THURSDAY, OCTOBER 09, 2008
Men’s soccer downs Mercer, 1-0
Senior forward Ramak Niakan Safi scored a goal off the bench in the first half to help the JU men’s soccer team down Mercer, 1-0, in Atlantic Sun Conference action on Thursday night at the Ashley Sports Complex.

Niakan Safi’s game-winning score tied him for the team lead in goals and helped the Dolphins (6-6, 3-0) remain perfect so far in the A-Sun standings. The Bears (1-6-3, 1-1-1) dropped their first decision in the conference play after picking up good results against Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson.

“This was a typical A-Sun match,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “It doesn’t matter what the records are because each game is tough. At times we played good, while in others we were forced to play chaotic.

“It was a great goal in the first half. We had some chances in the second half, but we couldn’t capitalize on it. That is the way soccer goes sometimes. Overall, I was proud of our guys ‘effort and we have to get ready for a tough test on Saturday.”

The Dolphins had chance to get on the board with their first shot of the game when junior defender Eddie Munnelly launched a shot from 20-yards out that Bears’ keeper David Bird knocked down in front of him. Senior forward Sebastian Lindholm tried to score on that loose ball, but Bird saved it as well.

With a less than a minute remaining in the half, Nikan safi raced for 15 yards down the field and scored his third goal of the season in the bottom left corner of the net to give JU the 1-0 advantage.

In the second half, Bird kept the Bears in the match after making six consecutive saves on attempts by JU. Bird finished the match with nine saves.

JU senior keeper Joey Sanchez recorded three of his four saves in the second half to help keep the Bears off the scoreboard.

The Bears had one final choice to score with 11 seconds remaining on a free kick after JU foul, but the ball was cleared to secure the Dolphins victory.

The Dolphins return to action on Saturday at home against Campbell. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. and will be featured as the A-Sun.TV “Game of the Week.” This match will 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.