After a three-game road swing, the Jacksonville men’s soccer team is set to return home, hosting Belmont on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.
At 1-4-1, JU’s record would appear to show a team going through some growing pains, but in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth. “We have played much better than our record would indicate,” Head Coach Ryan Pratt said.
The Dolphins hold a number of top ten rankings in the Atlantic Sun. The team ranks third in fewest goals allowed, freshman keeper Marc Meny is fifth in save percentage and senior midfielder Nick Rodriguez places sixth in the league in goals.
“We are a young team which is gaining valuable experience each and every game. That experience will pay dividends to us and our program down the road. We are learning how to win and how to win close games. When we begin to take our chances and consistently score goals we will be a very tough team to beat,” Pratt continued.
Belmont (3-3-1) heads to Southern Oak Stadium on the heels of a 2-0 loss to No. 14 UAB. Behind the Bruins success is a pair of freshmen who serve as catalysts for the team. Forward AJ Arnold has a team-leading three goals including a game-winner over Missouri State. On the defensive side, the Dolphins will have to get the ball past goalkeeper Grayson Rector. The freshman currently has 27 saves in addition to notching two shutout victories.
Overall: JU leads the series, 6-5-1.
Notable: JU’s last match resulted in a 2-0 loss at Belmont on Sept. 29, 2012.
Coach Quotes: “Belmont is a very solid team. They have proven they are a good team and one that will challenge our group on both sides of the ball. I think this will be a very good game and am hopeful our young squad can piece together a 90-minute performance.”