Although the Georgetown University women’s soccer team (4-0-3) extended their undefeated season, they drew the James Madison University (JMU) Dukes (3-2-3) 0-0 in what can safely be considered a disappointing result Thursday, Sept. 7. Despite a hard-fought match from both sides, neither team managed to hit the back of the net, with stout defensive performances stifling most offensive hopes.
Aside from a corner for the Hoyas in the first minute, the Dukes held the upper hand throughout the early stages of the match as they pressured the final third repeatedly. JMU came closest to drawing first blood in the fifth minute when JMU forward Suwaibatu Mohammed fired a shot from close range at sophomore goalkeeper Cara Martin, who batted it past the net to deny the chance.
Georgetown did well to stamp out any other forays into their box, and in the 16th minute, senior midfielder Tatum Lenain provided an offensive spark for the Hoyas, rocketing a free kick on the edge of the box to the bottom left corner of the net. However, JMU keeper Alexandra Blom repelled the attempt, notching her first save of the match, and the Duke defense cleared the ball down the sideline.
With some aggressive no-calls and scrappy play from both sides, the first half appeared ripe for a score. JMU forward Sammie Sipes sliced a dangerous shot barely left of the Georgetown net in the 23rd minute, maintaining JMU’s offensive pressure. In the 37th minute, Georgetown junior forward Erika Harwood slipped a ball through defenders to the bottom right corner, but Blom soundly deflected it, and the Hoyas and Dukes ultimately ended the half scoreless.
After a slow first half for the Hoyas, they came out strong in the second, earning four corners in the first 10 minutes. Nevertheless, staunch defense from the Dukes and a gutsy save from Blom in the 50th minute ensured the scoreboard remained the same.
Junior midfielder Eliza Turner emerged as an offensive force and nearly gave the Hoyas the lead in the 59th minute, floating a shot on goal from the top of the box, but Blom punched it over the crossbar, keeping the match level at 0-0.
Turner fired another attempt from 25 yards out just over a minute later, yet it wandered far right, allowing JMU to safely clear the ball with a goal kick.
As a thick fog blanketed the Hoyas’ defensive third, JMU began to offer some pressure, with multiple chances coming 17 minutes into the half and JMU forward Shea Collins challenging Martin with a screaming shot on goal in the 63rd minute. Martin withstood the test, however, deflecting the shot and effectively snuffing out JMU’s short-lived offensive sortie.
The end of the game was characterized by a series of dangerous Georgetown possessions. On a promising service off a corner kick, graduate midfielder Julia Leas knocked a strong header on target in the 71st minute, but it sailed directly into the arms of Blom, who was well-positioned between the woodwork.
In the 87th minute, sophomore forward Henley Tippins threaded a pass to graduate forward Allie Winstanley, creating the best chance for a goal in the second half. Winstanley skied it over the crossbar, though, marking the end of Georgetown’s hope for a goal in the match.
Even as the Hoyas dominated the second half of the game with 11 shots to the Dukes’ three, they had little to show for it. The late flurry of offense from Georgetown did not materialize into the go-ahead goal they desperately fought for in JMU’s defensive third, and the match ended how it began: 0-0.
Georgetown Head Coach Dave Nolan remained positive after the match and credited the Hoyas for fending off a tough challenger side.
“Overall, I don’t think either team did enough to win the game, and credit to JMU, they are a good team and will cause lots of problems for other teams this season,” Nolan told Georgetown Athletics. “I am happy that we managed to get something out of the game.”
The Hoyas also have a pair of key personnel questions heading into the next few games. Although Martin proved herself a capable starter the previous year, she unexpectedly replaced graduate keeper and preseason all-Big East awardee Allie Augur for the match. Junior forward Maja Lardner’s status is also uncertain after being helped off the field late in the second half, visibly avoiding putting pressure on her left leg.
Georgetown Athletics offered no comment when asked about the keeper switch.
Despite a middling performance, Georgetown remains a powerhouse in the NCAA. The Hoyas held their own in a 1-1 draw to No. 3 Stanford University (6-0-1) on Sunday but lost against Princeton University (3-1-1) 3-2 on Thursday, Sept. 14. The Hoyas look to reestablish their winning ways away against St. John’s University (4-1-2) in their Big East opener on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.