Marshall Prepares for Crucial Soccer Battle with SMU

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

HUNTINGTON, WV - The Mustangs of Southern Methodist University will roll into town on Saturday night hoping to put an end to Marshall's six game unbeaten streak and perfect C-USA record, but in order to accomplish that goal, they must first put an end to another streak being set by Marshall and its star forward Tom Jackson.

The junior from New Zealand has scored a hattrick in back-to-back home games, and will be looking to add to his season collection of eight goals when the Mustangs set foot on Sam Hood Field for a 7:00 p.m. showdown.

The Thundering Herd men's soccer team has won three straight C-USA matches and sits atop the table with a perfect 3-0 league record. At 6-4 overall, Marshall has won six straight games to pull a complete u-turn on a season that began with a disappointing 0-4 start.

Following a vital 2-0 win over the University of Kentucky, a 3-0 victory over Memphis, and a 2-1, overtime scalp of Florida International, the Herd has positioned itself as a team to beat in the C-USA this season. SMU, meanwhile, enters the match with an identical 6-4 overall record, but is just 1-1 in conference play after defeating Tulsa 2-1 in its last game and falling to No. 6 ranked UCF earlier in the season.

While Jackson and goalkeeper Daniel Withrow - who has four shutouts, one assist, and 50 saves on the season - have been receiving most of the plaudits for Marshall, six other members of the Thundering Herd have quietly made their way onto the score sheet. Anthony Virgara netted both goals in the overtime win against FIU, Michael Hayes, Kyle Sniatecki, and Jahvon Allison scored in the 3-1 victory over Oakland, Carl Munday scored in the 4-0 throttling of Winthrop, and Diego Ayala scored an absolute beauty in Wednesday's 2-0 win over Kentucky.

These players and more will be hoping to stifle an SMU team that perennially finds itself in postseason play and boasts a playmaking pair in Arthur Ivo and Juan Castillo that has accounted for five goals and ten assists so far this year. Last season's matchup will also be weighing on Herd minds, as the team lost 1-2 in overtime at SMU.

Saturday night's game will add an extra element to the matchup in-and-of itself, as students and fans will be attempting to break the Sam Hood Field attendance record in this year's "Jam the Sam" event. Free t-shirts and vuvuzelas will be given out to the first 100 students in attendance, while stadium cups, t-shirts, and other prizes will be given away to fans of all ages throughout the match. Halftime promotions by the West Virginia Federal Credit Union and LUMOS will also take place, and Verizon Wireless will be giving away a free phone. Fans both new and old are invited to come take part in Marshall soccer history and cheer on the Herd as it looks to remain unbeaten in C-USA.

Fans unable to make it to the 7:00 p.m. game can follow live stats by clicking here<>, and can also listen-in on the action via WMUL's live radio broadcast which can be heard by clicking here<>.

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