Men’s soccer plays at No. 3 Mercer on Saturday in A-Sun first round
The road back to the NCAA Tournament starts on Saturday for the JU men’s soccer team as the No. 6 Dolphins play at No. 3 Mercer in the first round of Atlantic Sun Conference Championship at 7 p.m. in Macon, Ga.

The winner will face No. 2 Stetson in the conference semifinals on Nov. 11 in Johnson City, Tenn.

“We are relived to be back in the tournament,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “We dug ourselves into an early hole in A-Sun play and lost some other close matches, but we fought our way back into the postseason. I feel like we can win the title. We start against a tough opponent in Mercer because of its style play, but I am confident we can get a good result.”

The Dolphins (8-8-2, 3-5-1 A-Sun), who are playing in the fround for the first time since 2006, earned the last spot into the tournament after recording a 1-1 tie against the Hatters in the regular season finale on Oct. 31.

Junior forward Tyler Williams scored the lone goal for JU, while sophomore goalie Zach Greenwald came up huge with eight saves to secure the tie and earn the tournament spot.

The Bears (10-5-1, 5-4) closed out the season on a three-match winning streak that started at the Ashley Sports Complex with an 1-0 overtime win over the Dolphins on Oct. 23.

Mercer got the game-winning score from Ian King in the 97th minute on a corner kick by Ian Cameron to sink the Dolphins.

Despite the loss to Mercer less than two weeks ago, the Dolphins enter the matchup with the second-best offense in the A-Sun – led by senior forward Nedim Hrustic who has scored a conference-best 10 goals.

On the flip side, the Achilles heel for the JU has been its defense this year which ranks sixth in goals allowed with 31. Mercer has allowed 18 goals through 16 contests to rank third in the category.

The Bears are currently lead offensively by Cameron who has tallied five goals and four assists in 15 matches. Brett Petricek has recorded 50 saves and six shutouts between the posts in 2010.

Fans can follow the match on Saturday through live stats and live video streaming on A-Sun.TV by logging onto