HARRISONBURG, Va., Nov. 10, 2010 -- The James Madison volleyball team will host its final two games of the regular season this weekend as it welcomes Northeastern and Hofstra to Sinclair Gymnasium/Godwin Hall. JMU will host Northeastern at 7 p.m. on Friday night before closing the regular season against Hofstra on Saturday, also at 7 p.m.
The Dukes enter the weekend with a 20-7 overall record and a 8-4 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association. At 8-4 in league play, JMU is one of five teams left fighting for the remaining three spots in the next weekend's CAA Championships, which will be hosted by top-seeded Delaware on Nov. 20-21.
Joining the Dukes in the hunt for the postseason are VCU (9-4 in the CAA), Northeastern (8-4), George Mason (8-4) and Georgia State (8-4). Northeastern travels to JMU and George Mason, while the Dukes and Patriots also host Hofstra. VCU's only conference game left is against William & Mary on Friday while Georgia State travels to Towson and Delaware.
JMU needs a little bit of help to secure its first trip to the CAA Championship since 2007 as VCU, Georgia State and George Mason all currently have advantages in the conference's tiebreakers.
Madison can finish anywhere from second to sixth in the conference. The easiest scenario for JMU into the tournament is to win both of its games and get a loss from either VCU, Georgia State or George Mason.
The Dukes went 1-1 in a pair of road games last weekend, losing to Georgia State 3-2 in Atlanta on Friday before bouncing back for a 3-1 win over UNC Wilmington on Sunday. The win over the Seahawks gave JMU 20 wins for the first time since finishing 21-10 in 2002.
Redshirt sophomore Natalie Abel (Washington, Pa./Trinity) paced the Dukes last weekend with a pair of double-doubles. Abel led the team in kills in each match finishing with 15 kills and 13 digs against GSU before totaling 21 kills, two shy of her career-high, and 11 digs against UNCW.
Sophomore Danielle Erb (Tampa, Fla./Plant) recorded her team-leading 13th double-double of the season with 17 kills and 15 digs against the Seahawks. Freshman libero Katie Daorai (Tampa, Fla./Plant) totaled 47 digs in the two matches while senior setter Lauren Fanelli (Moon Township, Pa./Moon Area) contributed 53 assists and 21 digs.
Against Hofstra, JMU's four seniors will be recognized prior to their final home match. The Dukes will recognize Fanelli, Lindsay Callahan (Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown), Jessica Zeroual (Ottawa, Ont./De La Salle) and Kelly Johnson (Charlotte, N.C./Providence). The players will be joined by their parents in a brief ceremony prior to the start of the match and will be presented with gifts by the JMU coaching staff.
Northeastern comes into the weekend with at 17-9 overall and 8-4 in the CAA. The Huskies are coming off a 3-0 sweep against Hofstra at home on Senior Day and have won three straight and four of their last five matches.
Against the Pride, Britney Brown led the Huskies attack, posting her team-high 15th double-double with 11 kills and 11 assists. Ina Kameva had a team-high 14 assists and libero Jessica LaScola had 14 digs.
Brown's 292 kills rank sixth in the conference and her 549 assists are good for 10th in the CAA. Janelle Tucker is eighth in the CAA with 283 kills. LaScola is second in the league in digs with 467 while Nichole Kurz is eighth in blocks per game with 0.97.
The Dukes and Huskies have met each other 16 times with each team winning eight. JMU won earlier this season, 3-2, in Boston, but has lost the last two meetings in Harrisonburg.
Hofstra brings a 10-22 overall record and a 2-10 conference mark into this weekend's play. The Pride, which is closing the season with three straight road matches, fell in straight sets at Northeastern last weekend.
Marina Markovic led Hofstra with eight kills while setter Caity DeCoster contributed 19 assists and six digs.
A trio of HU players have recorded at least 300 kills this season led by Nikki Kinnier's 324. Carolyn Jenkins has 315 while Markovic is third with 307. Kylee Maneja leads the way defensively with 466 digs while Jenkins has a team-best 120 blocks.
Hofstra leads the all-time series against JMU 18-5, but the Dukes won the only meeting this season 3-0. JMU is 3-6 in games played in Harrisonburg.
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