The Elon University men’s soccer team is off to a dominant start.

After starting the season with a 0-0 draw against out-of-conference opponent Fordham University, the Phoenix has collected two shutout wins against the University of Central Florida and Presbyterian College by scores of 1-0 and 2-0, respectively.

“Really proud of the way we battled tonight,” said head coach Marc Reeves after the win against Presbyterian in the Phoenix’s home opener. “I think the guys are excited to get back home and play. It was a really tough opening weekend and an eventful week. Even through a couple more injuries and a tough opponent, we figured out a way to win and continue with the shutouts and score a very good second goal that killed the game.”

The string of shutouts has been led by junior goaltender Matthew Jegier. He recorded his 19th of his career in Saturday’s game, moving him to third all-time in program history. The redshirt-junior says having the experience in goal has caused him to have composure when he steps onto the field.

“I feel a lot more confident,” Jegier said. “A lot more comfortable coming into the game. I’ve had a good year and I’ve had a bad year. I’ve had my ups and downs, but you learn from it.”

Last year, Jegier allowed 0.83 goals per game, recorded seven shutouts and helped the Phoenix to a 7-6-4 record. But Jegier’s dominant season happened in 2015 when he helped the Phoenix achieve a record of 14-6-1 en route to a bid in the NCAA men’s soccer tournament for the maroon and gold.

The team looks to receive another NCAA bid this season but will need another solid season from Jegier and the Phoenix defense in order to get there.

“We’ve had three shutouts and Jegier has played incredibly well,” Reeves said. “A really big save against University of Central Florida and very solid in the net again tonight [against Presbyterian]. But I think it is our entire group. We’ve preached from the very top half of our field. Our forwards are getting better at it and we’re certainly working on it in practice.”

“I think we need to keep doing what we are doing,” Jegier said. “I think our defenders are very good at keeping the game in front of us. We don’t let a lot in behind, which is very good, very easy for me. If we stick together as a team, we’ll be successful. The only people that are going to beat us are ourselves.”

In addition to Jegier’s confidence, his defenders' experience has helped keep opponents scoreless for 290 straight minutes.

“All four of our defenders, with Amir inside, too, so I guess five of our defenders are all returners, which is a very good sign,” Jegier said. “We’ve looked good and strong in the first three games and we look to continue that momentum.”

The Phoenix faces a couple more out-of-conference games before opening up Colonial Athletic Association play. High Point University will make the short trip to Rudd Field on Friday for a scheduled 7 p.m. start under the lights. The matchup against the Panthers ended in a 1-1 tie last year, but the Phoenix looks to break through with a win this season.

“You want to be hard to beat and I think that’s how we’re setting up and we play a really high powered, explosive High Point team on Friday night,” Reeves said. “We’re going to need to be even better on the defensive side to continue that.”

After the game against High Point, Elon will take on the road and make the trip down Interstate-85 to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on Sept. 12 before traveling up to Hempstead, New York four days later to battle CAA rival Hofstra University.

“Hofstra probably is one of the ones I’m most excited for,” Jegier said. “I’ve got a couple buddies on the team and our track record against them has not been very good. So I’m looking forward to getting back at them this year with a stronger team and seeing if we can get the win.”

“College soccer is hard,” Reeves said. “Any time you can grab a win is vital. I think we’re just excited that we continue to build and improve as a group and I think that we have the potential to get a lot better.”

After starting the season with three shutouts, Jegier and the rest of the Elon men’s soccer team looks to take advantage of more chances on the field to continue their success under a new head coach.

“I’m excited,” Jegier said. “Reeves has come in and helped us a lot, so I’m ready for a great year."


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