ELON, N.C. – Elon University women’s soccer returns to the friendly confines of Rudd Field on Sunday night, Aug. 19, to host Triad rival UNCG in its home opener. The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
FOLLOW THE PHOENIX
Updates on the Phoenix’s matches against the Spartans will be provided on Twitter at the program’s handle, @ElonWSoccer. You can follow the match with live stats by clicking here.
LAST TIME OUT
– The Phoenix opened its season on Thursday with a thrilling 5-4 overtime victory over the Liberty Flames. Taylor Paradoski scored her first-career hat trick and her game-winning goal in overtime completed Elon’s comeback victory.
– The maroon and gold found itself down 2-1 in the first half and 4-2 with 25 minutes remaining in regulation. Paradoski and Olivia Kraebel’s late goals sent the match into overtime and Paradoski’s goal in the 97th minute sealed the comeback.
– Sunday is the 23rd all-time meeting between the Phoenix and the Spartans since beginning the series in 1988. UNCG leads the series against Elon and the Spartans won the last matchup in 2017 with a slim 2-1 win at UNCG Soccer Stadium on Aug. 24. The last time Elon defeated UNCG was a 1-0 victory on Oct. 26, 2011 in Greensboro.
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. He earned his first-career victory on Thursday night with an overtime win over Liberty.
– 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. The former Coastal Carolina standout also spent four seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, where the Chanticleers claimed back-to-back Big South regular season titles in his final two years.
ON THE BRINK OF 300
The Elon University women’s soccer program sits at 299 victories as a program and need one win to reach 300.
– 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.
– The Spartans opened its 2018 campaign on Friday with a 2-1 victory over Gardner-Webb at UNCG Soccer Stadium as Kaley Tucker provided the game-winner for the Spartans in the 57th minute.
– The reigning Southern Conference Tournament Champions received the most first-place votes with five in the 2018 SoCon Coaches’ Preseason Poll and was selected to finish second.
The Phoenix begins a three match road swing on Thursday, Aug. 23, facing another former Southern Conference foe in Western Carolina. Kickoff against the Catamounts is set for 7 p.m.