GREENSBORO, NC – Stephen Dilger and Erfan Imani both a goal and an assist to lead Elon to its first-ever Southern Conference men's soccer regular season championship, defeating UNC Greensboro, 4-0, at UNCG Soccer Stadium on Saturday night.
The Phoenix, 7-8-1 overall and 6-0-0 in league play, won their first-ever title on the field their head coach Darren Powell once played. Powell was a four-year starter for UNCG in the early 1990s and was Michael Parker's assistant before leaving to take over the Elon program four years ago.
Imeni gave the Phoenix a 1-0 lead at 14:43. Aaron Parker's thru ball found Imeni about 25 yards out from the goal. He made a run into the box and poked it just inside the right post for his fourth goal of the season.
Brad Franks' first goal of the season made it 2-0 at 38:55. Dilger's initial shot hit a crowd in front of the goal. Franks came away with the rebound and knocked it home from eight yards out.
The Spartans had several chances in the first half, including two shots off the post that could have changed the game. However, Elon keeper Clint Irwin got just enough of the first one with a dive to his left and UNCG's Nirav Kadam hit the post square on with the second one.
Justin Wyatt added to his SoCon-leading point total with his ninth goal of the season at 77:29 that broke the Spartans' backs. The ball bounced out from the Spartan defense to Wyatt at the top of the box. He hit a blast to the right of the goal for 15 yards out to give him 21 points on the season.
Elon held an 18-16 advantage in shots, although UNCG's last strong chance to score was Kadam's post shot late in the first half.
UNCG (6-9-1, 2-3-0) still has a shot at a home quarterfinal match in the Southern Conference Tournament, needing to likely beat Appalachian State and Georgia Southern in their last two league matches. The Spartans host Appalachian State next Saturday at 7 pm.
Score by periods
Scoring: ELON – Imeni (Parker) 14:43; ELON – Franks (Dilger) 38:55; ELON – Wyatt (unassisted) 77:29; ELON – Dilger (Imeni) 87:16. Shots: Elon 18, UNCG 16. Saves: Elon 2 (Irwin 2), UNCG 4 (Berry 4). Corner kicks: Elon 2, UNCG 4. Fouls: Elon 7, UNCG 10.
- UNCG -