THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2008
Men’s soccer readies for NCAA Tournament match against Louisville on Friday
The JU men’s soccer worked out for an hour on Thursday morning at Cardinal Park in Kentucky for the Dolphins NCAA First Round Tournament match against Louisville on Friday at 7 p.m. The Dolphins (11-8-1) reached the tournament for the first time since the 1998 season after rallying in consecutive matches to win the Atlantic Sun Championship on Nov. 15. JU is 8-2-1 since the start of October and had added four of its six shutouts during in that span. The Cardinals (11-7-2) earned a spot in the Big East quarterfinals to get an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament. They have lost the last six of the eight matches, but pulled of wins against nationally-ranked Notre Dame and St. John’s in the regular season to make their second consecutive trip into the tournament.

“We are ready for this,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “We had a good workout this morning and are looking forward to getting on the field. Our team has planned to get here all season and now its time to execute to get a good result.”

Currently, the Dolphins are led by senior midfielder Ramak Niakan Safi, who has a career-best nine goals heading into tournament. He also has a total of six goals in the last four JU wins, including two in the A-Sun Championship to earn Tournament MVP accolades.

Sophomore forward Tony Taylor is second on the team with five goals and 13 points, while senior forward Sebastian Lindholm has career-best six assists to help pace JU.

The duo also brings NCAA Tournament to the Dolphins’ squad as Lindholm played South Carolina during its 2004 appearance and Taylor was on the USF team that made the tournament last season.

Junior goalie Joey Sanchez has a career-best 56 saves, 1.10 goals against average and six shutouts to help man the Dolphins’ defense.

Freshman forward Colin Rolfe and senior midfielder Ryan McDonald each lead the Cardinals with five goals. Freshman goalie Andre Bourdreaux has held it down in the net with a 0.96 GAA in 20 starts for an 11-6-2 record.

Fans can follow the match live on Gametracker by clicking the link on the top of the page.