ELON, N.C. – Elon University women’s soccer kicks off its 2018 season under first-year head coach Neil Payne on Thursday, Aug. 16, at Liberty University. The match will begin at 6 p.m. inside Osborne Stadium.
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Updates on the Phoenix’s matches against the Pride will be provided on Twitter at the program’s handle, @ElonWSoccer. You can watch the match live on ESPN+ with a paid subscription. Follow the match with live stats here.
• Elon holds an 8-6-2 lead in the all-time series against Liberty. This will be the first meeting between the two sides since 2013, where the Phoenix earned a 2-0 victory at Rudd Field on Sept. 20, 2013.
THE NEIL PAYNE ERA BEGINS
• Neil Payne begins his career as the head coach of the Elon University women’s soccer program after spending the last three seasons as the associate head coach at Texas Tech.
• Prior to working with the Red Raiders, Payne spent 13 years as the Technical Director for Real Colorado and two years with Raleigh Express of the USL-A leage. He also spent four seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Coastal Carolina where the Chanticleers claimed back-to-back Big South regular season titles in his final two years after finishing his four-year career as a player with the men’s soccer program.
• Payne inherits a Phoenix program that went 9-6-4 in 2017 and returns five of 11 starters from last year. Overall, 20 letterwinners from a season ago are back for Elon. The maroon and gold has also infused a group of 10 freshmen into the fold heading into the new season.
• The Phoenix is led by a four-member senior class of Tori Baliatico, Lauren McKeever, Jenny Riemer and Nyah Spearman. Elon also returns a 2017 All-CAA Rookie Team member in redshirt sophomore Hannah Doherty.
• Elon was picked to finish eighth in the 2018 CAA Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll.
• Liberty is preparing for its first ever season as a member of the ASUN Conference in 2018. The Lady Flames were picked to finish third as the conference released its preseason poll.
• The Flames begin its second season under head coach Lang Wedemeyer, who led Liberty to a 10-3-7 overall record and finished as the No. 2 seed with a 7-1-1 mark in the Big South last season.
The Phoenix returns back to campus to host UNCG in its home opener on Sunday, Aug. 19. Kickoff at Rudd Field is set for 7 p.m.