ELON, N.C. – For the second time in three games, the Elon University men’s soccer team will face a top-25 opponent when the Phoenix take on No. 7 Virginia on Thursday, Aug. 30, in Charlottesville, Va. The Phoenix will kick off versus the Cavaliers at 7 p.m. at Klöckner Stadium.
Updates of the match this Thursday will be provided on Twitter at the program’s handle @ElonMSoccer. The game will also be streamed on the ACC Network Extra, which is available to authenticated subscribers of ESPN3 through WatchESPN and the ESPN app.
The Phoenix and the Cavaliers have met just once in their histories on the soccer pitch during the regular season, a 3-1 victory by Virginia in 2000. Since joining the Division I level in 1999, Elon has posted a 9-30-8 all-time mark versus current teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but has a 6-6-4 mark against the ACC since 2011. Three of those wins have come versus ranked opponents including a pair of top-10 victories over Wake Forest in 2013 and 2015.
• The Phoenix begins the start of a three-match road trip this Thursday at Virginia. Elon will also travel to Rutgers on Sunday, Sept. 2, before closing out against Triad rival High Point on Sept. 8.
• Elon is coming off splitting its games last weekend, Aug. 24-26 at the John Rennie/Nike Invitational at Duke University. After a 1-0 setback versus Vermont to open the season on Friday, Elon bounced back with a 3-0 defeat against No. 20 FIU on Sunday.
• Senior midfielder Jack Willbye and redshirt junior defender Hassan Pinto earned a spot on the All-Tournament team for their play at the John Rennie/Nike Invitational.
• The Phoenix’s win over No. 20 FIU marked Elon’s first win over a top-20 ranked opponent since 2015. Since 2012, Elon has posted an 8-7-1 ledger versus ranked opponents.
• Redshirt senior keeper Matthew Jegier earned the 27th clean sheet of his career against FIU on Sunday. The Charlotte, N.C., native extends his career program record in that category.
• Virginia will be the first of two teams that Elon will see on its schedule from the ACC this season. The Phoenix will also host Duke in its final regular-season home match on Oct. 23.
• The Phoenix returns 19 letterwinners and eight starters from last year’s squad and second-year head coach Marc Reeves. Reeves helped lead the Phoenix to a 7-5-6 ledger in 2017 and its fourth straight trip to the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.
• Elon welcomes 14 newcomers to its roster this season including a pair of spring sophomore transfers in JP Meibohm and SahrFelix Sandy. Meibohm came to the Phoenix from Fort Lewis University while Sandy arrives from Marshall.
Last Time Out
The Phoenix earned a 3-0 victory over No. 20 FIU in its finale at the John Rennie/Nike Invitational last Sunday, Aug. 26, at Duke University. Elon’s win over the Panthers was its first in the all-time series and also its first against a ranked opponent since 2015.
The Phoenix offense was paced by first-time goal scorers in freshman Valdi Jonsson and junior Jimmy Contino. Jonsson put Elon on the board first inside the 36th minute after following up on a failed clearance by the Panthers. After halftime, an own goal from the Panthers near the 60th minute aided the Phoenix with a 2-0 advantage before Contino concluded the scoring for the maroon and gold at the 71st minute mark with his first career goal. The Phoenix would end the match with a 14-11 shot advantage with seven coming on goal compared to three for the Panthers.
The Cavaliers are 1-0 on the young season after earning a 1-0 victory versus New Hampshire on Friday, Aug. 24, at home. The lone goal came from sophomore Joe Bell, who scored the game-winner with 20 seconds left in regulation. Virginia, who began this season ranked 15th in the United Soccer Coaches Association poll, jumped eight spots to its current ranking of seventh in the latest poll on Tuesday.
Virginia returned 19 letterwinners from its team that went 12-4-5 a year ago and reached the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers were also tabbed to finish second in the Coastal Division in the 2018 ACC Preseason Poll. Among the notable returners for Virginia includes Bell, an ACC All-Freshman honoree and senior defender Sergi Nus, a Second Team All-South Region selection.
Elon will be back on the road this Sunday, Sept. 2, with a trip to Rutgers. That match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.