Saturday, September 04, 2004
» Box Score
Harrisonburg, VA --The University of Alabama (2-1) soccer team dropped a heartbreaker Saturday afternoon as it lost to James Madison University (3-0) 2-1 in the first game of the JMU/Comfort Inn Invitational.
As the game entered the 90:00 minute with the score tied at 1-1, JMU’s Sarah Cebulski streaked across the middle of the field and into the right side of the box, spun and found teammate Kim Argy who beat Crimson Tide goal keeper Laura Lowman with :23 left on the clock for the win.
“We lost to a quality team today,” said Alabama head coach Don Staley. “They are avery good team and will win a lot of games this year.”
The win for JMU was their second win in the last week over a Southeastern Conference opponent. The Dukes defeated South Carolina last week.
Alabama and JMU played most of the game in a deadlock. Each team found themselves with opportunities to score, but each team’s defense stood strong. The Dukes outshot Alabama on the afternoon 16-6, but the Tide’s Lowman came up with five big saves and help give Alabama a shot at the victory.
“I’m extremely proud of the way our team fought today,” said Staley. I think we learned a lot about how our girls will respond in pressure situations and this really legitimizes our young freshmen who are seeing a lot of playing time.”
JMU’s Cebulski started the scoring on the afternoon at the 22:08 mark when she showed her speed, sprinted past the Alabama defense and took a sharp angle shot that found the back of the net for the 1-0.
Alabama fought back though before the end of the first half to even the game up at 1-1. Libby Probst cleaned up a header off a penalty kick and beat JMU goal keeper Sarah Hopkins on the right side of the box for the Tide’s first goal of the game and gave her team momentum heading into the half. The goal was also Probst’s first goal and points of the season.
“There is no question the (Probst) came to play today,” said Staley. “She continues to prove and did so again today that she will be a handful for teams this year.”
The two teams came out in the second half and continued to play tough defense, not allowing many clear opportunities for the opponents to take the lead. However, near the 80:00 mark Probst made a move on the right side of the box and was taken down, but no penalty kick was called.
The stayed tied until and looked to be heading to overtime for certain until Argy’s goal with :23 remaining.
Despite the loss, Staley remains positive about the play of his young team and knows that they are continuing to improve.
“All in all we made some outstanding plays in back today and our defense played really well,” said Staley. “They put pressure on us and we handled it well. That will give us confidence.”
The loss was Alabama’s first loss on the season and was also the Tide’s first game in the JMU/Comfort Inn Invitational. JMU remains perfect on the season.
Next up for Alabama will be American University on Monday morning at 10 a.m. cst. American lost to Rhode Island Saturday afternoon 1-0.