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Virginia Tech Falls to No. 12 James Madison in Hard-Fought Match

By Ellie Warren | February 15
Vt vs jmu
Lauren Render and Whitney Liebler's goals were not enough to give the Hokies the lead over JMU. (Virginia Tech Athletics).

Coming off of their fiery season opener against VCU and the program’s 200th win, the Hokies stayed in Blacksburg for their second game of the season against No. 12 ranked James Madison Dukes. The Hokies were hoping to extend their record to 2-0, but fell short. The Dukes evened their record to 1-1, as they fell to No. 1 University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

From the opening minutes of the game, one could tell that it was going to be a battle that would require the benches of both teams to step up. The Dukes began the game with a powerful start, scoring in the second minute. But the Hokies quickly answered back with a goal from Blair Guy assisted by Paige Tyson.

The first quarter proved to be a dominant one for James Madison. The Dukes went on to score three more goals, improving their lead to 4-1. The Hokies left those three goals unanswered, but then worked heroically in the second quarter to even the score 4-4. Goals were scored by Claire Schotta, Lauren Render, and Whitney Liebler. The second quarter was where the Hokies shined and were able to truly organize their offense and score electric goals.

Before the first half was over, JMU’s Abby Peterson -- last year’s CAA player of the year -- scored her second goal of the match bringing the score to 6-4. However, thirty seconds before the clock would expire, the Hokies countered again with another goal from Guy, shortening the Dukes’ lead to 6-5.

The second half started off with a bang, as Peterson scored a minute in, extending the Dukes’ lead yet again to 7-5. But the third quarter ended up being a string of failed attempts for both teams. Jocelyn Torres, the Hokie’s Freshman goalkeeper, and Kat Buchnan, the Dukes’ redshirt senior goalkeeper, both had huge impacts on the game. Before the third quarter came to a close, Virginia Tech’s Claire Schotta scored her second goal of the evening to close in on James Madison’s lead.

For the start of the fourth and final quarter, both Tai Jankowski and Peterson, two of James Madison’s most threatening offensive players, were sitting on the bench. The Hokies were only behind one goal and had many chances to even the score but just kept falling short. James Madisons’ Caitlin McElwee scored the last goal of the game to bring the final score to 8-6.

Throughout the entirety of the game, Virginia Tech struggled with turnovers and finding their footing offensively. Many of JMU’s goals came off of transitions, finding Virginia Tech attempting to keep up. Virginia Tech was out ground-balled and had a total of 15 turnovers to James Madison’s six.

This Sunday, the Hokies take on Mercer University. This game will be the Bears’ first of the season when they take to Thompson field at 12 p.m.