The Elon University men’s soccer team lost for the first time at Rudd Field in 2015, falling 2-0 to Radford University Nov. 4 in nonconference play.
Regular season Big South Conference champions Radford hardly trailed in the match and took the lead 42 seconds into the match, when junior right back Bismark Amofah whipped in a cross, which was then headed in by freshman forward Sivert Daehlie for his 11th goal of the season.
“It was definitely a lapse in concentration,” said senior defender Nathan Diehl. “We were a little sluggish in warmups, and we got punished for it.”
Senior forward Caue Da Silva nearly equalized for the Phoenix in the sixth minute. The São Sebastião do Caí, Brazil, native brought the ball onto his right foot and fired a shot from the left wing, but Highlander redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Aitor Pouseu Blanco managed to get in the slightest of touches to parry the ball wide.
Redshirt junior defender Jonathan Wenger had a chance of his own in the 37th minute when the Radford defense was unable to clear its lines as the ball bounced around in the penalty box. The ball eventually fell at the feet of Wenger, but his shot sailed over the crossbar.
Radford started the second half as brightly as the opening 45 minutes. Three minutes into the half, junior forward Garland Smith slotted the ball past redshirt freshman goalkeeper Matthew Jegier to cap off a quick Radford counterattack.
Head coach Chris Little said he expected Radford to sit back on defense and look to punish Elon on the counter.
“They camped in and here happy to concede possession to us and look to hit on the break,” Little said. “Tactically I thought we had the right plan, but both goals coming at the time they did couldn’t have been at worse times.”
Elon’s best chance came in the 54th minute. Freshman forward Jaiden Fortune sent a strong pass to freshman midfielder Billy Beresford, but Beresford's point-blank effort was saved by Blanco.
Senior midfielder James Brace had a chance of his own in the 70th minute. A Radford defender misjudged a long ball into the box, allowing the ball to bounce over him and giving Brace the opportunity to control the ball — but Blanco once again stood strong, saving Brace’s close-range effort.
Senior forward Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler nearly scored a goal in the 73rd minute. What originally looked like a cross to the far post went through all players in the penalty box and bounced off the post.
The Phoenix will have more than a week to prepare for its next match in the semifinals of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament Nov. 13. Elon will face the winner of the quarterfinal between No. 3 seed University of Delaware and No. 6 seed University of North Carolina at Wilmington.