The difficult Homecoming Saturday continued late into the evening for the Elon University athletics teams as the men's soccer team lost to Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) rival University of Delaware 3-2 at Rudd Field.
The Phoenix’s two first-half goals from junior striker Elijah Agu proved to be in vain, as the Blue Hens were able to recover from a 2-1 deficit to get the win at Rudd Field by a score of 3-2 on Saturday night.
It was a competitive match, as the box score showed that the teams were nearly a mirror image of each other statistically. Head coach Chris Little was disappointed in the result, but not with the chances created by his squad.
“I’m not quite sure how we lost the game,” Little said. “We had 10 shots, I think six or seven of those are gilt-edged chances where 80- to 90-percent of the time you should score — we just didn’t get the bounce today.”
The winning goal came in the 75th minute when the score was deadlocked at 2-2. Elon’s sophomore goalie Matthew Jegier dove to break up an incoming cross that eventually fell to Delaware senior striker Marco Siverio, who was able to tap the ball into an empty net.
“It was a goalkeeping error, which is unlike us,” coach Little said. “We haven’t made a lot of those and it’s unfortunate that it came when it came, but credit to Delaware.”
The match got off to a hot start with three goals in the opening ten minutes, and saw its first goal after only 99 seconds of play. Elon sophomore forward Jaiden Fortune played a clever pass across the face of goal which found Agu, who was able to net from six yards out for his 10th goal of the season.
Delaware answered back just three minutes later — in what coach Little referred to as a “wonderstrike” — when senior defender Thomas de Villardi nestled his strike from 25 yards out in the top corner of Elon’s goal.
Delaware’s goal prompted Agu to hit back just five minutes later, giving Elon a 2-1 advantage in the ninth minute, powerfully placing the ball past a helpless keeper for his 11th goal of the season.
Coach Little acknowledged that there was indeed a gem amongst the wreckage of the night in Agu, saying, “I’m really really pleased for him. It’s great that he got two goals, but we lost tonight.”
Agu leads the Colonial Athletic Association in scoring, but had a similar mindset after the match in regards to his recent performances.
“I scored tonight, but at the end of the day all of the goals are for the team," Agu said. "If we’re not winning games, it’s not important to me. I’m glad to score goals, but I love winning more.”
This loss drops Elon’s overall record to 7-3-3, and 3-1-2 in CAA play. The Phoenix will be back in action when they face the Duke University Blue Devils at Rudd Field on Tuesday, October 25th at 7:00pm for its final nonconference match of the season.