It took only 12 seconds for JMU men’s soccer (6-3-2, 4-1-0 CAA) to take the lead Saturday night and the Dukes didn’t look back. A dominating match lifted JMU to a 3-1 victory over the College of Charleston Cougars (3-7-2, 0-3-1 CAA). Despite being up 3-0 at one point and out-shooting the Cougars 14-7, head coach Paul Zazenski felt it wasn’t one of the team’s best showings.
“[The game] was not our best performance,” Zazenski said. “Pretty sloppy and other than the result, not so pleased with it. Overall, good teams find a way to win, which is important, but we’ve got to find a way to stay consistent with our purpose.”
Redshirt senior midfielder/forward Billy Metzler fired a shot that the Cougars’ freshman goalkeeper Cameron Smith couldn’t completely stop and the ball trickled into the net. The early lead propelled the Dukes for the rest of the day.
“Honestly, it happened so fast that I don’t recall what happened,” Metzler said. “It was like we started and boom, there was a goal.”
In the 27th minute, junior midfielder Manuel Ferriol chipped the ball over Smith, who got his fingertips to the ball, but senior forward Aaron Ward-Baptiste was able to head the ball into the net for the Englishman’s fifth goal of the season.
College of Charleston got a few opportunities before the end of the first half, but none of them put redshirt sophomore goalkeeper TJ Bush in trouble. At the end of the half, the Dukes led 2-0.
“Probably wasn’t the best performance today,” Ward-Baptiste said. “The most important thing is to come away with the three points and we’re still top of the CAA.”
The second half was similar to the first in that the Dukes dominated play. Their strong play ended in another goal, as sophomore midfielder Peik Koskinen crossed it into the box and Ferriol finished it off to make it 3-0 to JMU.
In the 69th minute, the College of Charleston got an opportunity to pull itself back into the contest. A penalty was awarded to the Cougars and sophomore midfielder Joao Mauricio de Souza slotted the penalty home.
JMU closed out the match and came out as 3-1 winners. Despite the result that keeps them in first place of the CAA, Zazenski wants the team to stay hungry and want more.
“I think it’s about not being complacent,” Zazenski said. “Saying, ‘Well, we won’ is certainly a positive thing, but we have to play well. So really, it’s about not being complacent and understanding that we have to put it all together, especially down the stretch.”
After losing to No. 14 UNCW and drawing No. 17 NC State, the Dukes are back to winning ways. JMU will now travel to Williamsburg, Virginia, to take on in-state rival William & Mary. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.
Contact Noah Ziegler at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more soccer coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.