Men’s soccer blanks UMass for 2-0 win
The JU men’s soccer team already proved it could take an early lead against a non-conference opponent. But the Dolphins showed a strong finishing ability in the second game of the season as senior Stefan Durr and sophomore Nick Rodriguez added goals and Johnny Foley posted a shutout in a 2-0 win over UMass on Sunday night at the Ashley Sports Complex.

Durr netted his first goal of the season at 28:11 and Rodriguez followed with the insurance marker with 13:21 remaining. The goal was Rodriguez’s first collegiate scoring strike.

The two goals was more than enough support for Foley, who posted five saves, including four in the first half, notched his third career shutout.

JU (1-1) took the early lead against No. 19 UCF in the season opener last week before falling to the Knights, 2-1. But the Dolphins held on to the lead, closing out the win against a struggling UMass squad that dropped to 0-3. The Minutemen have not scored this season without shutout losses to Delaware, UCF and now the Dolphins.

“We competed well and didn’t let up against a good team,” JU head coach Mike Johnson said. “It was good to see Stefan and Nick help get our offense going. It’s always good to get the first win out of the way, especially at home.”

Durr capitalized on Tobias Hottner’s feed for the opening goal, firing a shot through traffic from close-range before beating UMass goalie Shane Curran-Hays at the low right post for his first goal of the season.

Rodriguez came off the bench and sparked JU. With humidity high on the field, Rodriguez used his fresh legs to get a jump on the UMass defense. His athletic goal gave JU its first multi-goal edge of the campaign. Rodriguez gained possession near the right sideline by the UMass bench. With heavy pressure, Rodriguez lofted a far-angle shot that nestled into the top-left corner of the net for a goal.

The goal was the first NCAA score for Rodriguez, who appeared in 19 matches as a freshman.

JU will next be in action against Florida Atlantic on Friday. Game time in Miami, Fla. is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Dolphins will then stay in the area to take on FIU on Sept. 11 at 1 p.m.

- By Brian Bohl