HARRISONBURG, Va., Nov. 8, 2013 - James Madison is set to play in the Colonial Athletic Association women's soccer championship game, following a 3-1 win over visiting Hofstra in the semifinals Friday at University Park.
The Dukes (15-4-1) will host Northeastern in the championship game, to be held Sunday at 1 p.m. at University Park. The winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament.
For the second game in a row, both against Hofstra, JMU struck with a quick goal. In the regular season finale it was senior Lauren Wilson (Coatesville, Pa./Downingtown) with a goal 16 seconds after the opening whistle. This time it was junior Katie Hyland (Islip, N.Y./Islip) with a score to put the Dukes up 1-0 just 1:37 into the game.
Freshman Ashley Herndon (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) delivered a great pass to set Hyland up with a breakaway. She capitalized on the opportunity with her eighth goal of the season. It was the sixth assist of the year for Herndon.
Trailing 1-0, Hofstra (10-6-3) turned to the top goal scorer in the conference. Sam Scolarici tied the game 1-1 in the 24th minute with her 18th goal of the season, scoring on a penalty kick following a JMU foul in the box.
With the game still tied 1-1 in the 59th minute, sophomore goalie Ellen Forrest (Midlothian, Va./James River) prevented the Pride from taking the lead and momentum with a spectacular diving save on a shot by Jeannine Molleda.
Less than five minutes after Forrest’s big save, Sam Lofton (Lock Haven, Pa./Central Mountain) scored the game-winning goal. The redshirt junior juked a Hofstra defender, found an opening in the left side of the box and took a shot across the goal that hit off the top right post and bounced into the net. Lofton’s second goal of the season was assisted by Wilson.
Freshman Allie Bunner (Bristow, Va./Patriot) tacked on an insurance goal in the 79th minute. Senior Becky Sparks (Laurel Springs, N.J./Paul VI) delivered a beautiful 30-yard cross in front of the net, and Bunner finished with a header for her second goal of the season. Sparks leads the Dukes with seven assists.
Forrest finished with five saves to pick up her 15th win of the year. Hofstra’s Friederike Mehring also stopped five shots.
JMU will play in the championship game for the second time in four seasons. The Dukes beat host Hofstra 2-0 to win the conference title in 2010.