Men’s soccer heads to face cross-town rival UNF on Sunday
The biggest game on Sunday will not be played at the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. It will actually take place on the campus of UNF as the JU men’s soccer team faces the cross-town rival Ospreys at 7 p.m.

The Dolphins (8-7, 5-1) will look to gain ground in several areas over the Ospreys (7-8, 3-3) when these two teams hit the Hodges Stadium pitch this weekend.

JU will be looking to stay in the top of the Atlantic Sun standings as the Dolphins sit in second place with three matches to play, while the Ospreys are in fourth place. The Dolphins also hope to earn a point in the annual SunTrust River City Rumble race. Lastly, JU hopes to regain the Dennis Violett Memorial Cup after falling to the Ospreys, 2-1, in double overtime at the Ashley Sports Complex last season.

“This is a big game for a lot of reasons,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “Our number one priority, no matter who we play this weekend, is winning and getting points in conference play.

“The opponent this week just happens to be UNF. This is a huge game and our kids now the importance of it. Losing for the first time in four years last season really stuck with us in a bad way. We are looking for the chance to redeem ourselves and keep pace at the top of the A-Sun standings.”

The Dolphins remain in the A-Sun regular-season title hunt after downing Stetson (Oct. 17) and Florida Gulf Coast (Oct. 19) on the road. JU has now won the last seven of eight A-Sun road matches dating back to last season.

Sophomore forward Tony Taylor scored two of the Dolphins’ four goals in only his second start of the season to help JU earn a 4-1 against Stetson. Senior goalie Joey Sanchez had five saves, including key stop on a breakaway which helped lead to JU’s game-winning goal.

After the Eagles scored a program-record seven goals on Oct. 17, the Dolphins held Florida Gulf Coast scoreless for a 2-0 victory on Oct. 19 in Ft. Myers, Fla. The Dolphins limited the Eagles to only six shots in the match to finish the weekend undefeated.

Senior midfielder Ramak Niakan safi scored the game-winning goal on an assist from Taylor, while sophomore forward Nedim Hrustic added an insurance goal in the 86th minute.

Sanchez recorded four saves in the match to earn his fourth shutout of the season. He finished the two games with nine saves and 0.50 GAA to be named A-Sun Defensive “Player of the Week.”

For their efforts last week, the Dolphins earned a No. 7 ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association south region.

The Ospreys are in the midst of a two-game losing streak as they head into the match on Sunday. Last week, UNF dropped a 7-1 decision to Florida Gulf Coast on Oct. 17 before falling to Stetson, 1-0, two days later.