Sept. 17, 2008
WASHINGTON - The American University men's soccer team battled to a 1-1 draw against non-conference opponent James Madison on Wednesday at Reeves Field. Both teams have .500 records on the season with the Eagles 3-3-1 and the Dukes 2-2-1.
AU held possession in the opening minutes of the game and created a pair of scoring opportunities early on. A Luis Martinez free kick set up a Danny Shannon shot that resulted in a corner kick. Off the corner a Phil Purdy serve into the box that was flicked back in by Nick Kapus found Cooper Bryant's head, but the Dukes' Justin Epperson was able to come up with the save with 41:33 remaining in the first half.
JMU got its first legitimate scoring chance 20 minutes into the first half when an Eagles turnover in their own half set up a shot for Alex Nydal, but the ball was sent over the net to thwart the attack.
The Eagles continued to create chances off dead ball situations, as another Martinez free kick found Kapus on the far post, but the sophomore midfielder knocked the ball just high of the net.
The scoreless tie was broken with 7:36 remaining when Jamie Davin broke free down the left flank and served a ball to the far post, finding Karsten Smith for the goal and the 1-0 lead that the Eagles would preserve heading into the intermission.
AU came out pressing again to start the second half but it was JMU who capitalized on its first chance with 33:19 left in the game. C.J. Sapong served a ball into the box and found Andrew Harvey on the other end. Harvey chipped AU keeper Matt Makowski for the 1-1 equalizer.
James Madison held possession for much of the second half and out-shot AU by a 9-7 margin, but Makowski made three big saves to force overtime.
In the pair of overtime periods, the Eagles proved to be the more fit, more energized team, but could not put one past Epperson. Jon Freimark came off the bench to play the final 20 minutes of extra time and put a pair of blasts on goal for AU's best chance at a game-winner.
"Our guys in overtime brought a lot of energy and proved that we are deeper than we have been in years past," said AU head coach Todd West. "I think this was a game we should have won, but we weren't as sharp with the ball as we normally are. The biggest thing is that we need to find the same energy level we had in the overtime periods and bring it from the opening whistle. We will be a very good team if we do that."
AU finished with a 20-17 advantage in shots, but JMU held an 8-6 margin on shots on goal. Makowski finished with seven saves, while Epperson stopped five shots. The Eagles will return to non-conference action on Saturday when they host cross-town rival George Washington at 1 p.m. on Reeves Field.