After conceding two goals in the first half, the James Madison men’s soccer team could not dig out of the hole and fell 2-1 to Robert Morris on Friday night at University Park. The loss snaps a four-match unbeaten streak for the Dukes.
Robert Morris (3-2-1) jumped on the Dukes early with a goal in the 23rd minute by Carl Reid. The senior midfielder put home his first goal of the season on a rebound attempt after redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Morton (West Chester, Pa./Reed Henderson) made an initial save on a shot from Bruce Cullen.
The Colonials doubled their lead in the 39th minute on a goal from Neco Brett. The Kingston, Jamaica, product tallied his sixth goal of the season after receiving a long pass from Matt Fonagy and beating a JMU defender one-on-one. His shot beat Morton inside the right post.
JMU (3-3-1) came out of halftime with a lot of energy and cut the Robert Morris lead in half just 38 seconds into the frame on a goal from redshirt-freshman defender Toby Appleton (Cheshire, England). After the Dukes pushed the ball into the RMU penalty area, Appleton collected the loose ball and put his shot past Robert Morris goalkeeper Brenden Alfery for his first collegiate goal.
Throughout the second half with JMU fighting to tie the game, both teams had numerous chances to score. With 19 minutes remaining, Brett came knocking on the door again for the Colonials, but his header attempt from point-blank hit the crossbar and stayed out. Nine minutes later, Madison freshman forward Joe Vyner (Bath, Somerset, England/Beeches Cliff School) received a cross in the middle of the penalty area. The tall forward jumped and put his head on the ball, but his attempt sailed just over the crossbar to keep the score at 2-1.
After getting outshot 7-5 in the first half, the Dukes finished with a 17-11 shot advantage while putting six shots on goal compared to RMU’s four.
Two players for the Dukes made their collegiate debuts in the match. Freshman midfielder Drew Mahoney (Cochranville, Pa./Octorara) came off the bench and saw 21 minutes of playing time. Freshman forward Keaton Hinze (Simpsonville, S.C./J.L. Mann) came off the bench in the second half and recorded seven minutes of action late in the game.
JMU stays at home next time out in welcoming West Virginia to University Park on Tuesday, Sept. 23, for a 7 p.m.match. West Virginia will take on high point on Saturday, Sept. 20, in High Point, N.C., before coming to Harrisonburg. Tuesday’s match will be the final game of a three-game road swing for the Mountaineers that started on Sunday, Sept. 14, with a 1-0 loss against fellow Colonial Athletic Association member, Elon.
The game can be seen on MadiZONE HD Sports Net presented by the JMU Alumni Association. Coverage will start at 6:50 p.m.