With an at-large bid out of the equation, JMU men’s soccer’s lone path into the NCAA tournament is winning the Sun Belt Conference tournament.
In its Sun Belt Championship quarterfinal against No. 2-seeded and No. 5-ranked Marshall, winning is what it did.
The No. 7-seeded Dukes took down Marshall 1-0 on the road — just five days after dropping its regular-season finale to the Thundering Herd 2-0. The win propels JMU into the semifinals.
The Dukes threatened on three different occasions in the first half, including a shot off the post from redshirt junior midfielder Rodrigo Robles, before redshirt junior midfielder Clay Obara scored the lone goal of the contest. At 43’, freshman forward Cam Arnold squared the ball across goal to Obara, who just had to not miss the goal to take the lead.
Marshall threw everything at JMU after halftime, including 10 shots in the last 45 minutes. However, none of them were on target and freshman goalie Sebastian Conlon only had to make one save the whole match.
The Thundering Herd sent one last long pass into the box at 90’, which got headed to JMU redshirt senior defender Melker Anshelm’s feet, who then punted the ball to the other end of the field as time expired. The stellar defensive performance saw out a win for head coach Paul Zazenski’s bunch and sent them through to the semifinals.
The semifinal match Nov. 9 is still hosted by Marshall but JMU plays Georgia State, who defeated JMU 3-1 on Sept. 17. The match is set for 7 p.m.