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JMU women's soccer returned to the pitch against in-state foe Liberty. 

Before Sunday, JMU women’s soccer hadn’t played a game since Nov. 9, 2019. On Feb. 21, 2021, the Dukes are still without a win or a loss after tying Liberty 1-1. 

JMU controlled possession most of the afternoon on Sentara Park’s turf. The Dukes opened the game with three scoring opportunities in the first 6 minutes of play. 

Liberty gained momentum with its first shot on goal 15 minutes in. One minute later, the Flames’ had a scoring chance with a corner kick, followed by a shot on goal by redshirt junior midfielder McKinley Burkett. Freshman forward Meredith King added a shot off the post 18 minutes in. 

The Dukes had their first corner kick opportunity of the afternoon 21 minutes in from junior midfielder Iris Rabot. JMU senior forward Ebony Wiseman was set up beautifully by freshman midfielder Lexi Vanderlinden for a near-goal opportunity. 

Liberty struck first 35 minutes in  — the first goal of their season — scored by junior forward Kelsey Jamieson. Despite JMU controlling possession for most of the first half, the Flames had a 1-0 lead into halftime. 

The Dukes almost tied the match shortly into the second half with a goal at 47 minutes in, but Rabot was called offside. JMU’s next best scoring opportunity came eight minutes later with a corner kick, but a handball ended the possession. 

JMU’s mistakes were made up for when Weisman scored 57 minutes in from the right-short corner on a shot that just trickled in through Liberty traffic, tying the game 1-1. 

Weisman had another shot on goal soon after, but it was an uneventful second half between the goal and this shot, which set up a Dukes’ corner kick. 

A Liberty shot-on-goal at 79 minutes was one of the only chances they had to score in the second half because JMU began to slow the pace of the game by maintaining ball control down the stretch. 

Late in regulation, JMU sophomore goalkeeper Melissa Hoffheins had four saves in the span of five minutes, including a save at 87 minutes on a breakaway opportunity for Liberty’s King, which halted a late Flames flurry and brought the game to overtime. 

In the first overtime period, JMU had a near-goal opportunity at 96 minutes, but a sliding save by Liberty senior goalkeeper Melody Jayroe kept the game knotted at one. Weisman hit the crossbar on a shot at 99 minutes. 

In the second overtime period, the best scoring opportunity for the Dukes came five minutes in on a throw-in by redshirt junior defender Hannah Coulling followed by a corner kick. Hawfines saved another right as the clock hit zero. The referees kept the game going for about two minutes before the final whistle was ultimately blown. 

With the tie, JMU moves to 0-0-1, while Liberty moves to 0-1-2. The Dukes play next at Towson on March 14 at 3 p.m., while the Flames host Western Carolina this Thursday at 6 p.m. 

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