The Elon University men’s soccer team stepped onto the field against the University of Delaware one win away from winning the Colonial Athletic Association in its first year in the conference, a feat few teams are able to accomplish and one that looked improbable given the team’s struggles through the nonconference portion of its schedule.

That dream, though, came to a crashing demise, as the Phoenix was unable to climb out of a 2-0 first half deficit and fell to the Blue Hens 2-1 on Nov. 2 in Newark, Delaware.

Instead of hoisting up the regular season trophy, the Phoenix dropped to the No. 4 seed in the tournament, and will host Northeastern University — which Elon pounded 5-0 at Rudd Field on Oct. 11 — in next Saturday’s quarterfinals.

The winner will then advance to play one seed and host Delaware in the semifinals.

It appeared initially as though the Phoenix was going to be run off the field, as the Blue Hens scored two goals in the 21st and 37th minutes on goals from sophomore midfielder Guillermo Delgado and senior forward Kyle Bruno to take a commanding 2-0 lead.

But the Phoenix continued to put pressure on the Blue Hens’ back line, eventually forcing an error by the Hens’ back line on a soft own goal in the 62nd minute to cut the lead in half.

But the Phoenix could get no closer despite the handful of quality chances it had in the game’s closing minutes, and the Blue Hens held on for the win.

The Phoenix drops to 9-5-4 overall, and 4-2-2 in conference play.

Elon’s game with the Huskies will kickoff at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8.


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