ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team will close out its regular-season home schedule and bid a fond farewell to its senior class as the Phoenix welcomes Colonial Athletic Association opponent Drexel to Rudd Field on Saturday, Oct. 21. Kickoff is set for 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 streamed on Elon’s Phoenix All-Access channel with Jake Young and Matt Holzapfel on the call.
The brief series between the Phoenix and the Dragons has been dominated by maroon and gold as Elon has a perfect 3-0 record over Drexel since joining the CAA in 2014. Last season, Elon earned a 2-0 victory at Drexel behind goals from Elijah Agu and Jaiden Fortune in the second half. A year earlier, the Phoenix defeated the Dragons at Rudd Field, 3-1.
Last Time Out
A penalty kick in the first half and a late goal in the closing minutes propelled second-ranked Wake Forest to a 2-0 win over the Phoenix on Tuesday, Oct. 17. The match snapped Elon’s four-game win streak versus the Demon Deacons in the Phoenix’s first regular-season matchup versus a top-five team since 2009.
The 2016 reigning national runner-up attacked the Phoenix quite early and often, but Elon hung with the Demon Deacons throughout the majority of the opening stanza. Elon would get an unfortunate handball called against them inside the box rewarding the Demon Deacons with a penalty kick inside the 25th minute. Wake Forest converted on the opportunity to take the lead, 1-0, and went into the half ahead of the Phoenix.
As Elon threw numbers forward during the second half in an attempt to level the match, Wake Forest took advantage of an unbalanced Phoenix defense for it second goal of the match in the 88th minute. Ema Twumasi played the ball on a breakaway and maneuvered around defenders inside 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.
Thank You Seniors
Saturday’s match will be the final home regular-season game for Phoenix seniors Elijah Agu and Jonathan Coleby. The duo has been a part of 35 victories and a co-CAA regular-season championship while helping the program to its first top-10 national ranking in 2015. Both players were also contributors on a team that earned the program’s first-ever victory in the NCAA Tournament and helped Elon advance to the second round for second time in school history. Individually, both players represented the Phoenix on the All-CAA teams last season.
About Elon (4-4-6, 1-2-3 CAA)
Heading into the match versus the Dragons, Elon sits seventh in the CAA standings with six points, just outside of the top-six that qualifies for the league championship tournament. The Phoenix trails sixth-place Delaware by just a point and can jump into the top-six with a win this weekend and a Blue Hens lost at current No. 3 seed College of Charleston this Saturday.
Tuesday’s game versus the Demon Deacons was only the second multi-goal match allowed by the maroon and gold defense this season. Elon is still the lone team in the CAA that has allowed only single-digit goals (eight) to opponents and leads the league in goals-against average (0.57) and shutouts. Keeper Matthew Jegier has manned every minute between the posts this season and needs one more shutout to tie Nathan Dean ’14 for the most career clean sheets in program history.
Despite a four-goal outing versus Northeastern in its last CAA contest, the Phoenix has struggled to put the ball in the back of the net this season, averaging less than a goal per match (0.93) in 2017. Sophomore striker Tuki Tayali became the second Phoenix player in as many seasons to net a hat trick with his three-score effort against the Huskies last Saturday. The London, England, native was named the CAA Co-Player of the Week on Monday, Oct. 16, and is tied for the team-lead in total points with eight on his team-high four goals.
Scouting Drexel (2-10-1, 1-4-1 CAA)
After earning its first league victory of the season versus Northeastern on Sept. 30, Drexel has failed to claim a victory in October, losing five straight including a 3-0 setback versus Lehigh in its most recent contest on Tuesday. Including Saturday’s match, Drexel will close out the regular with three out of four matches on the road.
Drexel has combined for 15 goals total over the past two seasons including eight this year through its 13 matches. The Dragons are averaging 8.5 shots per match and have fired 45 shots on target this season. Junior Sebastien Cabral has a team-best three goals this season and is tied for the program-lead with six points.
Defensively, the Dragons have conceded 31 goals this season (2.38 per match) with opponents firing 115 shots on target and just over 43 percent. Drexel opponents have done the most damage in the opening stanza, outscoring the Dragons 18-3 with a 132-49 shot differential. Jacob Jordan has started every game in goal for the Dragons and leads the CAA in total saves with 84. The Philadelphia, Pa., native has a GAA of 2.33 and a .730 save percentage.
The Phoenix travels on the road for its final nonconference match of the year as Elon treks to intrastate foe Davidson on Tuesday, Oct. 24. That match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.