HARRISONBURG, Va., Oct. 15, 2011 — A goal by James Madison redshirt senior Jimmy Simpson (Warrenton, Va./Fauquier) lifted the 17th-ranked Dukes to a 2-1 win over George Mason in Colonial Athletic Association men's soccer Saturday night at the JMU Soccer Complex.
With the win the Dukes remained unbeaten at home (8-0) and improved to 9-2-1 overall. JMU has a 5-1-0 CAA record and is tied for first in the league standings. JMU, Old Dominion (5-1-0) and William and Mary (5-2-0) share the league lead with 15 points apiece. (Three points are awarded for a win, one point for a tie.)
Mason's record is now 5-5-3 overall and 2-3-1 in the CAA.
The winning score began when Simpson's brother, redshirt freshman Daniel (Warrenton, Va./Kettle Run), sent a pass from midfield down the right touchline to junior Paul Wyatt (Modbury, England/Ivybridge). Wyatt got past a defender and dribbled along the end line toward the right corner of the goal. As Mason sophomore goalkeeper Sean Cote (Plano, Texas/Plano) came out to defend Wyatt, he delivered a pass into the box to an on-rushing Simpson. Simpson one-timed a shot into the goal from four yards out with 8:47 left in the game.
JMU led 1-0 after senior Patrick Innes (Chester, Va./Thomas Dale) converted a penalty kick in the 51st minute. The penalty was assessed after a Mason defender took down redshirt sophomore Adam Bastidas (Catasauqua, Pa./Catasauqua) in the box.
Mason scored the tying goal with 14:34 to play. Freshman Timmy Mulgrew (Sterling, Va./Home Schooled) sent a short pass across the box to junior Derek Markheim (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park). Markheim knocked a shot from the left side of the box into the right corner of the goal.
Dukes’ redshirt senior goalkeeper Justin Epperson (Herndon, Va./Oakton) made a season-high seven saves.
Mason held a 13-10 advantage on shots. Cote finished with two saves for the Patriots.
Post-game comments from JMU Head Coach Tom Martin
"It's never easy with Mason but I was very proud on two counts: we came back from a tough loss on the road at VCU (Wednesday), and we came back from giving a goal to equalize the game tonight. I'm really proud in terms of their character and their work ethic, and that’s what got us through tonight."
On the game-winning goal
"Daniel (Simpson) ended up starting that whole link to get that counter attack. He plays a nice ball to Paul (Wyatt). Paul sprints up the right side, and Jimmy Simpson made about a 40- yard run right down the middle of the field and Paul found him and it ended up being a sweet goal."
On the Dukes' defensive effort
"Probably the guy who had his best game in a long time for us was Justin Epperson. He did what he had to do. They had a lot of long throw-ins that put him under pressure. I thought he came up big when he had to, and that's what you need your keeper to do. You like them to make all the routine saves but every once in the while they have to pull one out of the hat. He did a good job on the free kick that just went over the wall and under the cross bar. I know he turned it over for a corner kick but we would rather give them a corner kick then give them a goal."