Men’s soccer snaps skid with 1-0 victory over USC Upstate
Sophomore midfielder Andy Mikeska had the game-winning assist off a corner kick for JU on Friday night.
Sophomore midfielder Andy Mikeska had the game-winning assist off a corner kick for JU on Friday night.
Senior midfielder Stefan Runeman gave the Dolphins all the offense they needed as he scored the game-winning goal in the first half to help the JU men’s soccer team earn a 1-0 victory over USC Upstate on Friday night in Atlantic Sun action at the Ashley Sports Complex.

The Dolphins (4-9-1, 2-4 A-Sun) snapped a four-match losing streak after Runeman notched his fifth goal of the season in the 27th minute on a header from a corner kick by sophomore midfielder Andy Mikeska. The JU defense limited the Spartans (4-7-2, 1-3-2) to just 11 attempts, while senior goalie Joey Sanchez (1-7-1) made six stops between the posts.

Despite the loss, senior goalie Pat Regna had nine saves in the match for USC Upstate. Senior defender Ben Brannan, sophomore midfielder Timo Foerster and junior forward Erkan Yildirim each finished with two shot attempts.

“It’s nice to finally get back in the win column,” said JU head coach Mike Johnson. “We pressured them right out of the gates and finally got the goal we needed half way through the first half. We created a lot of chances again tonight that we just missed getting into the goal. Luckily, our defense played well in the match and helped us out. Overall, I’m pleased with the effort and we look forward to getting back out there again on Sunday.”

In the first half, the Dolphins came out on a mission by taking the first eight of 10 shot attempts in the match.

Sophomore forward Tyler Williams had a wide open shot early into the 27th minute, but Regina deflected the ball out of bounds which set up a corner kick for the Dolphins. Mikeska passed the ball from the corner back into to a crowded box where Runeman jumped over the defenders and headed it in the back of the net to give JU a 1-0 lead.

In the second half, Runeman tried to extend the lead with consecutive shots in the 52nd minute, but Regna knocked them down. Regna secured a third shot in succession as Mikeska tried to clean up Runeman’s second deflected attempt.

Regna fought off another barrage of shots by the Dolphins less than six minutes later after Runeman hit the post and Williams followed with a shot that was saved.

The Dolphins thought they had another goal in the 75th minute on a score from Runeman, but they were whistled off sides.

Less than two minutes later, the Spartans had junior forward Maurice Beggs breaking in the box for a shot on a high cross from midfield, but Sanchez pulled the pass away before any damage could be done.

Sanchez knocked down an attempt from sophomore midfielder Tim Bailey in the 81st minute to secure the victory.

The Dolphins close out the home schedule on Sunday when they host East Tennessee State at 2 p.m. Sunday’s match is also Senior Day for the Dolphins as they will honor Runeman, Sanchez, Jonathan Jackson, Eddie Munnelly, Riley Butler and Erik Sheppard in a special pre-match ceremony.