By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
The Elon men’s soccer team didn’t reel in the big prize in the Colonial Athletic Association.
By Monday afternoon, the Phoenix was plenty pleased with the latest turn in its season.
Elon was selected for an at-large bid into the 48-team NCAA Tournament and assigned a home game.
The Phoenix (11-4-3) will take on visiting Marshall (10-3-3), the 2020 national champion (with season completed in spring 2021), at 6:00 p.m. Thursday at Rudd Field.
The Thundering Herd has been ranked as high as No. 5 nationally this season. Marshall was the regular-season runner-up in the Sun Belt Conference behind undefeated Kentucky, which competes in the league for soccer and is the NCAA Tournament’s overall No. 1 seed.
This will mark Elon’s third NCAA Tournament home game, but first since 2015.
The Marshall/Elon winner will have a second-round game Sunday at fourth-seeded Virginia.
Several in-state teams will or could meet each other. High Point visits North Carolina for a first-round game Thursday, with the winner going to No. 5 seed Stanford. Wake Forest is home against Ohio State on Thursday, with the winner visiting No. 12 seed UNC Greensboro on Sunday. No. 7 seed Duke is home Sunday against Thursday’s Denver/San Diego winner.
On Saturday afternoon, Elon was pinned with a 2-1 loss by visiting Hofstra in the CAA Tournament final at Rudd Field.
Hofstra topped Elon in the championship game for the second year in a row. This season, Elon won a matchup on the way to the regular-season title before the third-seeded Pride (14-3-3) gained revenge.
Hofstra scored late in the first half and again with about four minutes to play. Elon’s Kasper Lehm scored with 12 seconds to play for his first goal of the season.
Lehm and teammates Franc Gamiz Quer and Ben Rosenblatt were named to the all-tournament team.