I made it to two matches this past weekend, both hard-fought ones that could have gone either way, but in both cases Virginia teams prevailed over local teams.
James Madison 1, Maryland 0
At least since the current seniors were freshmen, the Maryland Terrapins have struggled to put the ball in the back of the net. This Thursday night match was no exception, as despite a moderate advantage in shots (14 to 11) and a huge advantage in corner kicks (13 to 0), they were unable to do so. It cost them 3:35 into overtime. The Dukes swarmed a Maryland defender as she tried to get the ball out of her own end. She tried to pass the ball, but it ended up with Rachel Ivey, who brought it forward and then passed it to Ashley Herndon at the top right corner of the box, who sent it into the left side netting past leaping goalkeeper Rachel Egyed, who certainly didn’t want her first collegiate start to end this way.
It didn’t help that the corner kicks were not well placed. Shannon Collins’, from the right, tended to sail, while Riley Barger’s, from the left, seldom had enough on them to be dangerous – one of them just rolled gently to the near post, where a JMU defender had no problems clearing it.
Barger’s best effort – and the Terps best chance of the first half – came in the 33rd minute when she found Sarah Molina’s head in the goalmouth. Goalkeeper Ellen Forrest had to tip the ball over the crossbar.
The best Maryland chance of the second half came in the 73rd minute when Natasha Ntone-Kouo sent a cross in from the right. Maisie McCune was in point-blank range but headed it wide right.
JMU’s only serious chance of regulation came in the 87th minute when Allie Bunner – their leading goal-scorer at the time – sent in a rocket of a shot from about 25 out that bounced off the crossbar.
Virginia Tech 2, Georgetown 1
The Hoyas hosted the #12 Hokies, who were missing leading goal-scorer Murielle Tiernan due to a concussion. It was a hard-fought match with chances on both sides, but with two minutes to go in regulation with the match at 1-1 Virginia Tech brought the ball down the right side, then managed to work it across via Kallie Peurifoy through to Laila Gray inside the box on the left, who put it in the right side netting from about 10 yards out.
Goalkeeper Emma Newins kept Georgetown in it early, saving a shot from Peurifoy in the 14th minute, coming out of the box in the 16th in Ashlyn Harris fashion to clear a 1-on-1, and making a leaping grab of a cross from Gray in the 27th minute to keep that ball from becoming dangerous.
At the other end, Crystal Thomas dribbled into the box in the 32nd minute and got off a shot that goalkeeper Kaylyn Smith blocked. Thomas collected the rebound and shot again, but Smith was there for that as well.
Virginia Tech got on the scoreboard in the 42nd minute when Jordan Coburn’s corner kick from the right bounced off the far post and back to the near post, where in a scramble Candace Cephers was able to put it in.
The Hoyas tied it up in the 55th minute. On a counterattack after a Hokies corner, Grace Damaska got through on the right and sent a cross to Thomas, who finished nicely into the upper left corner to tie the match up.
The score seemed to inspire Georgetown, who had the better of chances over most of the ensuing minutes. Damaska got a great through ball from Chloe Knott in the 69th minute, but Smith made a great save on her shot. Caitlin Farrell got through on the right in the 74th minute but shot into the right side netting. The Hoyas earned several corner kicks as well, though nothing came of them.
With time winding down I began to think that I was going to see my second overtime game in a row, but then Virginia Tech managed to break through.