Men’s soccer downs Tampa in exhibition action, 2-1
Senior goalie Joey Sanchez helped the Dolphins to a scoreless first half in his first action of 2009
Senior goalie Joey Sanchez helped the Dolphins to a scoreless first half in his first action of 2009
Junior forward Nedim Hrustic showed little off-season rust as he scored both goals to lead the JU men’s soccer team past the University of Tampa, 2-1, in exhibition action on Wednesday night at the Ashley Sports Complex.

Hrustic gave the Dolphins the lead with a goal midway through the first half before scoring the game-winner to break a tie late in the match. Senior goalie Joey Sanchez helped the JU defense to a scoreless first half, while sophomore goalie Johnny Foley made two key saves in the second half to preserve the victory.

The Spartans got their lone score of the match in the second half when Joey Gratt netted a ball on a defensive mishap by the Dolphins.

“We looked pretty good for our first live action,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “Even though we still have some people missing, I was very pleased with the overall effort. I saw glimpses of how good we can be in the first half, but we got tied in the second half which is to be expected. Most importantly, we plan to get sharper and improve each day to get ready for our season opener on Sept. 1.”

Less the 15-minutes into the first half, Hrustic slipped the ball inside the left corner of the net on a pass from sophomore midfielder Matt Wallace to give the Dolphins a 1-0 advantage.

The Dolphins had another chance to add goal in the half after sophomore midfielder Kyle Johnson laid a good pass across the middle, but senior Riley Butler just barely missed knocking the ball in for the score.

Sanchez and the JU backline were stingy against Tampa’s offense by holding the Spartans to just two shots in the half.

In the second half, Foley got thrown into the fire quickly after the Spartans smashed two shots at goal within the first five minutes. The backline blocked one of the shots, while Foley secured the next shot to end the threat.

Gratt tied the match by scoring on a wide-open shot after one of the Dolphins’ players fell down to the ground.

Less than five minutes later, Hrustic picked his team up by scoring again on a pass from Butler to give the Dolphins a 2-1 advantage.

The Spartans took one final shot at tying the game with less than four minutes remaining when they fired a shot that Foley punched into the crossbar and grabbed out of the air before a charging Chris O’Brien could knock it in the goal.

The Dolphins return to action on Monday with their final exhibition match against Flagler in St. Augustine, Fla. at 7 p.m.