In the 23rd minute of the game, the Dukes were awarded a corner kick that resulted in a soft goal off the chest of JMU’s senior defender Tyler Clegg. American entered the second half with a 1-0 deficit.
Early in the second half, the Eagles’ sophomore defender Nicholas Shirley and junior forward Robbie Matei each missed one shot looking for the equalizer. In the 66th minute, junior defender Nevin Baer rifled the ball into the back of the net off of an assist from freshman midfielder Troy Elgersma to secure a 1-1 tie going into the final 20 minutes of the game.
“I remember cutting inside and passing to Troy as an option,” Baer said postgame. “He bounced it right back and luckily I was in the box so I just hit it with my left foot and it went in.”
The Dukes did not wait long to respond.
With one minute left in the match, the Dukes committed a hand ball in the box, which gave American the opportunity to tie the game with a penalty kick. A suspenseful silence fell over Reeves Field as Matei lined up to take the kick. When Matei approached the ball, he hesitated until JMU’s goalkeeper lunged at the left crossbar. With the right side of the goal left open, Matei launched the ball into the bottom right of the goal, tying the game at 2-2. Both teams were scoreless for the remainder of the game.
“It was great to see the responses we had,” head coach Zach Samol said. “We went down twice and we pushed back.”