HARRISONBURG, Va., Sept. 17, 2011 -- Freshman Boyd Reid's (Ajax, Ontario/Pickering) goal in the 72nd minute lifted the James Madison men's soccer team to a 1-0 win over Lafayette Saturday night at the JMU Soccer Complex.
The Dukes improved to 3-1-1 overall and remained unbeaten and untied (3-0-0) at home this season. Lafayette saw a four-game (3-0-1) unbeaten streak end; the Leopards' overall record dropped to 4-2-1.
JMU's goal was the first allowed by Lafayette since a 1-1 tie with Cornell on Sept. 6. The Leopards entered Saturday's game with a string of three consecutive shutouts. The Dukes' score ended a stretch of nearly 381 (380:49) scoreless minutes by Lafayette.
The winning play started on a long throw-in by senior Jason Gannon (Vienna, Va./Flint Hill), who had just reentered the game after being forced to leave the match 15 minutes earlier after suffering a cut to his forehead.
Gannon's throw from the right sideline sailed into the box near the right post and was headed by redshirt senior Jimmy Simpson (Warrenton, Va./Fauquier) to Reid, who one-timed a shot from close range just inside the left post.
"It was a grinder (but) was nothing we didn’t expect," said JMU Head Coach Tom Martin. "Lafayette is well-coached and well-disciplined (and) they rotated a lot of players in and out to keep a high tempo.
"We scored a nice goal on a set piece. It was all Jason Gannon. We didn't know we had a thrower that could throw the ball that effectively. He told us before the game 'Look how far I can throw the ball, I can chuck it. I’m amped, I’m motivated, let's try it.' And we got a flick (off Gannon's throw), and Boyd hit the back post."
JMU redshirt senior goalkeeper Justin Epperson (Herndon, Va./Oakton) finished with four saves to get his second shutout of the year. He had several key defensive stops, including one in the 50th minute in which he just managed to cover a back pass from a teammate before the ball before Lafayette junior Blake Fink (Westampton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) could get a foot on it.
A crucial stop came with just 1:11 left to play. Lafayetee junior Zach Winthrop (Philadelphia, Pa./Friends Select) got possession of the ball all alone on the left side of the box and faced Epperson one-on-one, but Epperson made a save on Winthrop's point-blank shot to preserve the shutout.
In the opening half, Lafayette had the two near scoring chances on back-to-back plays in the 15th minute. A ball headed by junior Kyle Scharfenberg (Sylvania, Ohio/Sylvania Northview) off a corner kick was blocked by a JMU defender. The rebound was headed back toward the net by freshman Julian Plummer (Kendall Park, N.J./Hun School), but was saved by Epperson.