Sept. 27, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn.- Freshman midfielder Jack Hopkins scored his second golden goal in as many games to hand Marshall a 1-0 victory over Conference USA foe Memphis at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex on Wednesday night. The victory keeps the Thundering Herd (7-0-1) undefeated on the season and gives the team a 1-0 start to conference play, while the Tigers fall to 3-4-1, 0-1 with the loss.
Hopkins received a pass from sophomore midfielder Jahvon Allison in the first period of overtime and rounded Memphis goalkeeper Conor Hurley to fire home the match-winner in the 95th minute of play. Having scored the game-winner in Marshall’s last game, a 1-0 overtime victory over Radford, Hopkins is already well-accustomed to netting vital goals for the Herd this fall. His current tally of three goals has him tied with Eddy Prugh for second on the team in that category.
The goal arrived after Memphis defender Andreas Guentner received a red card in the 74th minute of play and after the Tigers outshot the Herd by a 16-7 margin. Marshall’s senior goalkeeper, Daniel Withrow, was indeed a busy man on the night, making five saves and watching as no less than two Memphis shots were denied by the frame of the goal.
“I was a little worried going into the game because of the 10 day layoff we’d had,” said head coach Bob Gray. “We were a little rusty in the first half, and Memphis, being the good side that they are, kind of had us back on our heels. They had a lot of possession in the opening 45, but we deployed the classic bend but don’t break strategy to survive it. In the second half I thought we gained a little more control and forced them into a foul that cost them a red card. Even after getting the card they were still a dangerous side, though, and we had to fight hard to win the game.”
The Tigers’ C-USA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and leading scorer, Mark Sherrod, led both teams with nine shots, but was unable to find the back of the net as his nemesis, the Herd’s C-USA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, Daniel Withrow
, led the stout Marshall defense to its seventh shutout of the season. The Herd has now allowed just one goal through eight games this season and leads the NCAA Div. I with the least goals allowed. The team is also off to its best start to a season since it went 5-0-2 through the first seven games of 2010. If the Herd wins or draws in its next match against Tulsa, it will tie the Marshall record, nine match unbeaten streak set by the 1997 squad.
“Every conference win is huge. We knew this would probably be our toughest road trip of the season playing against an established Memphis side tonight while still having to play Tulsa on Saturday. It is great to get this victory under our belt and enjoy it, but we are going to start preparing for Tulsa first thing tomorrow because they may be the hottest team in the nation right now.”
Indeed, the Golden Hurricane is 6-3 and has defeated two nationally ranked opponents in matches against No. 3 New Mexico and, most recently, No. 11 Creighton. Last season, Marshall rallied behind two Devin Perkins’ goals to down Tulsa 2-1 in double overtime at Sam Hood Field. Both teams will enter the match with 1-0 C-USA records courtesy of the Golden Hurricane’s 4-0 win over South Carolina and the Herd’s 1-0 win over Memphis.