Men’s Soccer: Tribe 1, Elon 0 – Tribe kicks off season with shutout

__Harris’ first career goal pushes College over the top in tight contest__

Jeremy Harris notched the first goal of his NCAA career and the Tribe captured the season opener in a 1-0 victory over the Elon University Phoenix Saturday night. In the first-ever meeting between the two schools, sophomore midfielder Jeremy Harris scored what proved to be the game winner early in the second half.

p. In the 55th minute of the match, senior midfielder and offensive catalyst Doug Ernst cut through the Elon defense near the left end line and chipped a beautiful ball across the box to a wide-open Harris. Harris took one settling touch and fired a rocket into the top of the net, prompting a deafening roar from an enthusiastic crowd at Albert-Daly field.

p. Throughout the first half, Head Coach Chris Norris implemented what looked like a 4-5-1 formation. The Tribe midfielders continually fed long balls to alternating forwards in an obvious attempt to utilize the size of the 6’0” junior Brock Jones and the 6’6” junior Nathan Belcher. Such an aggressive and somewhat impatient approach resulted in numerous turnovers and the inability to sustain possession of the ball for prolonged attacks.

p. At the outset of the second half, however, Coach Norris made the adjustment to a 4-3-3 formation, which featured Jones, Harris and sophomore Price Thomas up top. The new formation allowed the Tribe offense to spread the field, play balls to open space and stretch the Phoenix defense.

p. Integral to the success of the formation was the play of outside midfielder Harris, who continually utilized his blazing speed by blowing past Elon defenders up the sideline.

p. “I thought the guys showed a lot of team spirit and unity tonight. Playing without our two leading scorers from last season, we knew that we needed a lot of people to step up in the goal-scoring department. We identified Jeremy (Harris) as one of those players, and he came through tonight,” said Coach Norris on

p. Also standing out in Saturday’s match was midfielder Thomas, who showed smooth footwork and heady passing ability throughout the night. The Tribe will need similar efforts from Harris and Thomas to fuel a roster featuring 17 underclassmen.
Although the Tribe was able to hang on for the win, Elon had a number of opportunities to tie the match throughout the second half. Elon recorded nine corner kicks during the match, however, a stout defensive line consisting of senior Michael Yakovak, sophomore Roger Bothe, freshmen Nicholas Orozco and freshmen Micahel DiNuzzo managed to ward off numerous scoring threats.

p. The Phoenix’s best scoring opportunity came in the 15th minute of the second half when midfielder Justin Wyatt broke through the Tribe backfield and ripped a shot on Tribe goalkeeper senior Brennan Wergley. Wergley, however, made a brilliant save, reaching his foot out to deflect the ball off the post. The 1-0 shutout was the sixth of Wergley’s career.

p. The Tribe hopes to carry momentum from their 1-0 victory into a grueling five game road trip, during which they will face Penn State University, Ohio State University, Temple Univesity, Dartmouth University, and University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.


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