The Elon University men’s soccer team lost its third straight match at Rudd Field Saturday evening to Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) regular season champion Hofstra University 3-1.
The match was level at 1-1 heading into the final twenty minutes of play, but the deadlock was broken when Hofstra freshman forward Luke Brown was able to collect a save from Elon redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Matthew Jegier and kick the ball into the goal, giving the Pride the lead. But Hofstra got an insurance goal six minutes later courtesy of a deflected 22-yard strike by Ghanaian junior midfielder Meshack Eshun Addy.
The third straight tight loss at home — after a 3-2 defeat Oct. 22 to the University of Delaware and a 1-0 loss to Duke University Oct. 25 — left head coach Chris Little deflated at the results but hopeful about the level of play.
“We can’t seem to catch a break,” Little said. “We did a lot of things really well and somehow we’ve lost the game, "If we keep playing like that — like we did against Delaware, like we did against Duke and like we’ve done against Hofstra — we’re going to start beating teams.”
Just before the referee blew his whistle to end the first half, Hofstra senior midfielder Joseph Holland was able to dart through a sea of Elon defenders to give his team a 1-0 lead. Holland received the ball off a pass from a free kick that was awarded to the Pride just inside its half of the field. As the referee talked to the Elon player who committed the foul, he and the other referees did not notice Hofstra move the ball nearly 30 feet down the pitch, which left Elon’s head coach Chris Little rather unsettled.
“The law of the game, in my understanding, is that the ball has to be spotted within a meter of the foul. By my recollection, it was at least ten meters from the foul.” Little said. “That’s not the law of the game, and that’s why we were unhappy.”
Elon was able to tie the match in the 68th minute with a wild sequence inside the six-yard box. The Phoenix took four shots from point-blank range in a matter seconds, with two drilling into the crossbar. But it was the fourth, taken by sophomore midfielder Amir Berkane, that found its way into the back of the net.
“It all happened so fast — we hit the crossbar twice and had a shot [saved by the keeper], and I’ve literally just ran into it, I don’t know if it hit my chest or whatever.” Berkane said. “All week we’ve been working on trying to get on the end of it and score the goal. Obviously, the chance fell to me, and I took it.”
This loss drops Elon’s record to 7-5-3 overall, and 3-2-3 in conference play, but Elon did receive the news after the match that its spot in the CAA championship tournament was secured. The Phoenix is currently in a four-way tie for third place with 11 points in conference, but still faces the University of North Carolina at Wilmington at 7 p.m. Tuesday. A win or draw would secure a home match in the CAA quarterfinals Nov. 5.