Old rivals. New conference. A fresh start. These were the words to describe the windy Thursday night clash between JMU and the Old Dominion women's soccer teams with a 1-0 win for the Dukes.
This was the Dukes’ second regular-season conference match after recently joining the Sun Belt Conference in the off season. Their first Sun Belt match against Coastal Carolina resulted with the Dukes defeating the Chanticleers 1-0 with a goal from forward Lidia Nduka.
The Dukes continued to climb tonight after the late lone goal by Amanda Attanasi secured them their second regular season win making the team 2-0.
“Tonight was a great tactical matchup,” JMU head coach Joshua Walters Sr. said. “It was a pretty tough matchup and I’m glad we won it.”
Despite the Dukes having the wind’s advantage, both teams remained deadlocked in a defensive battle. The Monarchs looked to have control of the game early in the first half before the Dukes evened the playing field.
“I thought we defended really well,” Walters said. “I didn’t feel like they had a lot of great chances. Pretty typical to what we’re doing now we feel like we defend well and we had the ball a lot.”
The Monarchs had three shots during the half with none on frame while the Dukes amounted seven shots with three on goal.
“We have to be able to create more chances to score,” said Walters. “We can’t leave it to one goal every game, we need to have more opportunities.”
In the 52’, the Monarchs produced an impressive team save off Nduka after she beat their goalkeeper. Alexandra Blom had her first save of the game off a corner in the 53’ after the Monarchs had no shots on goal in the first half.
The Monarchs had back-to-back chances with close calls in the Dukes’ defensive third, but the game remained scoreless. Not long after the Monarchs’ attempts, the game continued to intensify from there and midfielder Ece Turkoglu received a yellow card for unsportsmanlike behavior after fouling Attanasi.
In the 77’, Lexi Vanderlin had one of the Duke’s best chances of a goal but fell short, hitting the crossbar.
But it all came down to the 86’, when midfielder Sophia Verrecchia assisted Attanasi, who sent one past the Monarchs’ goalkeeper Erin Jones to boost the Dukes up to a 1-0 lead.
“I just kept saying in my head that we had to find a way,” Attanasi said. “This is our new rivalry team and I’m glad that as a team we put it away.”
This gives the Dukes a two-game win streak as they travel to Southern Mississippi for their next Sun Belt match Sunday.
“ODU is a hell of a team,” Walters said. “For us winning that game was amazing and I think that gives our girls a lot of confidence.”
Contact Kaiden Bridges at Bridg4ke@dukes.jmu.edu. For more women’s soccer coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.