JMU roundup: Dukes end men’s soccer skid with win

Daily Staff Report –

HARRISONBURG – The James Madison University men’s soccer team ended its two-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 2-0 victory over College of Charleston in Colonial Athletic Association action.

The Dukes got on the board in the 24th minute when senior forward Josh Grant put his third goal of the season past Charleston goalkeeper Alex Young. Grant received a cross from redshirt-sophomore midfielder Connor Coward that came in from the right corner of the field and Grant capitalized with a well-placed header.

After deploying heavy pressure to start the second half, the Dukes were finally rewarded with an insurance goal in the 76th minute when Coward scored his third goal of the season. Coward got loose on a through-ball up the middle of the field from freshman midfielder Drew Mahoney, then took his defender one-on-one before breaking to the right side of the box. From 12 yards out, Coward fired to the back-left post past Young for the goal.

With the three points in the game, Coward is now tied with Grant for the team-lead in points with eight. Mahoney tallied his first collegiate point with the assist on Coward’s goal in the second half.

Though coming away with the victory, Charleston outshot the Dukes 12-10, putting eight shots on target to JMU’s five.

Redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Morton recorded his fifth shutout of the season in the match. He made eight saves in the contest, including a save from point-blank on Kye West in the 53rd minute and a diving save in the 75th minute to preserve the shutout.

Just minutes before Coward put the Dukes up 2-0, Grant had a chance to double the JMU lead after he received a free kick on the left post. Trying to repeat his first-half goal, Grant’s ensuing header drilled the left post and stayed out.

The win moves JMU back to .500 overall at 6-6-3. The victory also moves the Dukes into sixth place in the conference with three matches to go. The top-six teams advance to the CAA Tournament next month. Four of the five teams in front of JMU have three wins in conference play. Hofstra leads the way with a 4-1 record in CAA action after topping Drexel on Wednesday night.

Up next, the Dukes travel to Elon for their first-ever meeting with the Phoenix. Entering play Wednesday, Elon was in first place in the conference before Hofstra overtook the Phoenix. First kick is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday.

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