ELON, N.C. – Elijah Agu’s score in the 17th minute capped off his senior night and helped the Elon University men’s soccer team to a 1-0 Colonial Athletic Association shutout versus Drexel on Saturday night, Oct. 21, in the final home match of the regular season for the Phoenix at Rudd Field.
Elon (5-4-6, 2-2-3 CAA) improved to nine points during league play and is currently in the sixth spot for the league’s six-team postseason tournament. The Phoenix would need a win or a draw at Delaware next Saturday, Oct. 28, clinch a spot for the postseason with the Blue Hens sitting behind the Phoenix with eight points. Drexel fell to 2-11-1 and 1-5-1 in the CAA with its fourth straight defeat to Elon.
Redshirt junior keeper Matthew Jegier tied Nathan Dean ’14 for first all-time in school history with his 25th career clean sheet. Jegier played all 90 minutes in goal and posted his CAA-best ninth shutout of the season. Those nine clean sheets also tie his single-season personal-best in 2015 and is one shy of Clint Irwin’s ’11 all-time school record of 10, which was set in 2009.
The Phoenix got off to a quick start, getting three corner kicks during the opening 15 minutes of the match. Elon had set piece opportunities inside the first, 14th and 15th minutes of action, but only a header shot by Caner Snover would be the only threat the Phoenix could muster off of those chances.
Heading into the 17th minute, Agu put the Phoenix on the board with his third goal of the year. The Cary, N.C., native sent a ball to John Walden near the top of the 18-yard area and cut towards the goal. Walden fed it right back to Agu on the give-and-go with Agu facing the keeper one-on-one. A defender attempted to dispossess the ball, but Agu was able to quickly maneuver around him a fired a strike towards to right post that ricocheted into the goal to break the stalemate. The goal was Agu’s first since Sept. 9, versus High Point and the 15th of his career.
Elon was not done attacking the Dragons in the opening stanza, peppering Drexel with five more shots during the remainder of the half. The Phoenix best chance came on a free kick near the 29th minute after a Drexel yellow card. Elon sent in a free kick towards the box with the curve finding Nicholas O’Callaghan behind the defense. The Winter Springs, Fla., native however fired a shot that went wide of the net.
The Phoenix finished the opening half with a 7-0 advantage on shots and a 4-1 cushion on corners. Elon also had three shots on frame in the first period.
Drexel was more aggressive in the second half in its chase for the equalizer. The best chances for the Dragons came at the 57th and 66th minute of action. Drexel’s Laolu Daranijo nearly put in a header off a cross into the box, but his attempt went high over the crossbar in the 57th minute. Nearly 10 minutes later, the Dragons almost leveled the match off a corner kick, but Dakota Peterson’s follow went wide of the mark.
A final attempt for the equalizer came at the 82nd minute as Daranijo was on another header, but could not find the accuracy as the shot went wide. That would be as close as Drexel would get in the remainder of the match as Elon held for the 1-0 victory.
Inside the Box Score
• Elon ended the match with a 12-3 advantage in shots and a 5-0 victory in shots on frame.
• The victory was career win No. 80 for Elon first-year head coach Marc Reeves.
• The Phoenix had double-digit shot attempts for the seventh game this season. Elon is 3-0-4 in those matches.
• Tuki Tayali, Snover and Billy Beresford led the Phoenix with a pair of shots each.
• The Phoenix honored its two-person senior class of Agu and Jonathan Coleby prior to the match. Tonight’s win was the 36th for the class.
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.