HARRISONBURG, Va., Oct. 18, 2012 – With just three games remaining on its schedule, the James Madison field hockey team closes out the home portion of its schedule by hosting William & Mary and No. 9 Old Dominion at the JMU Field Hockey Complex. JMU hosts W&M on Friday at 7 p.m. before celebrating Senior Day with a 1 p.m. game against ODU on Sunday.
The Dukes come into the weekend with an 8-6 overall record and a 2-0 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association. Of the seven teams eligible for the 2012 CAA Championship, JMU is currently in fourth place. They trail Drexel and Northeastern by a full game each and are a half game back of William & Mary. The Dukes have already clinched a berth in the conference tournament and could finish anywhere from first to sixth.
Drexel and Northeastern are both tied for first at 3-1. They meet on Oct. 26 with the winner gaining an edge in the race to host the tournament. Both teams hold the tiebreaker over JMU. Delaware is in fifth at 1-3 with the winner of next weekend’s Towson, Hofstra game likely gaining the sixth spot in the Championship.
Old Dominion is ineligible for the tournament due to its impending move to Conference USA.
JMU has lost two straight, falling to both Duke and No. 17 Richmond by 1-0 scores. It is the first time Madison has been shutout in consecutive games since the beginning of the 2011 season when it fell to No. 6 Ohio State and No. 7 Virginia.
Freshman goalkeeper Lena Wimmert (Bergisch Gladbach, Germany/Lise-Meitner Gymnasium) has allowed just two goals over her last 280 minutes of action. She is the reigning CAA Rookie of the Week and leads the conference in both goals against average (1.10) and save percentage (.816).
During Sunday’s game with the Monarchs, JMU will recognize three seniors playing in their final home game. Midfielders Jenna Taylor (Midlothian, Va./James River) and Auburn Weisensale (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) will be joined by forward Courtney Versfeld (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe/Dominican Convent) in being recognized.
Versfeld has appeared in 34 games for JMU, starting 17 of them. She has four career goals, including one game-winning goal. She was named to the 2011 CAA Championship All-Tournament team after tallying the game-winning goal against Delaware in the quarterfinals. In addition to athletic success, Versfeld is a JMU Dean’s List student and a JMU Athletic Director Scholar-Athlete.
In her four years in Harrisonburg, Weisensale has played all over the field, starting both at forward and defensive back before settling in at midfield this season. She has appeared in 70 games with 47 starts, including starting all 19 games as a junior. She is the team’s active points leader with 10 goals and seven assists for 27 points. As a freshman, Weisensale scored five goals, including three game-winning goals. Academically, she is a CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award recipient and JMU Athletic Director Scholar-Athlete.
Taylor has appeared in 70 games for Madison, starting 64 of them. She has three career goals and 11 assists for 17 career points. In 2011 she was First Team All-CAA, a CAA Championship All-Tournament team honoree and a Second Team VaSID All-State selection. She followed that with a Preseason All-CAA First Team honor this season. Taylor is a JMU Dean’s List student, a JMU Athletic Director Scholar-Athlete and in 2011 was a member of the NFHCA National Academic Squad.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
The Tribe has been ranked as high as 19th in the Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll, but has lost three of their last four to fall out of the rankings. Overall they are 10-5 on the season with a 4-2 record in true road games.
Senior defender Christine Johnson leads the team with seven goals, five assists and 19 points. She has scored her seven goals on 38 shots and is tied for the team lead with two game-winning goals. Freshman forward Pip Saunders is tied for the team lead with five assists, adding five goals for 15 points while sophomore forward Emma Clifton has six goals and four assists for 16 points.
Redshirt senior Elizabeth Frey and redshirt freshman Cate Johnson have split the action in goal for W&M. Frey has played the most, going 6-4 with four shutouts in 11 games started. She has a 1.25 goals against average and a .725 save percentage. Johnson is 4-1 with a shutout. She has a .725 save percentage and a 1.91 goals against average in eight games played and four games started.
Peel Hawthorne is in her 26th season as the head coach of her alma mater. She owns a 275-230-2 record with the Tribe and is 306-247-6 in 30 seasons as a head coach.
The Monarchs are ranked ninth in the latest NFHCA poll, but have been as high as third. They are 11-4 on the season, including a 5-0 mark against CAA competition. They are 5-3 in road games.
Freshman Sarah Breen leads the team with 11 goals, seven assists and 29 points. She has a team-best three game-winning goals. Sophomore Rosario Villagra is tied for the team lead with seven assists and has added nine goals for 25 points while redshirt junior Christy Longacre is third on the squad with eight goals and 20 points.
Redshirt senior Marla Petriello has been the team’s primary goalkeeper. She is 9-2 with a shutout in 12 games played and 10 games started. She has a 1.82 goals against average and a .661 save percentage in 771:16 minutes played.
Beth Anders is in her 30th and final season coaching Old Dominion. She owns a 557-134-7 record with the Monarchs and has won five national championships in Norfolk.
JMU and William & Mary have played each other 57 times dating back to 1974. The Dukes lead the all-time series 33-18-6 and have won six of the last seven meetings. Last season, JMU earned a 3-1 win over the Tribe in Williamsburg.
Old Dominion and JMU have met 60 times dating back to 1979. The Monarchs have won 50 of the sixty meetings, including the last four. ODU has not visited Harrisonburg since 2009 when it won a 2-1 game.
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