It’s been a long road filled with injuries and disappointment this season for the Elon University women’s soccer team, but, the regular season comes to a close tonight against cross-town rival University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Holding a 6-7-6 record overall, with a 4-2-4 record in conference play, the Phoenix will take on the Spartans in search of locking up the fifth seed in the conference tournament set to start on Sunday, Oct. 28. Either way, they are guaranteed a road game and this will the final game on Rudd Field for the team this season.
There are many scenarios to figure Elon’s final placement in the standings. This game even has implications of who finishes the regular season as the conference champion, as UNCG is fighting with Samford University for the honors.
The short story first: should the Spartans win or tie, they are the Southern Conference regular season champions. If they lose, they would need help from eliminated Chattanooga to knock off Samford in order to keep the top spot.
Now for Elon’s situation. For the record, the Phoenix has 16 points. (Buckle up. This is long and it can get confusing.)
IF ELON WINS: If the Phoenix win, they make it easy and the rest of this article will be rendered useless because the team made something easy for once this season. A win gives the Phoenix the fifth seed in the conference even if Davidson College ties them with a win of their own against Georgia Southern University and Appalachian State University loses to Western Carolina University. All three teams would finish with 19 points, but both lost to Appalachian State, which would give the Mountaineers the No. 4 seed. To break the Elon/Davidson tie, you would go to the top of the standings because the two tied in their match this season on Oct. 14. The Phoenix would have a win at hand over UNCG, which would give them the win in the tiebreaker for fifth place.
IF ELON AND DAVIDSON BOTH LOSE: Each team would have 16 points, so the tiebreak works from the top down again. This time, it would work its way down in the standings to Furman because Samford, UNCG and Appalachian State all beat Elon and Davidson. Elon beat Furman on Oct. 7 while Davidson lost to the Paladins this season. Elon would win the No. 5 seed. College of Charleston could come into the picture with a win, but would not be able to beat Elon or Davidson in a tiebreak because both defeated the Cougars. College of Charleston cannot finish better than seventh.
IF ELON AND DAVIDSON BOTH TIE: Tiebreak, again, goes to the top of the standings. Elon will have the tie with UNCG at hand, giving it the win in the tiebreak over Davidson, who lost to UNCG. Elon wins the No. 5 seed.
IF ELON LOSES AND DAVIDSON WINS: Davidson would earn the fifth spot because they would finish with 19 points to Elon’s 16.
Though he wasn’t very happy with his team’s performance last time out against Samford, Elon head coach Chris Neal didn’t think there would be any need for him personally to get his team mentally ready for the Spartans.
“We have a huge one on Wednesday,” Neal said following the Samford game on Sunday, Oct. 21. “I’m not sure how much I really have to do to get them ready. It’s a cross-town rival, at home, under the lights; last game for the seniors ever on Rudd Field. If we can’t get up for that game, there might be something wrong with us.”
Having suffered a concussion against Davidson on Oct. 14, junior midfielder Kimmie Krauss missed both games against Chattanooga and Samford. According to Neal, she is questionable for tonight’s game. Junior forward Chelsey Stark suffered a high-ankle sprain against Chattanooga on Oct. 19. She is also questionable for the game against UNCG.
Last season, the Phoenix topped the Spartans with a 1-0 win on the final day of the regular season. It was the first win in program history over UNCG, dating back to 1988 over the course of 16 games.