Dolphins fall short in waning moments of opener

The Jacksonville University men’s soccer team surrendered a goal with less than five minutes left in regulation to fall to the Georgia State Panthers 1-0 on Friday night in front of a standing room only crowd at the Ashley Sports Complex.

In JU head coach Ryan Pratt’s debut, the Dolphins almost pulled off the upset hanging tough with the Panthers to the very end.  Although the Dolphins were outshot 16-8 and took eight less corner kicks they were able to bend but not break.  Junior goal keeper Gavin Carlin did his part coming up with six saves including four in the second half. 

Despite not having possession much of the match, the Dolphins defense held strong and could not be cracked until the 87th minute when William Mellors-Blair sent in a cross.  Panther forward Alex Vivanco got his head on the ball and directed it at the goal.  Carlin was able to punch the shot away from the goal but GSU’s Gimel Gordan was waiting for the rebound and hammered it into the back of the net for the go-ahead and game-winning goal. 

Offensively for JU, Nick Rodriguez, Jack McIver, and Rene Reyes led the way each with a shot on goal. 

Although they could not come away with the win, the Dolphins, a team with 16 newcomers and no seniors, can take a lot of positives out of taking a 2011 NCAA Tournament team with nine returning starters down to the wire.   

The all-time series between the two programs is now knotted at 11-11-2.

JU returns to action on Sunday when they host the Siena Saints at 2:00 p.m. at the Ashley Sports Complex.