Men’s soccer hosts cross-town rival North Florida on Saturday

The JU men’s soccer team will have little trouble getting motivated for Saturday’s match as the Dolphins host cross-town and A-Sun rival North Florida at the Ashley Sports Complex beginning at 7 p.m.

After splitting their first two conference matches, the Dolphins (3-5-1, 1-1 A-Sun) will be looking to gain ground in the conference standings against the Ospreys (1-8, 1-1), who earned their first win of the season on Oct. 4.

The two teams will also be battling for a point in the annual SunTrust River City Rumble standings as well as shot at winning the Dennis Viollet Memorial Cup, which the Dolphins regained with their victory last season.

“We have a lot on the line for Saturday,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “We want to win to stay up in the conference standings, but we also want to help the school get a point for the Rumble and retain the Viollet Cup. As a team, we need to stay focused on our assignments and not let our emotions from playing our rival get the best of us. We had a great week of practice, so I’m excited for us to get out there.”

Last week, JU dropped its first conference opener since the 2005 season when Stetson handed the Dolphins a 4-2 loss on Oct. 2.

Sophomore midfielder Andy Mikeska helped the Dolphins bounce back by scoring a goal and recording the game-winning assist in JU’s 4-1 win against Florida Gulf Coast. Senior midfielder Stefan Runeman added his third goal of the season in the final minute of the match, while sophomore goalie Johnny Foley recorded six saves between the posts.

Mikeska and Runeman currently pace the team with three goals apiece, while senior midfielder Jonathan Jackson has a team-best four assists. Senior goalie Joey Sanchez has 19 saves in seven starts between the posts.

Like JU, UNF split its first two matches to open the A-Sun schedule. The Ospreys suffered their eighth straight loss to start the season against Florida Gulf Coast, but broke their skid with a 2-0 victory over unbeaten Stetson on Oct. 4.

Junior forward Adam O’Neil is leading the Ospreys in scoring with three goals, while sophomore goalie Jullian Beau has 20 saves in seven matches.

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