Before yesterday's Colonial Athletic Association soccer game at George Mason, the Homecoming Day crowd was told to release hundreds of balloons after the Patriots' first goal.
Sophomore Mark Pulisic scored midway through the second half, but the 1,481 fans had little else to celebrate as the Patriots settled for a 1-1 overtime tie with James Madison.
George Mason is 10-3-3 overall, 3-0-1 in the CAA. The Dukes are 8-4-2, 2-2-2.
The Patriots outshot Madison, 19-8, but missed on several scoring chances in the second half.
"Ever since we lost Sam Sumo and Bruce Lobdell, we've struggled offensively," George Mason Coach Gordon Bradley said. "We've gotten a lot of opportunities, like today, but we can't score."
Sumo, a two-time all-America, played sparingly yesterday after having knee surgery two weeks ago. Lobdell was supposed to start this season at forward, but is academically ineligible.
Besides Marc Hinson's goal late in the first half, the Dukes had few scoring opportunities. Mason goalkeeper Martin Dunphy had only to make four routine saves.
The Dukes frustrated Mason with their aggressive style, committing 40 fouls to Mason's 14.
After missing four games, Sumo returned to the lineup in the second half. He had two ideal chances -- at the beginning of the half and with two minutes left in overtime -- but missed both times.
"Normally," Bradley said, "he would've scored, but it takes some time after not playing for a few games."
Madison got its goal with 4:10 left in the first half. Craig Bauer broke free on the left side and had his shot deflected by a Mason defender. Hinson collected the rebound inside the penalty box and hit the right corner of the net.
"I was just following the play," said Hinson, a senior from Manassas. "The goalie was on the left so I shot it right and he got a little piece of it."
With the insertion of Sumo and freshman Larry Tabash, the Patriots dominated the second half.
With 24:46 remaining in regulation, Mason had a direct kick from about 30 yards. Midfielder Ray Elsesser slipped a soft pass by the right side of the Madison wall. Pulisic broke loose and beat Dukes goalkeeper Chris North to the far left corner from eight yards. It was Pulisic's team-high eighth goal of the season.
Elsesser had the best chance in overtime, but his hard shot from 20 yards was tipped over the crossbar by North.
The Patriots have two major tests in the next week, at American Wednesday and at 13th-ranked William and Mary (4-0 in the CAA) next Sunday. The winner of the CAA's regular season receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
William & Mary 1, American 0:
Bruce Ensley scored at 79:40 of the second half to give the visiting Indians (12-1-1) the CAA win. Winning goalkeeper Ian Peter turned aside five shots in helping drop the Eagles to 6-5-2.
Ithaca 1, Catholic 0:
Jacques Scholten scored at 22:39 to lift the visitors from New York to victory. Catholic fell to 6-7 despite a strong effort from forward Mike Wolf and goalkeeper John Meindl (six saves).
G. Washington 3, Va. Tech 1:
Kenny Emson scored two goals and Paul Boulad had two assists leading the Colonials (7-3-2) to victory at the RFK Stadium auxiliary field. GW has not lost in its last seven games, with six wins and a tie. Virginia Tech (5-4-2) received its only goal from Mike Gavlak.
Maryland 2, North Carolina 0:
Nigel Burdette scored from 30 yards out midway through the second half to lead Maryland (6-5-3, 2-2-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) past the 19th-ranked Tar Heels (11-3, final ACC record 3-3) in Chapel Hill. The win was the Terrapins' first at UNC since 1971.
Georgetown 1, Pittsburgh 0:
Rick Starrs scored at 48:30 of the second half at Pittsburgh. The Hoyas are 6-7 overall, 2-1 in Big East play; Pitt, 3-6-1, 0-2.