By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
A good season for Elon’s men’s soccer team might be turning toward great.
The latest example came with a 3-0 victory against visiting North Carolina in Tuesday night’s non-conference game at Rudd Field.
It’s the first time Elon has defeated the Tar Heels in 16 all-time matchups (1-14-1). It was the first meeting since 2009.
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“It’s fantastic,” said Elon coach Marc Reeves, who had more reason to celebrate on his 48th birthday. “Our group needs to enjoy it.”
Mason Duval scored his team-leading sixth goal in the first half and Jack Dolk posted two goals in the last 10 minutes of the game.
The Phoenix (9-3-2) came off a clutch victory Saturday at Hofstra and then churned out another impressive result.
“It’s kind of that confidence,” Duval said. “We had a lot of togetherness (at Hofstra) and we were looking for that to carry over to this.”
And it did.
Duval, a senior who didn’t have a college goal until this season, said he was aware of Elon’s winless mark vs. North Carolina.
“This has to be the night,” he said.
He did his part with a strong maneuver on the left side after taking Michael Clow’s pass.
“It felt perfect from my left foot,” Duval said. “I knew it was going to go in.”
Dolk, a substitute, scored on a header off Ben Rosenblatt’s pass before converting another chance less than 90 seconds later. Elon has had 12 different goal scorers this season.
Goalkeeper Ryan Bilichuk made one save for his NCAA-leading ninth shutout.
The Tar Heels (6-4-3) suffered their second loss – the other to defending national champion Clemson — in their last nine games. It was North Carolina’s most lopsided non-league, regular-season defeat in 12 years.
This game was a make-up from earlier in the month when the impact from Hurricane Ian caused North Carolina to need a schedule adjustment in order to play a rescheduled Atlantic Coast Conference game.
On Saturday, Elon won 3-1 at Hofstra to move into first place in the CAA with a 5-1-1 record. That result, which snapped Hofstra’s eight-game unbeaten streak, clinched a spot in next month’s CAA Tournament.
“What we’ve been able to do is limit the negative results,” Reeves said.
The Phoenix has three regular-season games remaining, including Saturday afternoon’s visit from College of Charleston.