JMU men’s soccer ended its regular season with a 3-2 loss against CAA foe William & Mary on Senior Night. The Dukes finished the season with a record of 10-6-2 (5-2-1 CAA). Senior midfielder Manuel Ferriol recorded his 15th goal of the season, which tied the single-season goal record.
“We need to look at a few different things because in the last run of it, we really haven’t played like ourselves, so we’ve got to take a hard look at a number of things, X’s and O’s,” head coach Paul Zazenski said.
JMU looked great in the first 15 minutes with senior forward Brennan Burton nearly putting the Dukes up 1-0, but his shot was just wide of the left post. Shortly after, junior defender Tom Judge sent a tantalizing cross toward Burton, who couldn’t reach it.
The game had 26 fouls between the two sides — 14 for William & Mary and 12 for JMU. The first yellow card was given to senior midfielder Fernando Casero in the 30th minute.
Just before the halftime whistle, freshman forward Clay Obara unleashed a shot from outside the box that barely went over the top of the goal. The relatively stagnant first half ended 0-0 with JMU putting down two shots and three saves.
William & Mary opened up the second half of the game with two shots that threatened JMU’s goal, but redshirt junior goalkeeper TJ Bush prevented the Tribe from gaining the lead.
With 25:30 remaining in the match, JMU got its opportunity to pull ahead via a penalty. Ferriol stepped up and crushed his shot into the top left side of the goal, tying the single-season goal record. Then, 16 seconds later, William & Mary responded after senior forward/midfielder Julian Ngoh equalized.
“It’s really special but at the end of the day what matters is winning and we didn’t do that today,” Ferriol said. “We still have the tournament to perform in so if we win that we’ll go to the NCAA tournament … From now on, we’ve got to be thinking about the next practices and next Sunday for the semi-final.”
It didn’t take long for JMU to grab another opportunity through junior midfielder Petur Thorsteinsson, who took a shot at the William & Mary goal that deflected over the head of the goalkeeper. The celebrations were short-lived, as freshman forward Alexander Levengood’s shot deflected multiple times and eventually crawled over the line, taking away the Dukes’ advantage.
“Moving the ball up on offense, we need to put more shots on goal,” Thorsteinsson said. “Two shots on goal this game compared to the other games before, we’d have more like 10. The offense need to be sharper.”
With less than three minutes remaining in the game, William & Mary freshman defender Theo Biddle scored the game-winning goal off an assist from freshman midfielder Alfredo Bozalongo.
The Dukes had one final opportunity when the referee blew his whistle on a back pass that was improperly handled by William & Mary freshman goalkeeper Kieran Baskett. This led to an indirect free kick inside the box that didn’t get past the eight-person wall.
“The good thing about this game is that the regular season is over, so we can turn our heads to postseason play,” Zazenski said. “We’re extremely disappointed in the result, we should have played a lot better and we didn’t play up to our standards, and it cost us.”
The Dukes will take the field again on Nov. 10 in the CAA semifinals, which will be held at a neutral field. JMU will play for a spot in the 2019 CAA Men’s Soccer Tournament championship, to determine if it will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Contact David Deaderick at email@example.com. For more soccer coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.