“This is a fantastic result for our guys,” JMU head coach Tom Martin said. “On the road, first CAA game against a Top 25 team and we put in a great effort as a team. It was a battle from the start and our players kept the clean sheet and combined to put together a great game-winning goal. We can’t ask for much more to open conference play and we’ll try to carry that into our next game Saturday night against UNCW.”
JMU (5-4-2, 1-0 CAA) scored the lone goal of the match in the 83rd minute when freshman forward Joe Vyner (Bath, Somerset, England/Beeches Cliff School) scored his team-leading third goal of the season. The play that set up the game-winning goal started at midfield when redshirt-freshman defender Toby Appleton (Cheshire, England) intercepted an errant ball and fed senior forward Josh Grant (Plymouth, England/Torpoint College) in the middle of the field. Grant surveyed the field, then found redshirt-senior midfielder Steven Mashinski (Fairfax, Va./Chantilly) on the top-left side of the penalty area. Mashinski crossed the field into the box and Vyner gently headed the cross home into the left side of goal to seal the victory for the Dukes.
Delaware (8-4, 1-1) finished with a 7-5 advantage in shots, but each team could only muster two shots on target. The Blue Hens had a lot of quality chances thwarted by the Dukes in the final 1/3 of the field. Off those chances, Delaware earned eight corner kicks while JMU only took one in the match, but the Blue Hens could not capitalize on any of the chances as redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Morton (West Chester, Pa./Reed Henderson) registered his fourth shutout of the season and sixth of his career.
Tasked with guarding Guillermo Delgado, the CAA’s leading scorer to this point in the season, junior defender Bjarki Aðalsteinsson (Kópavogur, Iceland/Menntaskólinn í Kópavogi) stayed glued to the CAA Preseason Player of the Year and held Delgado off the scoresheet. Delgado has scored eight goals this season, the most recent a game-winner in the 109th minute Saturday, Oct. 4, in Delaware’s 1-0 victory over then-No. 23 UNCW in Wilmington, North Carolina. The eight goals this season is good for fourth in the NCAA entering play Wednesday. Aðalsteinsson was selected to the Preseason All-CAA team in August.
The victory for the Dukes marks the first time JMU has defeated Delaware since Madison last traveled to Newark in 2011. The Blue Hens had won each of the previous three meetings between the two programs prior to Wednesday’s game.
The matchup against the ranked-Blue Hens marks the third ranked opponent in a row the Dukes have battled and fourth overall this season. JMU is 1-1-2 against ranked foes in 2014 after topping Delaware. Previously, JMU battled then-No. 16 Penn State to a 1-1 draw, then-No. 22 to a scoreless draw and fell 2-1 in overtime to No. 19 Virginia. The Blue Hens are ranked No. 21 in TopDrawerSoccer.com’s poll and No. 22 in Soccer America.
After playing its last three matches on the road, JMU comes home Saturday night, Oct. 11, during Family Weekend to take on No. 25 UNCW. First kick at University Park between the Dukes and Seahawks is set for 7 p.m. The game will be the fourth straight match against a ranked opponent as UNCW is ranked No. 25 in the NSCAA Coaches Poll, but No. 22 in TopDrawerSoccer.com’s poll and No. 23 in Soccer America.