LEXINGTON, Va. — The Thundering Herd men’s soccer team kept its perfect defensive record intact as Marshall continued its season-long shut out streak by beating Virginia Military Institute, 7-0, to capture first place honors at the Jay Sculley Memorial Tournament at VMI.
Marshall improves to 4-0-1 for the season, and has not allowed an opponent goal in five matches.
Six players scored for Marshall during the onslaught, including career first scores for freshmen Jack Hopkins, Matthew Freeman, and Andrew Ferguson.
Seniors Eddy Prugh and Tom Jackson, along with sophomore Jahvon Allison, also scored for the Herd as Marshall opened a 6-0 lead before halftime.
Allison scored first for Marshall when his fifth minute shot sailed-in off the post from 25-yards out, coming on an assist from Prugh.
Hopkins then scored his first-career goal for the Herd after putting away a Jackson pass for a 2-0 lead 19 minutes in.
Allison then assisted a Jackson header for a 3-0 lead, before Prugh scored his third goal of the season less than two minutes later.
Freeman scored a 35-yard goal for his first collegiate points, assisted by senior Aaron Dini.
Then Ferguson scored off a pass from Freeman, in the box. Jackson scored the team’s lone goal of the second half with a penalty kick in the 71st minute.
MU goalkeeper Daniel Withrow extended his season shutout streak to five games, after the senior set the career shutout record for the Herd last game with his 16th career scoreless contest.
The shutout of VMI gave Marshall’s 2012 squad a new Marshall record with five consecutive team shutouts.
The previous mark was four games by the 2005 Herd squad.
If the 2012 squad keeps its perfect defensive record intact past the 9:17 mark of its next match against UNC Asheville (Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Radford [Va.] University), the Herd will also set a new Marshall record for most consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.
Jackson has scored 11 points on the season, including the two goals and an assist in this match, to move to four goals and three assists on the year.
The MU forward leads the team in all three categories (points, goals, assists) this fall and is now fifth all-time for career points (56) and goals (23). Withrow needs only two assists to move into a tie for 10th in that category with MU HOF member Byron Carmichael (128 points, 58 goals and 12 assists, 1999-2002), Kirk Gibson (2002-05) and Mike Glasgow (1990-94).
Marshall finished the Jay Sculley Memorial Tournament as the only undefeated team, with three players — Jackson, Prugh and Allison, the tournament MVP — on the all-tournament Team.
“It was a great weekend for us as a whole, with today’s game going even better than expected,” said Marshall Coach Bob Gray.
“We played very well, and every shot we took seemed to go in. There was also a lot of good buildup to the goals and I’m pleased with the overall performances from all of our players.
“A lot of people got playing time today and we managed to possess the ball well throughout. Hopefully we can continue our success at the tournament at Radford this coming weekend.”
The Herd will face UNCA in its next match Friday, the Herd’s fifth-consecutive match on the road, and face the Highlanders of Radford on Sunday at 4 p.m.
The road show continues for the start of Conference USA play at Memphis (Sept. 26) and at Tulsa (Sept. 29) before finally returning home on October 3 for five of the final eight regular season matches back in West Virginia over the final 31 days of the season.
The home slate down the stretch will feature a schedule including final non-conference team Asbury and C-USA opponents South Carolina, Kentucky (the SEC schools are affiliated member for C-USA for men’s soccer), FIU (joining C-USA as a full member next year) and finally UCF for Senior Night on Nov. 3.
It all leads up to the C-USA Tournament, Nov. 7-11 in Birmingham, Ala.