After JWU volleyball swept their season-opening doubleheader on Saturday, and the women's soccer team won the opener earlier on Sunday afternoon, the pressure was on the Wildcats Men's Soccer team. After some first-half adversity, the men's team battled back to complete the 4-0 weekend for Johnson & Wales.
The Wildcats hosted Regent University in the blazing heat. JWU (1-0) came out sluggish in the first half, and the labored effort saw them trailing 1-0 at halftime. Connor Holt opened the scoring in 33rd minute for the Royals after a Wildcat give-away in their own half.
The first half may have disappointed, but a committed effort from JWU in the second half saw the Wildcats turn the tables on the Royals (0-2). The first goal came in the 54th minute after some combined pressure from Josiah Davis and Brandon Greene. The ball came free and "Bubba" Greene was able to even the score for the home team. The goal seemed to change the momentum of the game drastically. 13 minutes later, a marauding run from defender JT Fucci ended with a pass to Sam Fanning for the second JWU goal of the game. Shortly afterwards, a foul in the box gave Johnson & Wales the opportunity to ice the game. Mo Baskaron stepped up and cooly slotted the penalty home to expand the lead to 3-1, capping the scoring for the game.
Head Coach Matt Payne saw a lot from his team today. "We didn't adapt well to the heat and space today. Credit to Regent for bringing the hard work from the beginning. Coach Okai has done an excellent job building their young program. Overall I'm proud of the men for showing a lot of character in the heat to fight back in the second half. Persistence and perseverance are two things we are trying to instill everyday, and they showed that. Next step is to get that for 90 minutes. We have to improve our focus and commitment to hard-work on the field, and I believe the second half can be a springboard for that development."
The Wildcats are next in action on Tuesday, August 30 at 7:00pm at Washington Adventist University in Tacoma Park, MD.