SATURDAY, APRIL 07, 2012
Scorching defense leads JU to win
Jacksonville pulled out a seldom-used defense, played it to near perfection in holding Canisius scoreless for a nearly unheard of 44 minutes, and topped the Golden Griffins 9-8 in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game here Saturday.
The Dolphins (5-6, 2-2) had fallen behind 8-4 with 10:53 to play in the second quarter when Canisius’ Travis Gibbons scored the second of his two goals and the last his team would score for the day.
Following that, the Dolphins went from a man-to-man defense to a zone and avoided being shut out in the second themselves when freshman Ari Waffle scored with 29 seconds to play after taking a pass from Quint Miller.
Canisius (2-6, 1-2) got off only three shots in the third quarter and by that time JU had used goals from Donovan Lange, Rob Wertz and Conor Igoe to tie at 8 going into the last quarter.
That set the stage for JU midfielder Cam Mann to score his third goal of the game, and the game winner, with 6:08 to play on an assist from Waffle. The goal was the 39th consecutive game Mann has scored a point, all games in school history, and was the 53 of his career making him the all-time program leader in that category.
Meanwhile, the defense and goalie Pete DeLuca refused to budge. DeLuca recorded three of his nine saves in the last period on seven Golden Griffin shots and Mann’s game-winner was one of only two shots the economical Dolphins fired in the last.
“We were so poor in the first 16 minutes we were playing well on the offensive end, but man, oh, man we gave up so many easy ones on mental errors and it was disheartening,’’ JU coach Guy Van Arsdale said.
Van Arsdale said the strategy to go to zone was the payoff.
“We’ve only played that style of defense in only small parts this year so I think it caught Canisius a little off guard,’’ he said. “When we made our change to the zone it gave them fits and it gave our goalkeeper a chance to see balls we know he can stop. Our goal keeper backs it up.’’
Van Arsdale also had high praise for Mann, who had five ground balls to go with his hat trick.
“We had a great day out of Cam Mann again,’’ he said. “He continues to just amaze. Everybody in the house knows what he can do and what he’s going to try to do and he still gets it done.’’
- Jim Nasella