Two goals in a matter of six minutes over the course of two different games was all it took. The Phoenix women’s soccer team dropped both games of the UNCW Courtyard Marriott Tournament in Wilmington this weekend.
After falling behind early Friday night against Troy University, the Phoenix battled back to send the game to overtime. An earlysixth minute corner kick for the Trojans put the Phoenix down 1-0. The goal came off the head of freshman Payton Donley, who was on the receiving end of junior Cecilia Thorngren’s corner kick. The goal was Donley’s first career collegiate goal.
After battling to keep the game at just a one-goal deficit, Elon found the equalizer in the form of junior midfielder Simi Dhaliwal in the 75th minute. The goal was Dhaliwal’s first of the season. She tallied two goals in 19 appearances for the Phoenix last year.
The Phoenix peppered Trojan goalkeeper Maddie Winters with numerous chances throughout overtime, but couldn’t come up with the golden goal. Then, with 55 seconds remaining in the game, Troy came through. Thorngren sent a ball into the right corner of the goal that beat sophomore goalkeeper Kate Murphy, giving the Trojans a 2-1 victory over the Phoenix.
“We were very good for most of the match and the better team for most of the match,” Phoenix head coach Chris Neal said. “Give Troy credit. They scored a great goal at the end of the game. That loss is very hard to swallow because we were there under a minute to go in double overtime after fighting back from down a goal.”
Turning to Sunday’s contest against the Campbell University Fighting Camels, the Phoenix fell down early again, but couldn’t recover this time, as Elon fell 1-0. Coming into the match, the Fighting Camels were looking to get back in the win column after suffering their first loss of the season on Friday night against the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Seahawks.
Campbell’s goal came in the sixth minute off the foot of sophomore forward Melissa Messier. Redshirt freshman forward Ashley Hartert found Messier on a through ball that came off the foot of Messier past Murphy.
“(Sunday) was kind of a similar story (to Friday,)” Neal said. “We just failed to tie it up. We went down early on a soft goal, then we played a good 85 minutes after it. We were the dominant team in every aspect except the goals.”
Though the Phoenix lost freshman Samantha Burch last week for the season to a torn ACL, they did welcome back to the field junior midfielder Catherine Brinkman. Brinkman played 31 minutes on Friday night against Troy, then increased her time to 46 minutes on Sunday afternoon. Neal said prior to Friday’s game that he would ease Brinkman back into the pace of the game.
Next up for the Phoenix is a road matchup with the High Point University Panthers on Friday, Sept. 14. Kickoff in High Point is set for 7 p.m. Elon knocked off the Panthers last year 2-0 on Rudd Field thanks to two goals from then-freshman Bethany Houpt.