ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s soccer team battled, but came up just short versus Rutgers in its home opener, 1-0, in a tightly contested match on Saturday night, Sept. 7 at Rudd Field.
The Phoenix fell to 1-1-1 overall on the young season while Rutgers improved to 3-0 to stay unbeaten in 2019. The Scarlet Knights outshot the Phoenix overall in the game 10-8 while Elon won the corner kick battle 5-2.
Rutgers would be on the attack early in the opening stanza, getting a shot off in the first 22 seconds of the match. The Scarlet Knights peppered the Phoenix with two shots on target in the first five minutes, but Elon netminder Peter Wentzel was able to make a save on both attempts to keep the match scoreless.
Wentzel had to step up to provide another big play in the 16th minute. Elon had earned a corner, but Rutgers gained control of the possession off the set piece and had a breakaway towards the other end. Wentzel was able to contest a shot by Rutgers’ Hugo Le Guennec, making his third save of the contest.
Elon would get its first shot of the night in the 32nd minute and another that went on target in the 42nd minute. A Scarlet Knight foul gave the Phoenix a free kick look from about 25 yards out, but the bended shot from Kasper Lehm was saved by Rutgers’ keeper before both teams went into the half.
In the second period, Wentzel made his fourth save of the game in the 47th minute, deflecting away a header attempt by Jackson Temple. The Ettlingen, Germany, native added another save 11 minutes later, his fifth of the match.
The game would move away from the deadlocked scoreless bout in the 71st minute. An own goal by the Phoenix put the Scarlet Knights on the board and gave them a 1-0 advantage.
Elon worked to to move numbers up to chase the evasive equalizer. The Phoenix had two good looks off a Lewis Green free kick in the 86th minute and another try by Iñigo Bronte in the 87th, but both players were turned away from Rutgers’ keeper Oren Asher. The match would later end with the Phoenix’s first setback of the year in the 1-0 defeat.
The Phoenix continues its homestand with a visit from fellow Piedmont Triad rival High Point on Wednesday, Sept. 11. That match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.