbers forward, Wake Forest was able to seal it with a late goal in the final minute. Ema Twumasi played the ball on a breakaway and maneuvered around the Phoenix scrambling defense in the box. As Twumasi attempted to make a move, he was dispossessed by the Phoenix only for the carom to find the feet of Hank Gauger. Gauger took a quick shot that was just out of reach of the Phoenix keeper and slowly went into the back of the net for a two-score lead. That would set the final score as Elon fell to No. 2 Wake Forest 2-0.
Inside the Box Score
• Wake Forest won the overall shot battle, 10-7, over the Phoenix with four attempts coming on goal. The Demon Deacons also had an 8-1 advantage on corners.
• Matthew Jegier played all 90 minutes in goal for Elon and made a pair of saves.
• This was only the second multi-goal game allowed by the Phoenix this season with the first coming at No. 15/14 UNCW on Sept. 27.
• Elon saw its record versus ranked teams this season fall to 0-3-1. The Phoenix also went 0-3 versus programs from the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2017.
• Tayali led the Phoenix with three shots. Four other players attempted a shot for Elon.
• The Phoenix held Demon Deacon forward Jon Bakero without a shot or an assist in the match. Bakero came into the match leading the nation in total points with 34 on 11 goals and 12 assists.
Elon returns to Rudd Field for its home regular-season finale as the Phoenix hosts Colonial Athletic Association foe Drexel on Saturday, Oct. 21. That match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The program will also honor its two seniors, Agu and Jonathan Coleby, prior to the match.