MORGANTOWN — The No. 3-ranked WVU men’s soccer team remained unscathed in the loss column after a 2-2 draw against James Madison at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium on Sunday.
Both the Mountaineers (8-0-4, 1-0-3 Sun Belt) and the Dukes (4-3-4, 0-2-2) scored one goal in each half. JMU scored the go-ahead goal with each of its scores followed by WVU eventually equalizing but never seeing a lead of its own.
“I liked a lot of what we did today,” WVU head coach Dan Stratford said. “I’m sure we will see things we could’ve done better in those moments we gave away the goals but at the same time they’re a really good team and are coming off of eight days of rest which is huge in a college soccer season. It’s hard to be overly critical seeing the way we finished the game on the front foot and dominant in possession.”
The Mountaineers also began the game that way, seeing nearly 65% of the possession in the game through 15 minutes, but it would be the Dukes to break the ice on the scoreboard.
A errant pass from the WVU defense gave JMU possession with a throw-in in a dangerous area. The ball was worked down the left wing and eventually sent into the box for midfielder Kevin Larsson to hit with his right foot into the back of the net for the opening goal.
It didn’t take long for WVU to find its first goal, as less than six minutes later a free kick was given 30 yards away from goal after a JMU foul.
Mountaineer left back Frederik Jorgensen stepped up to the ball and delivered a spectacular shot that curled its way into the net with no chance of JMU keeper Sebastian Conlon to save it.
The score was all square at one after an exciting opening half that saw the hosts take control early but go behind as well.
“They showed us a lot of respect with the ball in letting us possess it and work it around and on that perspective I thought we did well,” Stratford said. “They were committed to their challenges and tackles and we had to figure out a way to play through that.”
The second half opened the opposite of the first with the Dukes taking control early on. They were rewarded for their efforts with just over five minutes played in the half when forward Cameron Arnold gathered the ball at the top on the box and worked it to his left foot before rifling a shot towards goal that nestled into the top-right corner, giving the visitors a 2-1 lead early in the second half.
The Mountaineers settled themselves down after conceding the go-ahead goal and began to find open space in dangerous attacking areas. After a good defensive play in the midfield, WVU’s Dante Huckaby played a ball for Yutaro Tsukada to run onto behind the JMU defense. Tsukada then floated a ball across the face of the goal that was met by Sergio Navarro and redirected into the far corner for the equalizing header with half an hour still left on the clock.
Both teams fought hard for a winning goal but were unable to find it, being equally sound on defense. At the 86:30 mark, JMU saw a great chance with a 1-on-1 breakaway between Arnold and WVU goalkeeper Jackson Lee with Lee coming out on top with a strong save to preserve the 2-2 scoreline.
WVU will look to remain unbeaten on the road against South Carolina at 7 p.m. Thursday.
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