Oct. 23, 2012
HURRICANE, W.Va. -- A first half goal from freshman Matt Freeman was bookended by a Tom Jackson penalty kick in the game’s dying minutes as the Marshall University men’s soccer team secured a vital 2-0 conference win over FIU on Tuesday night.
With the win Marshall (11-3-1, 3-3-0) picks up 3 vital points for its postseason push, which now amounts to nine points and a fifth place spot in the league standings. For FIU (7-6-2, 0-5-1), it means the Panthers remain at the bottom of the conference having picked up just one point in six league matches this season.
Yet the Panthers had plenty of chances in this game, outshooting Marshall 21-8 and forcing goalkeeper Daniel Withrow to make nine saves on the night. It wasn’t until freshman defender Matt Freeman scored a spectacular volley from a Jesus Mafouta cross in the 35th minute that the Thundering Herd began to turn things around.
“I didn’t think we played particularly well tonight, but we played well enough to get the job done,” said head coach Bob Gray after the match. “Defensively I am happy we were able to get another clean sheet and secure three points that help us greatly in our effort to make the conference tournament.”
Indeed, the Herd defense has now tallied 10 shutouts on the season while allowing the least goals in Conference USA. Offensively, the Herd was aided by the return of senior forward Tom Jackson, who played the entire 90 minutes and scored a penalty kick in the 88th minute to secure the win for Marshall.
“It was good to get back to winning ways after the tough one goal losses we’ve had in the past two conference matches,” said Gray. “It’s been a tough stretch for us with five games in 10 days, but getting Tom Jackson back and securing three points tonight are two things the team is happy about. Now we need to keep focused and concentrate on the two big matches we have left on the schedule.”
The Herd will next travel to No. 19 SMU for a battle against the league’s number one team on Oct. 28, before returning home to wrap up the regular season against UCF on Nov. 3.