The Elon University men's soccer team came from behind for the second time in three matches in its 2-1 victory against James Madison University in a Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play Oct. 17.
“That, to me, was a stereotypical CAA soccer game," said head coach Chris Little. "You’re going to face tough teams that can punish you if you make a mistake and they’re going to fight to the end.”
Freshman forward Jaiden Fortune gave Elon the lead in the 81st minute. James Madison struggled to clear the ball from its own defensive line and the ball fell to Fortune, who slipped through a pair of defenders, rounded the keeper and kicked the ball into the top of the net for his fourth goal of the season.
“The ball kind of bobbled around a little bit, bounced off a few players and it just fell to our feet,” Fortune said. “To be honest I didn’t have much time to think after that. I just went off instincts.”
The Dukes took the lead in the ninth minute. Redshirt junior midfielder Connor Coward was played in by redshirt freshman midfielder Billy Metzler and curled one into the far post for his first goal of the season.
“I thought our players were a bit nervous, actually, the first 10 minutes,” Little said. ”I thought we were too tentative.”
Little also added that for the rest of the first half, the team looked sharper and was able to create better chances.
The Phoenix equalized in the 38th minute. Senior midfielder Eduardo Alvarez whipped in a corner from the left side and fellow senior defender Nathan Diehl rose high to head the ball home for his third goal of the season.
Elon nearly took the lead in the 56th minute, when senior forward Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler picked up a pass from senior midfielder Miguel Salazar, turned a couple of defenders and went on an exciting run which ended in a shot that missed just over the bar.
The Dukes nearly had a spectacular solo goal of their own in the 66th minute. JMU redshirt sophomore Toby Appleton dribbled through the Elon defense, but redshirt freshman Matthew Jegier stood strong at the near post to make the close range save.
Elon came within inches of taking the lead in the 74th minute. Sophomore midfielder Luis Argudo got on the end of a cross at the far post, but the ball hit the underside of the crossbar and out for a corner. The ensuing corner was headed on by Diehl, but his header went straight to the James Madison goalkeeper.
With Hofstra University's loss to the College of Charleston, Elon is now tied for first in conference play with Hofstra . Elon will hit the road for its final non-conference away match against Duke University 7 p.m., Oct. 20.