Senior midfielder James Brace’s strike in the 26th minute proved to be the difference maker in the Elon University men’s soccer team’s 1-0 victory over Lipscomb University.
"We had a lot of opportunities to get a second goal and kill the game off,” said head coach Chris Little. “When you don’t get a second goal, there’s a lot of parity in college soccer and teams are going to hang in there.”
A chipped pass from freshman forward Amir Berkane was controlled by Brace in the center of the box and slots the ball into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
“It was a good ball from Amir and I ran onto it,” Brace said. “I can’t remember much about the finish to be honest, I just tried to get it on target after missing from about four yards out with a header [earlier.]”
Little was happy to see his playmaker finally get on the score sheet, which was long overdue.
“He’s been getting in good positions, today he probably could have gotten one or two more,” Little said. “It just hasn’t been bouncing for him, so it was good for him to get a goal today and it’ll help his confidence.”
The Phoenix had the ball in the back of the net again in the 26th minute, but the linesman on that side of the field called for offside. Freshman forward Jaiden Fortune had out muscled his defender and coolly lifted the ball over the oncoming Lipscomb keeper while falling to the ground.
Lipscomb had a chance to pull a goal back with a corner kick in the 50th minute, but redshirt sophomore defender Cameron Botes’ header was corralled by redshirt freshman goalkeeper Matthew Jegier. Lipscomb had another chance in the 58th minute. Junior forward Brandon Braumuller rose high to meet a cross from the left wing, but his header flashed wide of the right post.
Senior forward Caue Da Silva had a chance to put the game away in the 83rd minute. Freshman defender Nicholas O’Callaghan whipped in a cross from the left wing, but Da Silva’s near post header was deflected out for a corner kick.
Lipscomb had another opportunity to level the match with a scramble in the box in the 89th minute. After a number blocks and failed clearances the ball landed at the feet of redshirt freshman forward Logan Paynter, but he dribbled just wide of the far post.
Little said there weren’t any times where he felt Jegier was really tested and said Lipscomb’s confidence came from the Phoenix’s inability to put the game away with a second goal.
With another nonconference tilt behind it, the Phoenix resumes Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play at 7 p.m. Oct. 14 with a trip to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.