#36 Elon Men's Soccer 2014 Preview

Elon Phoenix

Overall Rank: #36
#2 CAA
#36 Elon Men's Soccer 2014 Preview
Elon Team Page


Elon won 15 games last season, including one against Clemson in the NCAA Tournament. The Phoenix ran into UCLA in the second round and their season quickly came to an end. The goal this year will be to get back to tournament, but there are a lot of differences between this season and last. Most notable is the new head coach. Chris Little takes over after being a Phoenix assistant from 2010-2012. Last year he was coaching in the PDL. The other change is the conference. Elon is moving from the Southern Conference to the Colonial Athletic Association. We will all miss Furman and Elon slugging it out, yet the Phoenix will immediately enter the CAA as one of the favorites.

2013 Record: 15-5-3, 4-2-0
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Chris Little

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Jason Waterman, Senior, F, 12
Assists: Jason Waterman, Senior, F, 7
Shots: Jason Waterman, Senior, F, 62
Saves: Nathan Dean, Senior, GK, 71

Other Key Returnees: F Caue Da Silva, M James Brace, M Miguel Salazar, M Myles Mansfield, D Nathan Diehl, D Austin Dunker, D Samuel McBride

Key Losses: M Matt Wescoe, M Daniel Lovitz, M Charles Howard, D Mark Berlin, D Nick Butterly

Up top, forward Jason Waterman and attacking midfielder James Brace accounted for 22 of the team’s 39 goals. Those two are back to make their mark on the CAA. Waterman, a 6-3 senior, netted a dozen goals and added seven assists. He was a College Sports Madness First-Team player in the SoCon last season and should make a strong case for player of the year in the CAA. Brace only started seven games, but was a staple off of the bench. He took just 31 shots, but ten of them went in. That is the definition of efficiency. Like Brace, Caue Da Silva usually came in off of the bench. The junior forward made the most of his 685 minutes of playing time, tallying five goals and four assists. Coach Little may mix it up in an effort to get those three on the pitch at the same time more often. But there is not much work that needs to be done on defense. Keeper Nathan Dean has been one of the best in the SoCon over the last two years and that will continue in 2014. Plus he has three returning starters in the back line in front of him, led by Austin Dunker.

The most significant losses are in the midfield. Matt Wescoe, Daniel Lovitz and Charles Howard started nearly every game last season and brought a lot to the table. Wescoe was often the player directly setting up Waterman and Brace and tied for a team high with seven assists. Wescoe also scored five goals. Lovitz tallied four goals and six assists during his senior season. Howard was not as involved in the attack as the other midfielders, but he was a key cog in the middle of the field.

Final Projection:
This is a team that can step right into their new conference and run away with a title. It probably will not turn out that smoothly though. The non-conference schedule is not too tough, but there are games against Loyola Marymount, Ohio State, West Virginia and Coastal Carolina, so it is not easy from top to bottom either. By the time CAA play begins in October, the new staff should be on the same page with their players and Elon will be ready to compete for a CAA championship.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 1.70 (35th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 1.07 (64, 2)
Shutout Percentage: 0.30 (81, 3)
Save Percentage:  0.737 (122, 4)


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