JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville men’s soccer team fell to Western Illinois by a score of 1-0 Sunday afternoon at Southern Oak Stadium.
The Leathernecks struck early in the matchup. A JU foul around the midfield line allowed Western Illinois to gain possession and a great pass from Diego Gonzalez landed at the feet of Diego Lopez who knocked it in for the lone goal of the match.
Less than 10 minutes later, WIU had another close goal from forward Erick Bloom. His shot had the entire crowd fooled as it rattled off of the left post and nearly fell into the net before JU keeper Marc Meny was able to grab it.
With a 4-3 advantage in shots on goal, the Dolphins weren’t able to capitalize on quality ball possessions. “Our [ball] possession is pretty good right now; we have to fine-tune some areas but we are doing a lot of work to put ourselves in good spots” said head coach Ryan Pratt. “We just need to make the right decision in the final piece to make sure we score the goal.”
Matheus Saroli again led the Dolphins in shots and on goals with five and two. JU put forth a strong last-minute effort in the closing five minutes of the match. With 85:53 on the clock, a shot from Guilherme Brandoa traveled over the net and three minutes later a header from Nathan Dalton went just a bit wide. The Dolphins battled till the final second when an offside call gave the Leathernecks the ball and ended the possible JU comeback with eight seconds left in the game.
Sunday’s match marked the conclusion of the Mike Gibbs Memorial Tournament and the Dolphins finished (0-1-1).
Jacksonville is back in action at Southern Oak Stadium on Thursday night as they face Grand Canyon at 7 p.m.
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