MVP: Chris Thomas

Easiest decision we’ll make all day. The senior forward was the leading goal scorer in t

he nation. While everyone drooled over wide receiver Aaron Mellette, Thomas went about his business, putting together the most spectacular single season in program history. He was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year on a nationally-ranked team in a conference that had dynamic playmakers on every squad. He led his team to four wins over nationally ranked opponents, and saw the Phoenix ranked for just the second time in team history.

Thomas then led the Phoenix to the conference regular season title and a second straight conference tournament championship. Whenever the team needed a goal, Thomas stepped up and found the back of the net, time after time. Thomas scored two goals apiece in two of the Phoenix’s biggest wins — University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the University of West Virginia. Much of the Phoenix’s success this season was thanks to the stellar play of their superstar forward, who is projected to be a top-10 draft pick in the upcoming Major League Soccer draft.

Best Game: 2-0 W Sept. 22 against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

We could’ve easily chosen the other three wins the Phoenix had over nationally ranked opponents, but decided Elon’s 2-0 win over Charlotte was the most impressive. The 49ers came to Rudd Field as heavy favorites, and why not? They were the sixth-ranked team in the country, undefeated, and a large, vocal fan base made the short trip to cheer them on. But the Phoenix came out and punched the 49ers in the mouth, playing with a passion previously unseen by the Phoenix faithful.

Chris Thomas scored two first-half goals, forcing the shell-shocked 49ers to chase the game from there on out. The Phoenix kept the 49ers off the scoreboard and walked off Rudd with a win that sent shockwaves through the college soccer world. Head coach Darren Powell, his eyes brimming with pride, had no trepidation in calling his team’s win one of the most significant in program history. The win helped propel the Phoenix to 15 wins, the most victories the team has ever had in Powell’s tenure.

The 49ers made the NCAA Tournament at the end of the season and were eliminated by No. 3 seed Georgetown University in the second round.

Best Moment: 2nd straight Southern Conference Tournament championship

The Phoenix had several memorable moments in a year full of milestones. But the most significant was the Phoenix’s second straight Southern Conference tournament championship and the NCAA tournament appearance that came with it. After escaping a potential upset at the hands of Davidson College, the Phoenix respectively beat Georgia Southern University and Wofford College in the semifinal and final to win back to back conference championships.

The Phoenix defense was fantastic, conceding just two goals in three tournament games after struggling for a stretch of the regular season. The offense, led by Thomas and senior midfielder Gabe Latigue, provided all the scoring the Phoenix needed. The win against Wofford was significant, as it gave the Phoenix a second trip to the NCAA Tournament, just the second appearance in school history.

The win was yet another milestone in a season of firsts for the Phoenix program, which has established itself as one of the Southern Conference’s elite squads.

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by ENN.