LEXINGTON, Va.- The Thundering Herd men’s soccer team kept its perfect defensive record intact as it pummeled host-side VMI 7-0 to move to 4-0-1 for the season and capture first place honors at the Jay Sculley Memorial Tournament.
Six players scored for Marshall during a goal-fest that included career firsts for freshmen Jack Hopkins, Matthew Freeman, and Andrew Ferguson. Seniors Eddy Prugh and Tom Jackson, along with sophomore Jahvon Allison, also scored for the Herd as the visitors opened a 6-0 lead before halftime.
Allison scored first for Marshall when his fifth minute shot sailed-in off the post from 25-yards out following an assist from Eddy Prugh. Freshman Jack Hopkins then scored his first-career goal for the Herd after putting away a Tom Jackson cross to double the Herd advantage on 19 minutes. Allison turned provider for the team’s next strike, playing in a corner which Jackson headed home for the 3-0 lead, before Eddy Prugh scored his third goal of the season less than two minutes later.
Up 4-0, the Herd then saw two freshmen tally their first goals in Marshall colors as Matt Freeman scored a 35-yard bomb after being setup by senior Aaron Dini, and Andrew Ferguson finished following a pass from Freeman into the box. Jackson scored the team’s lone goal of the second half with a penalty kick in the 71st minute.
Marshall entered the contest with no goals allowed through four games this season and continued the streak as goalkeeper Daniel Withrow
further extended his season shutout mark to five. Withrow set the career shutout record for the Herd last game with his 16th career clean sheet and today helped lead the squad to a new record of consecutive team shutouts. The previous mark was set at four games by the 2005 team, but was surpassed by Withrow and company as they played to their fifth-straight clean sheet in the win over VMI. If the team keeps its perfect defensive record intact for over 9:17 of its next match against UNC Asheville, it will also set the Marshall record for most consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.
The Herd’s points leader, Tom Jackson, furthered his own individual marks on the day, scoring two goals and registering an assist to move to four goals and three assists – 11 points – on the year. The senior forward leads the team in all three categories (points, goals, assists) this fall and has moved into the Marshall top-five for career points and goals.
Marshall finished the Jay Sculley Memorial Tournament as the only undefeated team and placed three players – Tom Jackson, Eddy Prugh, and Jahvon Allison – on the All-Tournament Team. Allison, who drew the praise of Head Coach Bob Gray throughout the weekend, was also named the Tournament MVP.
“It was a great weekend for us as a whole, with today’s game going even better than expected,” said Gray. “We played very well and every shot we took seemed to go in. There was also a lot of good buildup to the goals and I’m pleased with the overall performances from all of our players. A lot of people got playing time today and we managed to possess the ball well throughout. Hopefully we can continue our success at the tournament in Radford this coming weekend.”
The 4-0-1 Herd will face UNC Asheville in its next match on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in Radford, Va. The game will be the Herd’s fifth-consecutive match on the road.