In a match where chances weren’t converted, JMU men’s soccer (9-3-2, 6-1-0 CAA) defeated non-conference opponent Navy (1-11-1, 0-5-0 PL) 1-0. The Dukes have extended their unbeaten streak to four, shutting out their past three opponents.
Freshman defender Melker Anshelm was the only scorer in Wednesday’s match. The Swede notched his first goal of the season early in the match and then helped the defensive line hold Navy at bay.
“I’m kind of disappointed,” head coach Paul Zazenski said. “I thought that we’d come out and play more of our style and have the better of chances, but tonight I thought [Navy] was the better team.”
JMU established its attacking presence early. In the fourth minute, redshirt senior midfielder/forward Billy Metzler got the ball outside of the 18-yard box and tried curling it in, but his effort hit the post. The rebound was put in by junior midfielder Fernando Casero, but the assistant referee flagged for offside.
In the 14th minute, the Dukes grabbed the lead. A corner kick taken by Ferriol was headed in by Anshelm for his first goal of the season to make it 1-0.
“It feels good to score a goal,” Anshelm said. “It’s an important goal, too. It always feels better when it’s the decider. In the end, it’s all about getting three points.”
Navy was able to get a couple of chances to equalize, but JMU’s tough defense stifled any opportunities the Midshipmen were trying to create. At halftime, Anshelm’s goal was the difference as JMU led 1-0.
“To their credit, they came out with a good game plan and played very hard,” Zazenski said. “We didn’t respond well to what they were trying to do. The good thing about tonight’s game is that we kept a shutout and we won, but the way we played, I think most of the team should be and are disappointed.
The second half was less exciting than the first, with the only opportunity coming in the 67th minute when Anshelm appeared to score off another corner, but the referee called it back due to a foul. With 23 minutes left in the match, JMU looked to extend its single goal lead.
“I should have two goals really,” Anshelm said. “I didn’t know what happened, but it was the same type of goal as the first one.”
Despite controlling the rest of the match, JMU didn’t add to its lead. When time expired, the Dukes came out as 1-0 winners.
“It feels great to get shutouts like tonight,” senior defender Thomas Shores said. “We always trust our attackers … If it’s not clicking at every moment, we still want to keep the shutout and give the team the chance to win.”
The next match for the Dukes is Saturday at Sentara Park against Penn State, with kick-off at 7 p.m. Navy faces conference foe Boston University on Saturday in Annapolis, Maryland.
Contact Noah Ziegler at email@example.com. For more soccer coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.