ELON, N.C. – Jaiden Fortune’s first goal of the season early in the contest helped the Elon University men’s soccer team hold off Detroit Mercy, 1-0, in the finale of the Elon/High Point Classic on Sunday night, Sept. 4, at Rudd Field.
The Phoenix (3-1) held on for its second straight shutout while the Titans fell to 0-2-2. With the win, the Phoenix captured the tournament title with Elijah Agu being named tournament MVP. Agu, Amir Berkane, Luke Matthews and Nick Adamczyk were the Phoenix’s selection on the all-tournament team.
Much like Friday night when the Phoenix defeated St. Bonaventure 6-0 to open the tournament, Elon quickly opened the match on the attack. Just outside of the first minute, Elon earned a corner kick, but could not convert on the set piece.
Elon took a 1-0 lead thanks to the play of Fortune on his first goal of the 2016 season. The sophomore striker took a cross from the left side from Marcel Fahrenholz and was able to get a foot on it just around the six-yard area. The ball trickled in past the Titan defense and Elon took the early 1-0 lead.
Inside the 31st minute, Elon had some frantic moments while trying to add to its lead. As the ball was played into the box, the Phoenix just could not find a clear path to the goal despite the scrambling defense of Detroit. Taylor Adler finally had a try from near the top of the 18-yard line, but it was blocked and a header follow by Nicholas O’Callaghan went high.
Detroit had its best opportunity of the opening stanza at the 41st minute mark. After earning a corner, the ball found the head of Justin Murray, who saw his header attempt hit the top of the crossbar.
At the half, Elon held a 6-2 advantage on shots with both teams also knotted at 2-2 in corners. Elon had the one lone shot on target in the first period.
Elon continued to take it to the visitors in the start of the second period including a pair of shots in the first three minutes. Luke Matthews header on a free kick at the 47th minute was corralled by the keeper while Tuki Tayali’s header try went wide in the 48th minute.
The Phoenix however found itself in trouble after being called for foul inside the box and setting up a penalty kick attempt for the Titans at the 53rd minute. Elon caught a break though as the shot went wide and preserved the shutout.
Elon got one more shot on goal in the match on an O’Callaghan try from around 20 yards at the 58th minute. The ball was corralled the keeper again though.
The remainder of the match was a tense affair with the Titans throwing numbers forward in hopes of sending in an equalizer. The Elon defense held firm and closed out the Phoenix’s first home tournament since 2010.
• The Phoenix ended the match with a 16-3 shot differential and a 3-0 tally with those on frame. Elon also added one more corner to its total for a slight 3-2 overall advantage over Detroit.
• O’Callaghan led Elon with five shots while Agu, Matthews and Fortune had two. Five other players also had at least one shot.
• Elon keeper Matthew Jegier added his first solo shutout of the season and the 10.5 of his career. That moves him in a tie for fifth in school history with Drew Hook (1990-93).
Elon gets an early start in Colonial Athletic Association play as the Phoenix travels to College of Charleston next Saturday, Sept. 10. That match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
-- ELON --