West Virginia men’s soccer dropped points on Wednesday after James Madison scored a late game-tying goal to force a 1-1 draw.
The Mountaineers are in a different mood than what they felt after their last draw with No. 2 Kentucky, as they controlled much of the match in Harrisonburg. The game shifted in favor of the Dukes in the final 20 minutes as they equalized in the 72nd minute, and came just inches away from stealing the win in the closing seconds.
All five of WVU’s shots in the first half hit the target, but JMU goalkeeper Sebastian Conlan was only able to save four of them.
Ryan Crooks was the man to beat Conlan in the 35th minute when he nudged a slow roller in the box to the back of the net. That was Crooks’s third goal of the season and his first since his brace against American on Sept. 6.
JMU equalized nearly forty minutes later after a miscue from the WVU backline. Center-back Bjarne Thiesen attempted a pass over the middle but he missed the ball and gave it to fellow German national Cameron Arnold. The freshman forward Arnold dribbled around WVU goalkeeper Jackson Lee and found Ethan Taylor in the box, who scored on the open net.
WVU took just two more shots in the remainder of the match, both of which missed the net.
The Dukes had the final chance to take a win in the closing seconds as Clay Obara took a shot that went off the right post. The rebound went to Josiah Blanton, who took another attempt that was saved by Jackson Lee, sealing the draw with six seconds on the clock.
Lee made three saves in the contest as he returned to the starting lineup for the first time in three matches.
After its dismal start to the Sun Belt Conference that included four straight scoreless performances, WVU has now scored in four straight matches. The Mountaineers are also unbeaten in that streak, with two wins and now two draws.
With the point earned in the draw, WVU holds at fifth place in the Sun Belt standings with seven points. Old Dominion, who led WVU by a point for fourth, leaps to second in the league after defeating South Carolina on Wednesday.
The Mountaineers trail Kentucky, the top team in the league, by five points with two games to go.
WVU’s final regular season home game of the season is slated for Sunday when the Mountaineers host Georgia State. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.