Men’s soccer shuts out East Tennessee State, 3-0
Junior goalie Erik Sheppard made five second-half saves for JU.
Junior goalie Erik Sheppard made five second-half saves for JU.
The JU men’s soccer team scored three first-half goals and had a solid defensive effort in the second half to defeat East Tennessee State, 3-0, in the Atlantic Sun home finale at the Ashley Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon.

Sophomore forward Tyler Williams and sophomore defender Casey Tafuri each had a goal for the Dolphins (5-9-1, 3-4 A-Sun) around the 20-minute mark, while junior forward Nedim Hrustic closed out the half with a score in the 28th minute. Senior goalie Joey Sanchez (2-7-1) made two stops is his final home start, while junior goalie Erik Sheppard recorded five saves in the second half to help secure the shutout.

The Buccaneers (3-8-3, 2-4-1) had sophomore defender Matt Reed and freshman forward Theo Yang each finish with two shots on goal. Senior goalie Scott Rosman (3-8-3) made five saves in the loss.

“This was a great way to end at home,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “We did a good job of getting ahead in the match and adding to that lead. I was also happy with the way our defense and bench guys played today. It’s really pleasing to know that we got guys on the bench ready to step up when needed. Overall, we are happy to send the seniors off with a win in their last home match and hopefully we can keep this momentum going next week.”

The Buccaneers came very close to taking the first lead in the game when a shot from Yang spun left of the post less than 11 minutes into the first half.

Senior midfielder Stefan Runeman almost put the Dolphins ahead less than two minutes later after he had a shot bounce off the left post.

Early into the 21st minute, Runeman found Williams on a cross from the left side, which he slid into the net to give JU a 1-0 lead.

The Dolphins made it a 2-0 lead less than two minutes later after Tafuri scored on a pass from a free kick by freshman midfielder Davide Faga.

In the 28th minute, Hrustic secured his fourth goal of the season on an assist from sophomore midfielder Chris Helms to round out the JU scoring in the first half.

Yang had a chance to score in the 29th minute after he caught Sanchez was out of position, but senior defender Eddie Munnelly slid in and cleared the kick from goal to avert the damage.

In the second half, the Buccaneers went right after the Dolphins in the first minute back from halftime with two shots that were blocked.

Less than two minutes later, Yang tried to slip the ball into the right corner of the net, but Sheppard palmed the shot with his left hand to make the save.

Sophomore forward Aaron Schoenfield laced a shot that was knocked down by Sheppard in the 54th minute. As Sheppard tried to regain the deflection, Schoenfield tried to hit the ball in the goal, but the Buccaneers were whistled off sides.

Sheppard would go to make three more saves to help secure the victory.

The Dolphins try to keep their winning streak going when they travel to Macon, Ga. to play Mercer on Thursday at 7 p.m.