The sixth-seeded James Madison men’s soccer team knocked off third-seeded Hofstra 2-0 on the road Saturday night at Hofstra Soccer Stadium to advance to the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Semifinals next week against No. 2 UNCW.
JMU moved to 8-7-4 on the year, moving to the CAA Semifinals for the first time since the 2012 season and will play the Seahawks at 4 p.m. on Nov. 14 in Newark, Delaware. During the regular season, JMU and UNCW battled to a 1-1 draw at University Park.
The Dukes got on the board after weathering a storm of Hofstra attacking sequences in the 35th minute when senior forward Josh Grant (Plymouth, England/Torpoint College) put the Dukes up 1-0 on a header off a cross from redshirt-sophomore Connor Coward (Centreville, Va./Centreville). Coward played his cross into the box from the right corner and Grant put it home from seven yards out.
JMU doubled its advantage in the 64th minute when Coward created a chance at midfield from nothing with a great hustle play to push the ball forward. Coward then beat his defender and created a breakaway that put him one-on-one with goalkeeper Patric Pray. Coward took two touches and fired from just inside the top of the box, beating Pray to the left.
Madison put in a third goal with 11 minutes to play when Grant put a rebound attempt home, but it was ruled offsides to keep the match 2-0 in favor of JMU.
After mustering just two shots in the first half, the Pride (10-6-3) mounted an attack on the JMU goal in the second half but the Dukes and redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Morton (West Chester, Pa./Reed Henderson) kept Hofstra at bay for the seventh shutout of the season.
Hofstra’s best chance to score came late in the second half with 3 minutes to play when Joseph Holland took a free kick from 25 yards out that arced over the JMU wall and was headed for the upper-left corner of the goal. Morton made an acrobatic, diving save to knock the ball aside, then stopped a second shot and fell on the ball to keep the score 2-0.
Overall, JMU outshot Hofstra 15-13. The Dukes outshot the Pride 8-2 in the first half, but Hofstra put a lot of pressure on the JMU goal in the second half by taking 11 shots in the frame. Of JMU’s 15 shots, seven went on target while five of Hofstra’s shots were put on goal.
With fifth-seeded Northeastern topping No. 4 Elon on the road 2-0 on Saturday night, Northeastern will take on top-seeded Delaware following the JMU game Friday night. The winners of the two semifinal matches will meet on Sunday, Nov. 16 in the CAA Championship game.