JMU men’s soccer opened October with a golden goal overtime win against No. 14 Cal State Fullerton. This extended the Dukes’ winning streak to eight, which started nearly a month ago. Sophomore midfielder Tyler Clegg scored a screamer from just outside the penalty box with his right foot, slotting narrowly past an outstretched goalkeeper arm on the right side.
“It was frustrating, but it really wasn’t, only because we played really well tonight, and I was especially pleased with the defensive side of the ball,” head coach Paul Zazenski said. “We created a bunch of chances and looked good offensively, sure, but we defended one of the best games of the season. So, we rewarded ourselves with a win, and it just took a little bit of extra time to do it. To see Tyler miss a few earlier and then step up in that moment and bury it, I couldn’t be happier for him and the guys.”
The first attempt of the game came in the seventh minute when freshman midfielder Clay Obara took a shot, which saw the CSF senior goalkeeper Paul-Andre Guerin parry the ball away for a corner kick. It would be the beginning of many chances gone astray for the Dukes.
The next attempt came in the 25th minute when senior forward Brennan Burton let a shot fly that was then bobbled by the goalkeeper. Burton almost picked up his own scraps, but he was too late and fouled the keeper.
At half time, the score was still even. Six different Dukes had registered shots, three of which were on target.
In the 58th minute, senior midfielder Lewis Long IV chased down a deep ball into the CSF half and, after a couple of step-overs, played it back to senior midfielder Manuel Ferriol. The Spaniard then squared the ball to senior midfielder Niclas Mohr, who had his shot blocked high into the air back toward Ferriol. Ferriol lashed a shot on the full volley, landing into the right post.
JMU consistently looked like the better side throughout the match. In the second half, JMU took five corner kicks, while CSF didn’t take any.
Locked at zero, both teams went into overtime with two ideas: The Titans hoped to catch JMU on the counter or hang on for a draw, and the Dukes hoped to finally get the ball over the line and win. Four minutes into overtime, JMU found its breakthrough. Finally, after 94-and-a-half minutes, JMU took the lead and won the game courtesy of Clegg.
“The ball came across the box, the guy fouled Manu and I just struck straight through the ball, and as soon as it left my foot that I knew it was hitting the back of the net,” Clegg said.
“We’re playing as a uniform backline and [senior midfielder Fernando Casero] in front of us, we’re staying really tight and talking a lot,” senior defender Tom Judge said. “No one can get past us right now.”
The Dukes recorded another clean sheet, their fifth in six matches. Since September 14, JMU has out-scored its opponents 15-1.
JMU begins October 8-2 (3-0 CAA). This was also the Dukes’ last game at home until Oct. 19, when they face off against UNCW. Until then, JMU will face the following teams away from home: Northeastern, Villanova, Delaware and No. 1 Virginia.
Contact David Deaderick at email@example.com. For more soccer coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.