The No. 24 Elon University men's soccer team pulled out a 1-0 victory in overtime against Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) rival College of Charleston Saturday, clinching a share of the conference title with Hofstra University.
The Senior Night game, marred by untimely penalties and missed opportunities, was scoreless through 90 minutes of regulation as well as the first 10-minute overtime period. But with barely a minute to go in the second golden-goal overtime period, senior defender Nathan Diehl nailed a header into the top-right corner on a crafty find from senior midfielder James Brace.
Though the match nearly went the full 110 minutes, Diehl wasn't particularly surprised the Phoenix found a way to pull out a victory late in the match.
“As a team we have a lot of character and grit, and that’s the foundation of our team and our team’s success this season,” Diehl said.
Elon outshot the College of Charleston 28-15 during the Halloween match, but only eight shots were on target during the entire match. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Matthew Jegier saved all three Cougar shots on goal, while Cougar junior goalkeeper Kevin Shields saved four of the five Elon shots on goal, with the lone exception being Diehl’s golden-goal.
The win secured the Phoenix a co-CAA conference title, and as the No. 2 seed in the upcoming conference tournament, they're now guaranteed a first-round bye as well. Hofstra, who lost 2-0 to James Madison University Saturday, is the No. 1 seed for the tournament because they beat Elon 1-0 Oct. 24.
Elon finished 6-2 in conference play, and is 13-4 overall heading into the regular season finale in a rescheduled showdown at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 against Radford University.