Men’s soccer hosts Mercer on Thursday
For the first time in more than a month, the JU men’s soccer team will do something on Thursday they haven’t done very much this season - play at the Ashley Sports Complex.

The Dolphins (5-6, 2-0 A-Sun) host Mercer on their home pitch at 7 p.m. for their first home match since Sept. 7. JU finishes the week on Saturday against Campbell at 4 p.m., which will be featured as the “Game of the Week” by A-Sun.TV.

Saturday’s match will also be the first time that Campbell and JU have met since the Camels ended the Dolphins’ 2007 season on penalty kicks, 5-4, in the A-Sun Tournament Championship match.

“This is a big week for us,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “We have a lot of momentum going from last weekend and we have to carry it over for this week against two very good teams.

“Mercer struggled with its pre-season schedule, but bounced back with a good win against Florida Gulf Coast and battled to a tie with Stetson. For Campbell, there is nothing that needs to be said. They ended our season last year in the A-Sun finals and kept us from making the NCAA Tournament. This loss has stuck with us the entire off season and, on Saturday, we get a chance avenge it.”

The Dolphins just ended a season-long seven match road trip where they traveled over 2,400 miles, ate in 23 different restaurants and stayed in four hotels.

JU finished the trip with wins at USC Upsate and East Tennessee State to start A-Sun play with a perfect record. The Dolphins rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the second half to down the Spartans on Oct. 3, while senior midfielder Stefan Runeman scored a goal with less than five minutes remaining against the Buccaneers to help JU pick up a 1-0 win on Oct. 5.

Runeman’s game-winning goal tied sophomore forward Wesley Lartey for the team lead in goals with three apiece. Senior forward Ramak Niakan Safi, senior defender Philipp Meyner and junior midfielder Jonathon Jackson have each added two assists for JU. Senior goalie Joey Sanchez has the hot hand between the posts after picking up three wins in the last five matches, including two shutouts.

The Bears (1-5-3, 1-0-1) enter the Ashley Sports Complex after earning a 4-1 victory vs. Florida Gulf Coast (Oct. 3) and battling Stetson to a 1-1 tie (Oct. 5). The win snapped an 11-match losing streak for the Bears that dated back to last season and was the first victory for first-year head coach Brad Ruzzo.

Like JU, the Camels (4-5, 2-0) have a perfect start in conference play with wins against Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast. The Camels returned eight starters from last season’s championship, including junior Vince Petrasso. Petrasso clinched the A-Sun Tournament title for the Camels by scoring on the final penalty kick to deny the regular-season champion Dolphins a chance at the title sweep.