Panthers travel the east coast to face Elon University

By Samuel Cohen/Contributing Writer

The Panthers go back on the road after a hard fought 2-1 loss to Stetson University, and travel to Elon North Carolina to take on the Elon University Phoenix. The Panthers of FIU come into the game with a 1-2 record, having  the only win come in their season opening game versus the then #19 ranked University of Michigan. Elon comes into the game with a 2-3 record, with the last game being a narrow 1-0 loss to the Ohio State University. Both teams have played impressively at the beginning of the year and are looking to get back on track after narrow defeats.

The Panthers will have to deal with a stingy Elon defense that has only allowed more than one goal once in its first 6 games, including its exhibition opener in which they defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 1-0. Elon has made a name for itself as a strong soccer school within a state that has given the country a plethora of soccer talent. Head Coach Chris Little will have a lot on his hands as the Panthers roll into town.

Head Coach Scott Calabrese has preached patience in his first year leading the Panthers, as he has an excess of athletes, but has not put up the points to show for it. This will be an important test for the University as they will need to patiently wait for their opportunities versus this strong Elon defense, and pounce on any opening that shows itself. With an attack that features many young, but talented ball handlers, the Panthers will be hoping to play good transition ball. The flanks will most likely be open due to the strong middle play so far this season by sophomore midfielder Ismael Longo and junior midfielder Daniel Gonzalez. With these strong players working the ball across into the box, the Panthers will need a strong showing from senior forward Quentin Albrecht to stay on top.

Albrecht has not scored yet this season, but has been a menace to opposing defenses through 3 games, and has the pedigree to come up big very soon. The Panthers will have their backline anchored by impressive senior center back Sean McFarlane, who has been playing great soccer for his two years in a golden and blue uniform.  A strong 6 foot 185 pound man among boys, McFarlane will be counted upon to lead a backline that gave up 3 goals to a very good Michigan State University team, but has the talent and tenacity to shut out a just as strong as the University of Michigan team.

The “X-Factor” of the game will be sophomore defender Juan Bendetty, who has been playing lights out soccer as of late. Though short in stature at 5’5”, Bendetty has played amazing in the flanks for the Panthers and will be called upon more often to keep the pressure on the Elon backline. Bendetty has one goal and one assist on the season, and was a huge factor in the opening win versus the Wolverines of Michigan.

After their matchup with Elon, the Panthers next game will be Sept. 16 as they head to Johnson City, Tennessee to face coach Calabrese’s old team in East Tennessee State University.


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