HARRISONBURG, Va., Sept. 24, 2011 — Junior Paul Wyatt (Modbury, England/Ivybridge) scored twice for the Dukes as the James Madison men's soccer team opened Colonial Athletic Association play with a 3-0 shutout of Towson Saturday afternoon at the JMU Soccer Complex.
JMU remained unbeaten (4-0-0) at home and improved to 4-1-1 overall. Towson dropped to 1-4-1 overall in the Tigers' first CAA match of the year.
Senior Patrick Innes (Chester, Va./Thomas Dale) netted the Dukes' other goal on his team's first shot of the contest. Innes recorded the game-winner in the 11th minute on a play that began when redshirt freshman Daniel Simpson (Warrenton, Va./Fauquier) intercepted a ball off the Towson defense on the left flank. Simpson dribbled down the field and lofted a ball toward the far post to Innes.
Towson sophomore goalkeeper Angelo Viteritti (East Northport, N.Y./John Glenn) stopped Innes' initial attempt, but Innes controlled the rebound and beat Viteritti with a left-footed shot from five yards out.
The goal for Innes, JMU's leading scorer (4 goals, 2 assists), was his fourth in the team's last five games.
Wyatt's two scores marked his first goals of the young season. In the 33rd minute the preseason All-CAA player hit a sharply-angled shot from the left side of the box past Viteritti to the far corner of the goal. Then, with 20 minutes remaining in the second half, he sprinted past three defenders and into the right side of the box, where he beat Viteritti one-on-one with a shot from 14 yards, again to the far post.
JMU out-shot Towson 23-6 and had several other quality scoring chances. Two of those came in the opening half, when Viteritti made a leaping save on an Innes free kick in the 18th minute and when redshirt junior Christian McLaughlin (Herndon, Va./Herndon) blasted a 30-yard shot just over the crossbar in the 21st minute.
Dukes' redshirt senior goalkeeper Justin Epperson (Herndon, Va./Oakton), who got his third shutout of the year, needed to make only two saves. However, that included a kick save on a shot by junior Matteo Vertucci (Rome, Italy/Pendleton) on Towson's only shot of the first half when the Tigers trailed only 1-0.
When JMU's defense failed to clear the ball outside the box on the right side, Vertucci dribbled the ball down to the end line and to the right corner of the goal, where Epperson stopped his shot from point-blank range. That play came in the 28th minute.
Vertucci finished the match with seven saves.
Due to heavy rains in the Harrisonburg area earlier in the week, Saturday's game was moved to the team's practice field and was changed from a scheduled 7 p.m. start to 2 p.m. since the practice field does not have lights.
JMU Head Coach Tom Martin said after the game he was pleased with "the way that the guys handled the game in a very adverse situation -- we're on our practice field, we've had a lot of rain, the game time has changed. And I know it's cliché, it's the same for everybody, but we really enjoy playing at night on the game field and that was one of the biggest challenges today.
"We came out with a lot of energy. We got two goals in the first half, good goals, and we could have got three.
"All CAA games are always going to be combative. At the end of the day the score is really not important. The result's what's important and that's what we got today.