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Ginger Deel dribbles the ball past American University players.

JMU women’s soccer played its first match in the Fairfield by Marriott Invitational on Thursday, falling 3-2 to Virginia Tech. The Dukes drop to 1-3-0 in the early season, while the Hokies improve to 4-1-0.

The Hokies started off quick with senior midfielder Emily Gray scoring at 16.’ JMU answered shortly thereafter, as redshirt freshman midfielder Lexi Vanderlinden scored at 31’ to tie the match. Gray scored 10 minutes later to give Virginia Tech the lead again, and the Hokies went into halftime up 2-1. 

The game remained tight throughout the second half. Vanderlinden tied the game again at 63’, but Gray scored less than two minutes later on a penalty kick. After 25 minutes of scoreless action, the match ended.

Virginia Tech had several opportunities, but JMU redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Alexandra Blom kept the Hokies from pulling away. Virginia Tech had 10 shots on goal, but Blom saved seven of them — the most she’d had in a match since Oct. 10, 2019, versus Hofstra. The Dukes took 12 shots, but only five of them were on goal. 

Vanderlinden’s goals were the first two of her collegiate career, and Gray picked up her first hat trick of the season. Both teams play Sunday on the final day of the Invitational: Virginia Tech plays No. 9 and defending national champion Santa Clara at 11 a.m., and JMU goes against No. 3 Virginia at 3 p.m.

Contact the sports desk atbreezesports@gmail.com. For more soccer coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.