Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications
By Bennett Conlin
The feeling around this game was different. Sentara Park was filled to the brim. Curt Dudley’s beloved voice had a different energy to it in the MadiZONE booth. This wasn’t your ordinary Tuesday night JMU soccer game.
After staring slowly, JMU men’s soccer hit a rhythm. The Dukes entered this game 3-0 since an 0-2 start, with a 6-0 beatdown of Elon in the game prior to this matchup. No. 1 Wake Forest came to Harrisonburg, and the Demon Deacons were getting the JMU men’s soccer that sucked the life out of opposing attacks en route to the 2018 Elite Eight.
“Ferriol hits it hard, AND HE SCORES IT,” Dudley boomed. “HE NAILS IT!”
After a tightly contested first half, JMU’s Manuel Ferriol pounded a free kick into the back of the net to give the Dukes a 1-0 lead on the nation’s best team.
Prior to the season, JMU fans likely expected a close match. Two games into the year, fans might have told a different story. Instead, the Dukes didn’t panic. They rallied and returned to form in time for Wake Forest to come to town.
Later in the second half, Wake earned a penalty kick. JMU’s goalkeeper TJ Bush guessed right and made a miraculous save. The play sent Dudley and Dave Lombardo into a frenzy.
JMU held on following the save to take down the nation’s top squad. The Dukes are 4-2 and rolling after a slow start, and the excitement and hype surrounding the team is rightfully returning.
Tuesday was a wild day in JMU athletics. Loren LaPorte earned an extension, JMU football announced a sweet new equipment bus, men’s golf finished third at its event, volleyball beat VCU and men’s soccer capped the night with a win over the nation’s No. 1 team.
JMU’s athletic program has been steadily rising for a few years now. Tuesday symbolizes another step forward for a mid-major program that’s ready to make national waves. It’s a fun time to be a JMU Duke.