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Marshall blanks James Madison

— By David Walsh

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Matthew Bell and Joao Souza each scored a goal to lead No. 5 Marshall past James Madison, 2-0, in Sun Belt Conference play Tuesday night at Hoops Family Field/Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex.

The win secured Marshall (10-2-3, 4-1-3 Sun Belt) the No. 2 seed for the league tournament. Play begins Sunday and the Herd gets a rematch against No. 7 James Madison (6-7-4, 2-3-3 Sun Belt).

“Just make runs and the ball’s there,” Bell, a freshman, said of his team-leading and league-leading ninth goal. “You score, you get excited. It’s been an amazing season. I’m excited. We have to come back and do it again.”

Herd goalkeeper Oliver Semmle made three saves to record his fifth shutout of the seas

Adam Aoumaich got an assist on both goals. Ryan Holmes also got a helper on Bell’s score.

“Finish off the same,” Souza said of making a run to the back post and burying the pass from Aoumaich. “I wait and the ball’s there. We can score. We just have to convert the chances.

“This was a good way to end. It’s going to be tougher Sunday. They’ll come back mad.”

Herd coach Chris Grassie sensed a goal breakthrough.

“Eventually I felt the goal was coming,” he said. “Chances were there. Things we talked about, areas to get into we did.”

As for effort, the Herd must put forth as much or more Sunday. The Dukes were 3-0-3 in their previous six matches before Tuesday.

“A great effort,” Grassie said of the Herd. “It’ll be a different opponent. Both teams had guys out. We were scrappy and more open. Our scouts put together a good plan.”

Kentucky, ranked No. 2 nationally, is the regular-season league champion and top seed for the tournament.


2022 Sun Belt Men’s Soccer Tournament
Quarterfinals – Sunday, November 6
Hosted by No. 1 Kentucky
Match 1 – West Virginia (4) vs. Coastal Carolina (5), 3:00 p.m.
Match 2 – Kentucky (1) vs. South Carolina (8), 7:00 p.m.
Hosted by No. 2 Marshall
Match 3 – Marshall (2) vs. James Madison (7), 3:00 p.m.
Match 4 – Georgia State (3) vs. Old Dominion (6), 7:00 p.m.

Semifinals – Wednesday, November 9
Hosted by No. 1 Kentucky
Match 5 – Winner of Match 1 vs. Winner of Match 2, 7:00 p.m.
Hosted by No. 2 Marshall
Match 6 – Winner of Match 3 vs. Winner of Match 4, 7:00 p.m.

Championship – Sunday, November 13
Hosted by Highest Remaining Seed 
Match 7 – Winner of Match 5 vs. Winner of Match 6, 1:00 p.m.