DURHAM, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team was handed a 2-0 setback at the hands of Vermont in the opening game at the John Rennie/Nike Invitational on Friday evening, Aug. 24, at Koskinen Stadium.
Despite playing a man down in the match for the majority of the game, Vermont (1-0) leveled the all-time series versus the Phoenix (0-1) at 1-1 in the first meeting between the two programs since 2002. The loss was Elon’s first opening game defeat to start the season since 2014.
Elon found itself in favorable position for the match when the Vermont goalkeeper was given a red card for taking down Hassan Pinto just outside the box on a breakaway opportunity inside the 19th minute. The Catamounts would go a man down the rest of the match with its backup netminder.
Vermont however had the better of the Phoenix in the aftermath of the card. Despite being a man down, the Catamounts put the pressure on Elon and scored inside the 24th minute. Vermont’s Jon Amar Bardal had a shot on goal turned away from Matthew Jegier, but in the ensuing scrum near in the box, the carom found the foot of Jon Bryant who slotted it past the defense for a 1-0 Catamount lead.
Elon trailed in shots from the first period, 6-4, with Vermont having two shots on goal compared to one for the Phoenix. The Catamounts also had the lone corner in the opening stanza.
As Elon was throwing numbers forward throughout the second half, Vermont added a late insurance goal in the 88th minute. A misplayed ball by the Phoenix defense deep into Vermont’s offensive third led to an easy goal by the Catamounts to push its lead to 2-0. The match would eventually end in that score.
Vermont slightly won the shot battle, 11-10, with three shots on goal to only one for the Phoenix. Elon forced three corner kicks while allowing only one to the Catamounts. Jegier had one save between the posts while Clay Thomas made one stop for Vermont after coming on in the 20th minute.
The Phoenix returns to the pitch for its final match of the tournament facing No. 20 FIU on Sunday, Aug. 26. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.