JMU men’s soccer defeats Belmont, 2-1
Senior forward Josh Grant (Plymouth, England/Torpoint College) tallied his seventh career game-winning goalFriday night as the James Madison men’s soccer team topped Belmont 2-1 in the Belmont Invitational at Rose Park.
Grant scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the 24th minute after a good string of passes in the middle of the field culminated with the senior putting away a pass from junior midfielder Eric Schmidt (Arlington, Va./Washington-Lee) in the box. The goal is Grant’s first of the season and 14th of his JMU career.
JMU (2-2-1) got on the board early in the fifth minute by virtue of an own goal. The Dukes played a cross into the box and disaster struck for the Bruins when Cody Carpenter’s clear attempt went the wrong direction and bounced past goalkeeper Grayson Rector, who had all of his momentum moving in the wrong direction to do anything about the mishap.
Belmont (0-5) did get one goal back late in the contest to break the shutout. Adriano Balani got the Bruins on the board in the 85th minute after Belmont had been knocking on the JMU door for the better part of 10 minutes. Balani’s goal marked the last quality chance Belmont would get, though, as the JMU defense stood tall the rest of the way to preserve the victory.
The Dukes are now 2-0 all-time against Belmont. Last season at home, JMU shut out the Bruins 2-0 in the first meeting between the two programs.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Morton (West Chester, Pa./Reed Henderson) made four saves in the game, including two crucial saves that kept the Bruins off the scoreboard at various points in the game. In the 36th minute, Rashad Hyacenth was looking to cross a ball through the middle of the box, but the ball was deflected by a JMU defender and glanced towards goal. Morton’s quick reaction had him change direction just in time to make a one-handed save with the ball on the goal line to keep the Bruins off the board.
Morton was again called on in the second half with the Bruins pushing for their first goal. In the 66thminute, Morton made a spectacular save on a header attempt off a free kick that seemed ticketed for goal.
Though coming away with the 2-1 victory, JMU only took four shots in the game with just one coming in the second half while Belmont got 10 shots away. Of their four shots, only one was off target while half of Belmont’s shot missed the mark. Despite the lopsided shot totals, JMU was able to win seven corner kicks in the match, including five in the second half, to Belmont’s one.
The Dukes continue their two-game roadtrip Sunday afternoon, Sept. 14, with a match against Lipscomb in the second leg of the Belmont Invitational. First kick is set for 1 p.m. ET, noon CT.