Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications
By Bennett Conlin
With 2019 over and 2020 hindsight jokes filling my Twitter feed, I’ve retreated to WordPress to avoid the awful jokes.
I’ve been slacking about writing on here, so I wanted to make sure I wrote at least something about 2019. As I look back on the year, it’s been another fantastic season for JMU sports fans.
Some of the moments on this list escaped my memory, but digging through the archives revealed impressive accomplishments.
5. Men’s soccer beats No. 1 Wake Forest
The men’s soccer team winning the CAA title could’ve taken this spot, but I’ll go with the win over No. 1 because it came in Harrisonburg in front of a loud crowd. JMU fans, even casual JMU fans, paid attention to the Dukes’ upset bit.
The Dukes used a penalty kick goal from Manuel Ferriol in the 52nd minute to earn a 1-0 win over No. 1 Wake Forest. Beating a No. 1 team a year after making the Elite Eight speaks to the national relevance of JMU men’s soccer.
4. Women’s tennis wins CAA title
For the first time ever, the Dukes won the CAA title this season. JMU put together a special season, finishing 14-9 and beating CAA tennis powerhouse William & Mary to capture the conference crown.
The title came after the Dukes lost head coach James Bryce and standout performer Liz Norman. Bryce left the program to move closer to family in Florida, and Norman then transferred to N.C. State.
Despite those setbacks, Shelley Jaudon stepped in as the head coach and led the Dukes to a CAA title. Take a bow, JMU women’s tennis, 2019 was special.
3. Women’s basketball beats Virginia Tech
In one of the most exciting JMU basketball games of 2019, women’s basketball beat the Hokies and former head coach Kenny Brooks 70-66 in the Convocation Center.
The game came in the WNIT, and sent the Dukes to the quarterfinals. It was a thrilling game in front of an engaged 2,872 fans. JMU trailed 66-65 in the final minute before scoring the final five points of the contest.
2. Softball makes Super Regional with win over Michigan
This has a strong case for the No. 1 spot on the list. After losing the first game against Michigan in the Ann Arbor Regional, JMU rallied with a win over DePaul and then two nationally televised wins over Michigan to clinch a spot in the Super Regionals.
Advancing to a Super Regional is no small feat, and the Dukes and Megan Good deserve a ton of credit for a spectacular 2019 season. JMU softball fans are passionate, and fans rejoiced as the Dukes shined on ESPN networks.
1. Football makes national title
After a disappointing loss to Colgate to end 2018, JMU put together an incredible 2019 season.
The Dukes have reeled off 14 consecutive victories following a season-opening loss to West Virginia. JMU knocked off Weber State 30-14 in a dominating performance in the FCS semifinals.
Curt Cignetti has the Dukes playing great football, and they’re arguably the most dominant program at JMU.
JMU fans love them some football, and the Dukes provided endless entertainment in 2019.