#30 Elon Men's Soccer 2013 Preview

Elon Phoenix

Overall Rank: #30
Conference Rank: #1 Southern Conference
#30 Elon Men's Soccer 2013 Preview
Elon Team Page


The Southern Conference regular-season championship Elon earned back in 2008 turned out to be a tease for what was to come. After a couple of down seasons, the Phoenix roared back to life in 2011 and captured the SoCon league tournament and a trip to the NCAA. If doubts existed they were put to bed last season as Elon continued its red-hot run with another regular-season championship, a conference-tournament title and a second straight trip to the NCAA tourney. Elon wants its final year in the Southern to be one filled with three-peats, as in conference tournament and NCAA. The Phoenix will leave the league at season’s end to join the CAA.

2012 Record: 15-5-2, 5-2-0
2012 Postseason: NCAA tournament (lost in first round, 3-0, to Coastal Carolina)
Coach: Darren Powell

Elon was one of the top 25 teams in the nation last year in scoring offense and total goals (1.91 goals per game, 42 goals total), so if it can find a scorer as good as Chris Thomas was last year (see weaknesses for more) the Phoenix should be fine. Senior midfielders Matt Wescoe and Daniel Lovitz are back for another turn on the field, and together they bring a combined nine goals and nine assists per game. The good news for the Phoenix is a large influx of freshmen and sophomores will help out, 16 in all. This is in large part due to the recruiting process and the tremendous success Elon has enjoyed on the field the past two seasons. English goalkeeper Nathan Dean, who posted seven shutouts a year ago, is also back for his junior season, and his ability to deny opponents the score should help the Phoenix transition smooth out.

Thomas was one of the leading scorers in the entire nation last year at 51 points (23 goals and five assists), so his exit from the team will hurt big time as the Phoenix do not have a comparable goal scorer. The returning scorers alone don’t measure up to what Thomas did, and with Thomas gone teams may zero in on players like Wescoe and Lovitz and deny them a shot at the goal. While Elon scored nearly two goals per game, it also allowed 1.35 a contest so that could be a potential pitfall for teams looking to pile on the points. This is what happens when you rely on one player too much. He does a great job for you while in school, but after he is gone the team struggles to find a replacement.

Final Projection:
How this team does in 2013 will no doubt revolve around how much Thomas is missed. You don’t replace a 23-goal scorer overnight and expect to get away with it. However, Elon’s cupboard is not completely barren. There are enough scorers returning so that Elon should not have to waste away in its final year of SoCon play. The league itself won’t present too much of a challenge, and there are enough non-conference games like Duke and Rutgers to give the Phoenix exposure to national opponents. Another title should not be a problem in the league, but the NCAA might pose a bigger threat.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Matt Wescoe, Senior, MF, 6
Assists: Matt Wescoe, Senior, MF, 7
Shots: Matt Wescoe, Senior, MF, 44
Saves: Nathan Dean, Junior, GK, 84


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