No. 25 JMU Edges No. 12 Liberty 3-2, Sunday
The host and 25th-ranked James Madison Dukes used a two-goal surge in the closing minutes of the first half and held on for a 3-2 triumph over No. 12 Liberty, Sunday afternoon at the JMU Field Hockey Complex.
JMU improves to 5-3 this season after its second top-25 win of the weekend. The Dukes also topped No. 16 William & Mary 1-0, Friday evening. Meanwhile, Liberty drops to 4-3 on the year following the non-conference loss. The Lady Flames are 0-2 against top-25 competition in 2022.
9’ – LIBERTY – Pima Iturraspe (Daniella Rhodes)
11’ – LIBERTY – Pima Iturraspe (unassisted)
15’ – JAMES MADISON – Emily Harrison (Cassidy Strittmatter)
29’ – JAMES MADISON – Emily Harrison (unassisted)
30’ – JAMES MADISON – Eveline Zwager (unassisted)
W: Azul Iritxity Irigoyen 4-3, one save
L: Brandelynn Heinbaugh 3-2, zero saves
The Dukes overcame a two-goal deficit, as Liberty freshman Pima Iturraspe scored her first two career goals less than two minutes apart (8:12 and 10:07 marks) in the opening frame. JMU scored with 30 seconds left in the first quarter, as Emily Harrison found the back of the cage on a redirect to trim Liberty’s lead in half.
The Dukes tied it up at 2-all at the 28:13 mark, with Harrison sending a shot from the right side that deflected off a Liberty defender and into the back of the cage. Just over a minute later, JMU senior forward Eveline Zwager found space, entered the circle moving to her right and ripped a forehand shot into the left side of the goal. Zwager’s third goal of the year, coming at the 29:25 mark, sent the hosts into the half with a 3-2 lead.
Liberty managed three penalty corners and four shots in the second half and pulled its goalkeeper with 6:39 remaining. However, the Lady Flames were unable to come up with the equalizer.
Key Stats & Notes
• Daniella Rhodes’ first quarter assist gives her a team-best five assists on the year. Rhodes paces the team with 15 points and shares the team lead with five goals.
• JMU held narrow edges in shots (9-7) and penalty corners (5-4) in the match.
• This is the second time Liberty has conceded three goals this season. The Lady Flames fell 3-0 at No. 1 Northwestern, Sept. 9.
• This is the first time Liberty has let a two-goal lead slip away since a 3-2 double overtime loss to No. 21 Wake Forest on Sept. 30, 2018. In that game, the Lady Flames led 2-0 for the first 41-plus minutes before the Demon Deacons rallied for the victory.
• Liberty’s three losses this season matches the total number of games it lost a season ago. The Lady Flames finished the 2021 campaign with a 20-3 mark.
• The all-time series between the Lady Flames and Dukes is now knotted at 3-3.
Liberty will face off against No. 11 Connecticut (6-1, 1-0 BIG EAST) on Friday afternoon in Storrs, Conn. Game time is 2 p.m. at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex in what is a rematch of the 2021 BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship final. Liberty edged UConn 1-0 in last year’s title game for its first BIG EAST crown in program history.
The Lady Flames are 3-8 all-time versus the Huskies. However, Liberty has the upper hand in recent memory, winning each of the last three meetings.