The Elon University women’s soccer team is in Wilmington, N.C. for the UNCW Courtyard Marriott Tournament this weekend. The tournament features four teams, with each team playing two games. The first set of games are on Friday night while the second set takes place Sunday afternoon.
Looking to turn their season around after some early struggles, Elon took on the Troy University Trojans on Friday night and dropped a 2-1 decision to in double-overtime.
“Our spirit, effort and leadership was exceptional in the second half and in overtime tonight,” said Phoenix head coach Chris Neal in a press release. "If we can learn from that from here on out, we can be successful.”
The second game of the tournament for Elon features the Phoenix matched up against Campbell University. The Camels enter the tournament having not lost any of their three matches’ to this point on the season. However, Campbell did battle Francis Marion to a 1-1 draw on Aug. 24. Elon will take on Francis Marion at home on Rudd Field to close out its non-conference schedule on Sept. 16.
“Campbell won 15 games last year, which is a lot,” Neal said. “They’ve already got wins this year over East Carolina and Marshall, so that’s a very very good team on Sunday. I’ll get a chance to watch Campbell play UNCW right after our match so that’ll help give us a really good idea of how we will approach them tactically on Sunday.”
Battling a slow 1-4-1 start to a season, Neal says the team needs to improve on both sides of the ball. Offensively, he says it’s about generating more chances.
“We need to create more chances then we created against Coastal and N.C. State,” Neal said. “We just gave away possession too easily close to the other team’s goal so we need to really cherish our possessions and make sure that we not just get the ball in the opponents final third, but also make sure we get the ball to a dangerous area in front of the goal.”
Defensively, Neal said it has to get better.
“Defensively, we need to work a little bit harder,” he said. “We need to get more numbers behind the ball and make it difficult for teams to break us down.”
The Phoenix will get a little bit of a lift this weekend in the form of junior forward Catherine Brinkman. After leading the team in goals last year, Brinkman returns to the field this weekend from fitness issues that have kept her out of the last four contests.
“(She) passed her fitness test yesterday so she’ll see her first minutes in the field this season, this weekend,” Neal said. “I’m not sure how many, but it will probably be a slow progression.”
[box]Sunday’s game against Campbell is slated to get underway at 2:30 p.m.[/box]