NEWARK, Del. – Grace Bennett’s header in the 83rd minute put the Phoenix in front after Delaware had leveled the match 20 minutes earlier, and Elon University women’s soccer earned three massive points in the Colonial Athletic Association standings with a 2-1 road victory at Delaware on Thursday night, Oct. 19, at Stuart & Suzanne Grant Stadium.
“I’m incredibly proud of our squad tonight,” said head coach Chris Neal. “Delaware is a tough environment to play in and everything was on the line tonight. Our players are tough and they came through at the end. Great players make big play when everything is on the line.”
The Phoenix improves to 9-5-4 overall and moves to sixth in the CAA standings with a 2-3-3 mark in league play. Elon controls its own destiny to get into the CAA postseason against Drexel in its regular season finale on Sunday afternoon.
Elon was on the front foot right out of the gate as Hannah Doherty put a shot a frame and Delaware goalkeeper Kailyn Rekos made a fantastic save in the fifth minute.
Sydney Schilling put the Phoenix ahead 1-0 in the 22nd minute after Tori Baliatico drew a penalty after getting tripped up in the box. Schilling drilled her shot from the spot right down the middle to put Elon in front.
Delaware was denied its first goal-scoring chance moments later as Hanna Macaulay saved Hannah Specht’s shot attempt in the 23rd minute. Baliatico’s chance to extend Elon’s lead in the 29th minute sails high over the goal.
Meredith Christopher produced Elon’s best chance of the half to extend the lead in the 37th minutes as she dribbled past the goalkeeper. However, her shot from a tight angle on the right side hit the post and Elon kept a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
After there were no shots taken in the first nine minutes of the second half, Christopher hit the post again in the 55th minute.
Jillian Vassallo leveled the match for the Blue Hens in the 63rd minute to make the score 1-1 after her third goal of the season.
Following a few Elon substitutions, Schilling created a chance for the Phoenix to retake the lead but her attempt in the 70th minute missed wide. Amanda Lasater also produced an opportunity just seven minutes later and Rekos was there for another Delaware save.
Just 7:05 remaining in the match, Reena Wichmann served a perfect cross to the top of the six yard box and Bennett headed the ball past Rekos for Elon’s game-winner. The Phoenix held defensively not allowing a shot over the final seven minutes to hold on to the victory.
WHAT IS AT STAKE
– The Phoenix moves into sixth in the CAA standings after tonight’s and controls its own destiny. If Elon wins, they are in the CAA Championships with 12 points. Elon can finish as high as fifth in the CAA standings after Sunday’s matches. A draw would see the Phoenix at 10 points and potentially in multiple tiebreaker scenarios.
– After Thursday’s matches, Elon is one point ahead of seventh place William & Mary, two points ahead of UNCW and Towson, and three ahead of Delaware.
– Elon currently owns tiebreaker scenarios against College of Charleston, UNCW, and William & Mary heading into the regular season finale on Sunday.
Seeding for the CAA Championships will be based on regular season round robin competition using the following scoring system: 3 points for a win; 1 points for a tie; 0 points for a loss. In the event of a points tie for a position, the tie will be broken as follows:
1. Head-to-head competition. (In the event of a tie, use criteria for multiple tied teams below)
2. Three of more tied teams
a. Compare the combined record of each of the tied teams against the other teams involved in the tie until an advantage is gained. (Example: team A’s combinded record against both team B and team C as compared to B’s combined record against both A and C, etc.)
b. Compare each tied team’s record against the team occupying the highest position in the standings and continue down through the standings until the tie is reduced to a two-team tie (at which time rever to the two-team process), or until one team gains an advantage, thereby winning the higher position.
c. Goal differential in CAA games
d. Goals scored in CAA games
e. Goals allowed in CAA games
f. If a tie still exists, a coin flip conducted by the Commissioner will be used.
The Phoenix hosts the Drexel Dragons for Senior Day on Sunday, Oct. 22, at Rudd Field. Elon will will recognize its seven-member senior class of Susannah Anderson, Kendall Ballotti, Grace Bennett, Molly Gradl, Amanda Lasater, Hanna Macaulay, Sydney Schilling before the matchup against the Dragons kicks off at 1 p.m.