Elon University’s men’s soccer team will celebrate its seven-man senior class on Senior Day against a nationally ranked opponent — the Hofstra University Pride.
With just two matches remaining in the regular season, Elon (7-6-2) is in the midst of a tight battle atop the Colonial Athletic Association standings. The top four teams at the end of the regular season will qualify for the CAA Tournament, and with 11 points, the Phoenix currently sits in fourth place.
Elon trails first place Hofstra by just two points and a win over the Pride on Saturday would give the Phoenix an additional three points in the standings. However, Elon is also just one point clear of fifth and sixth place Northeastern University and Drexel University, meaning a loss to Hofstra on Saturday would open the door for the Phoenix to drop from the top four altogether.
Seven teams currently sit within four points of first place in the standings. With such a tight race for the four conference tournament spots, Head Coach Marc Reeves said his team is focused on getting as many points as it can against Hofstra, and against William & Mary on Nov. 6.
“It’s a really, really strong league and it’s an underrated league,” Reeves said. “We’re looking to try to solidify ourselves in the top four by grabbing hopefully both these two wins.”
The Pride enters the match with a 13-1-1 record, with the sole loss coming on Sept. 11. Additionally, Hofstra is ranked 14th in this week’s United Soccer Coaches poll, a weekly ranking of the 25 best teams in the country as ranked by Division I head coaches.
The Pride has outscored opponents 37-10 this season, and the team’s starting forwards — Ryan Carmichael and Matthew Vowinkel — have combined for as many goals, 20, as the entire Phoenix team has scored.
Reeves said the team will need to execute well defensively to keep Hofstra’s dynamic offense in check but will also need to be aggressive to create offensive chances.
“We need to be set up correctly to deal with those threats,” Reeves said. “We’ll need to commit numbers forward at the right time because you do need to do that against teams that don’t allow many goals.”
Prior to the match, the Phoenix will honor goalkeeper Peter Wentzel, midfielder Sam Bacon, midfielder Jalen Weatherspoon, defender Christian Lauenborg, forward Jack Edwards, defender Zack DiDonato and midfielder Andreas Thorsén in a Senior Day ceremony.
Reeves said many of these players were a part of his first recruiting class upon arriving at Elon in 2017 and said their impact on the program will long be remembered.
“It’s a special group,” Reeves said. “They’ve done a lot for the program that we want to make sure we’re thankful for.”
Elon is 0-5-1 all-time against Hofstra, with the lone tie coming in 2017. The match at Rudd Field will begin at 1 p.m. with the Senior Day ceremony shortly before kickoff.