JMU Lacrosse Moves to 5-0 with Wins Over Towson, Albany

Photo courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Daniel Merriman

Third-ranked James Madison lacrosse doubled up Towson at Sentara Park on Thursday. The Dukes stomped former CAA rival by a score of 20-10.

They followed that victory up with a commanding 21-12 win over Albany on Sunday, even with Isabella Peterson missing the match because of a red card she received against Towson.

The Dukes displayed stellar depth in Thursday’s contest, getting six goals off the bench after Peterson got ejected from the contest due to the red card. The offense showed no signs of being slowed Sunday either.

Let’s take a look at how the undefeated Dukes (5-0) are progressing into a national title contender.

Towson takeaways

James Madison started a bit slow in the first quarter Thursday, allowing the Tigers to get into the middle of their zone defense. This led to the Dukes being up by only two scores early. However, following the 5-3 first period, the Dukes went on a massive run in the second quarter.

“It was a statement game for us,” JMU head coach Shelley Klaes said.

JMU’s passing got crisper and they were competing very well with Towson’s goalie to start the second. A 6-0 spurt of goals leapt the Dukes into the driver’s seat for the rest of the ballgame. James Madison led 11-3 halfway into the second period. After that point they never let the lead shrink smaller than six goals.

The third quarter saw things get chippy between the former CAA conference mates. JMU’s star attacker, Peterson, got a red card around midfield. The call was controversial, and it kept Peterson from playing the Dukes’ next game against Albany. 

“It was just making a play without the ball, with intention, and with frustration,” Klaes said of the referee’s explanation of the red card.

She also commented how Peterson’s production has garnered plenty of attention for opposing teams.

Editor’s note: Thanks to Christopher William Jewelers for their advertising support this season.

Dukes shine despite missing star

In Peterson’s absence against Towson, JMU had several girls step up in the scoring department. JMU had six multi-goal scorers, and three of those players had 3-4 goals as well. JMU’s Savannah Derey, Olivia Mattis, and Brianna Mennella combined for 6 of JMU’s 20 goals. The depth of this JMU team was on full display against the Tigers.

“That’s the beauty of JMU lacrosse,” Klaes said Thursday. “It’s never been about any one coach or any one player. It’s a great team. In these moments, they want to have each other’s backs.”

The Dukes showed similar scoring prowess Sunday, with eight players scoring goals. At least six players scored twice, and Katelyn Morgan and Maddie Epke led the Dukes with five goals apiece.

JMU’s offense has been electric through five games. The Dukes are averaging 18.4 goals per game with two ranked wins already in this season. The Dukes have one of the best offenses in the country right now, which is a huge weapon once they move into the postseason.

JMU’s goalie, Caitlin Boden, has shown solid poise in front of the net and the defense is young but improving. The turnovers and draw control ability of this team will dictate how far they can go in the NCAA tournament. 

“Our ability to manage leads and control runs is going to be paramount as our offensive unit puts us on the board early in games,” Klaes said Thursday.

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