HARRISONBURG, Va., Nov. 7, 2013 – James Madison placed four players on the All-Colonial Athletic Association Women’s Soccer Team, voted on by the conference’s nine head coaches and announced Thursday at the championship banquet.
Junior defender Becky Sparks (Laurel Springs, N.J./Paul VI) led the way for the Dukes with her selection to the first team, while senior Lauren Wilson (Coatesville, Pa/Downingtown), junior Shannon Rano (Branchburg, N.J./Immaculata) and freshman Ashley Herndon (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) all made the second team.
In addition to the All-CAA awards, junior Sam Lofton (Lock Haven, Pa./Central Mountain) was named to the conference's All-Academic Team, while Herndon, Sydney Braun-McLeod (Ottawa, Ontario/Glebe Collegiate Institute) and Meghan Cox (Springfield, Va./Robert E. Lee) were selected to the All-Rookie Team.
Sparks anchored a JMU defense that allowed just 21 goals in 19 games, including a league-low seven goals in eight CAA contests. Three of the team’s six shutouts came against league foes. The senior defender also contributed offensively for the Dukes by scoring three goals and leading the team with six assists. Sparks has earned conference recognition during all four years at JMU, making the All-Rookie team in 2010, the All-CAA second team in 2011 and 2012 and the All-CAA first team this season.
Wilson has also earned conference honors all four seasons for the Dukes, receiving All-Rookie team recognition in 2010, All-CAA second team in 2011 and All-CAA third team in 2012. Her six goals this season are tied for second on the team and give her 30 for her career, good enough for fifth on JMU’s all-time list. Wilson upped her play in conference games, scoring four goals in the final four games.
Rano was a mainstay on the JMU defense this season, playing every minute of every game. The junior played an important role in helping the Dukes post six shutouts during the year, including a stretch of three straight games without allowing a goal.
Herndon made an immediate impact for JMU, tying for the team lead with 17 points and ranking second on the squad in goals (6) and assists (5). The freshman also scored four game-winning goals, which was tied for the second-most in the CAA. Herndon contributed either a goal or an assist in nine of JMU’s 19 matches, including five of the Dukes’ nine conference contests.
Like Herndon, Braun-McLeod and Cox made an immediate impact for the Dukes this season. Braun-McLeod finished with four goals and four assists for a total of 12 points, good enough for fourth on the team. Cox finished with three goals and one assist. She scored a goal in each of her first two career games and earned Rookie of the Week honors following the opening week of the season.
Lofton, a health sciences major, earned a spot on the All-Academic team for the first time. She is a three-time recipient of the CAA Commissioners Academic Award. On the field, Lofton contributed both offensiely and defensively, finishing the regular season with one goal and four assists.