HARRISONBURG, Va., Oct. 2, 2013 – The James Madison men’s soccer team broke through offensively and junior goalie Bill Groben (Chester, Va./Thomas Dale) recorded his first career shutout in a 3-0 win over visiting Loyola in a non-conference game Wednesday at University Park.
The shutout was the second of the season for the Dukes, who have been consistent defensively all season. They have yet to allow more than one goal in any game.
Offensively, JMU has struggled lately, scoring just one goal – an own goal in a 1-1 tie with Stetson – in its previous three games. That changed against Loyola as the Dukes were relentless with their attack from start to finish.
Sophomore Daniel Roppert (Munich, Germany/Dorfen) got things rolling for the Dukes with his second goal of the season in the 30th minute. Set up for a direct kick following a Loyola foul, junior Josh Grant (Plymouth, England/Torpoint College) ran by and touched the ball, and Roppert followed with a laser that found the back of the net from 25 yards out.
Both of Roppert’s goals this season were game-winners. His first goal was a penalty kick in a double overtime win over Fordham in the season opener.
Thanks to Roppert’s goal, the Dukes took a 1-0 lead into the half. They held a 10-2 advantage in shots and had yet to allow a shot on goal to that point.
The Greyhounds put more pressure on in the second half, registering nine shots and three on goal, but came up empty as Groben made three saves for his first shutout in only his second career start.
Meanwhile, the Dukes didn’t slow down with their attack in the second half, scoring two more goals. Junior Steven Mashinski (Fairfax, Va./Chantilly) recorded his first goal of the season in the 61st minute. Loyola goalie Zach Kane stopped a shot by sophomore Tom Fouhy (Buckinghamshire, England/Dr. Challoner's), but Mashinski was there to tap in the rebound.
Sophomore Michael Russo (McLean, Va./McLean) also scored his first goal of the season, upping the Dukes lead to 3-0 in the 71st minute. Grant tallied his second assist of the game with a nice cross to set Russo up in front of the net.
Loyola entered Wednesday night’s game as the second-ranked team in the North Atlantic by the NSCAA. The Greyhounds held a 7-1 advantage in the all-time series with the Dukes, including a 4-2 win last season.
JMU opens conference play at home Sunday against defending CAA champion Northeastern. The conference showed its top-to-bottom quality on Tuesday and Wednesday. In addition to JMU’s win against a regionally-ranked opponent, Delaware knocked off nationally-ranked UMBC, UNC Wilmington topped Duke, and the College of Charleston beat previously unbeaten Winthrop.
The Dukes’ game with Northeastern is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be broadcast free of charge by Madizone HD Sportsnet presented by the JMU Alumni Association.