Elon Phoenix downed by men’s soccer as women draw | The Triangle
Men's Soccer

Elon Phoenix downed by men’s soccer as women draw

Sophomore midfielder Rory Klingensmith (No. 18, central) tangles with a Towson player, hoping to stop the Tigers’ advance on the counter. Freshman defender Lily Dunbar (No.2, left) stays in line with her teammate, ready to come to her aid at a moment’s notice from the back.(Photograph courtesy of Anna Sahkul)

The Drexel men’s soccer team (4-5-1, 2-2-0 CAA) traveled to North Carolina to play Elon University (3-6-1, 0-4-0 CAA) in a Colonial Athletic Association battle Oct. 5. The game was a lot closer than Drexel would have liked given that coming into the game, Elon was 0-3 against conference play. Elon’s losses came against Hofstra University, College of William and Mary and University of North Carolina Wilmington. Each squad has been near the top of CAA rankings throughout the past few years, so Elon’s winless record wasn’t indicative of the quality of their play.

Drexel did make good on their status as the favorites, collecting a 2-1 win against the Pheonix. Both squads made the fans wait for excitement, as all three goals of the match were scored past the halftime mark.

The first half of the conference matchup was a rigorous defensive battle in which neither team could gain an advantage. It wasn’t until the second half that all the pressing action started to occur. Elon got on the board first in the 46th minute thanks to a goal by freshman Burl Shepherd. A common occurence for Drexel this season has been their inability to come back from a deficit if their opponents put a strike past them first.

Just 10 minutes later, the Dragons made their response in the form of a 20-yard free kick to tie the game,1-1. The 20-yard strike was delivered by senior Francisco Rodrigues da Palma for his first goal of the season. The game remained a seesaw battle for much of the half, until Drexel finally broke through in the 77th minute. Freshman Yassine Elkahloun delivered a beautiful assist to Sophomore Chris Donovan who finished with his right foot, giving him a team high of six goals for the season. Donovan is on track to surpass his first year wearing the blue and gold, having been one of the Dragons’ top players in 2018. Donovan had three goals and three assists in his first year, collecting nine collegiate points.

Thanks to the solid play in goal from redshirt junior Cameron Sanders, Drexel was able to hold off Elon and secure the victory. On the day, Sanders was nearly flawless, saving all but one of the fives shots he faced. While Elon didn’t get the victory, they managed to outshoot Drexel by a wide margin. Elon attempted 15 shots compared to Drexel’s five, but only a third of Elon’s shots were on target. Still, the Dragons were thankful to add another conference win to their resume, and will look to build on their win as they host Hofstra University (5-5, 2-2 CAA) Oct. 12 at 4 p.m. on the Vidas Field.

Looking to rebound from three consecutive losses, the Drexel women’s soccer team traveled to Delaware Stadium to play the Delaware University Blue Hens (7- 5-0, 2-1-0). The Dragons expected to have their hands full with the Blue Hens’ offensive attack, which came into the match averaging over 14 shots on goal per game.

The Dragons were on their heels from the whistle, as the Blue Hens put their first shot on goal just two minutes into play. In the 22nd minute, the Blue Hens capitalized on a corner kick and scored thanks to a header by junior Olivia Schuck.

From that point, the Dragons found themselves playing defense, and just couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end. They did not manage a shot on goal until the 35th minute, and attempted just two shots in the entire game. Delaware, on the other hand, took 11 shots during the match, and put four of them on target. One bright spot for the Dragons was senior goalie Libby Baeza, who saved three out of the four shots she faced. The final score of the game was 1-0, marking the Dragons’ fourth consecutive loss.

The team’s next game came Oct. 6, as they hit the road once again to North Carolina to play Elon University (8-3-2; 2-1-1). Unlike the previous match, the Dragons played aggressively on the offensive end, forcing Elon into an own goal in the 9th minute in the game to take a 1-0 lead.

Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last long for the Dragons, as in the 14th minute sophomore Kayla Hodges connected with a header to tie the game up. The rest of the game did not feature any goals. However, that didn’t take away the excitement because the two teams still couldn’t score on each other even with an additional 20 minutes, with the game going into double overtime.

Despite not being able to win, the Dragons were able to avoid another loss and are showing more promise on the offensive end. They had seven shots, with two of those shots on goal. Libby Baeza was solid in the net once again, making three saves and giving up one goal.

However, Drexel’s performance took a much-awaited positive turn against Elon as they hosted Towson (3-8-1, 0-3-0 CAA) at the Vidas Field Oct. 10, winning 2-0. Goals came from junior attacking midfielder Melissa Lyon and defensive midfielder Ali Shick. Towson had little response for the Dragons, who now hold a four loss streak against Drexel. The consecutive defeats are the most in any period of the storied series between the two rivals. Baeza had only one shot to save in the game, which earned her the tenth clean sheet of her collegiate career. Now the Dragons will look to gain on this momentum going to North Carolina to compete with University of North Carolina Wilmington Oct. 13.