Head coach Antoinette Lucas brought a wealth of high-level coaching and playing experience to the JMU field hockey program. During her tenure at Madison, she has rebuilt the program into a national-caliber contender, completing a full program transformation into a consistent player on the national stage.
Lucas' first JMU team compiled a 4-16 record. However, the foundation was laid and a talented recruiting class elevated the Dukes to a winning record at 11-9 in 2005. The building took a giant step forward in 2006 with a 15-8 record, a regular appearance in the national rankings, the program's first Colonial Athletic Association championship in 11 years, and an appearance in the NCAA tournament.
The first three years laid the foundation for a major breakthrough in 2007 as JMU went 19-4 for the second-best winning percentage in program history. The Dukes defeated Old Dominion 1-0 in overtime in the CAA Championship Match to capture the second straight title and become just the second CAA program to repeat as champions. JMU then defeated Duke 5-4 in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Chapel Hill, N.C. for the program's first NCAA win since 1995. The Dukes then fell to host UNC 1-0 on a late goal as the Tar Heels went on to capture the national title. In its 24-0 season, UNC was held to a one-goal margin of victory just four times, twice against JMU. Part of the key to success for JMU was defense, as the Dukes ranked second in the nation in both goals against average and shutouts.
Individual accolades poured in for the Dukes to follow up the team success. Three JMU players were named All-Americans, led by sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Cutchins, who became the sixth First Team All-American in program history after ranking second in the nation in goals against average. She also became the second Duke to earn Academic All-American honors and the first goalkeeper in CAA history to earn CAA Player of the Year. Juniors Melissa and Ashley Walls were also named All-Americans. Altogether, eight JMU players were named All-CAA, six earned All-Region accolades, and eight were honored on the Virginia All-State squad.
Lucas' 2008 squad picked up right where the 2007 team left off, going 18-3 for the best winning percentage in program history. The Dukes went 8-0 in the CAA to win the regular season and claim the top seed for the first time since 1995. JMU won its third straight CAA title and earned its third straight NCAA appearance. The Dukes were ranked seventh for much of the season and finished fourth in the final coaches poll. JMU led the nation in goals against average and shutouts per game while ranking second in save percentage and turning in the third-best winning percentage in Division I.
The hard work of five seasons paid off individually as well in 2008 for Lucas, who was honored as the CAA Coach of the Year and the VaSID State Coach of the Year. Cutchins repeated as the CAA Player of the Year (the third repeat selection in league history), Virginia Player of the Year, and a First Team All-American. She led the nation and set a JMU record for GAA while also ranking first nationally in save percentage. Altogether, three Dukes earned All-America laurels, four were All-Region, six were All-CAA, and eight were All-State. Six players combined to claim 25 spots among the top 15 rankings in school history for games, starts, points, goals, assists, and game-winning goals.
JMU posted another winning season in 2009, going 12-8 with a young team comprised of nearly 50% freshmen while facing one of the toughest schedules in the country. JMU was ranked between ninth and 15th and finished 12th in the coaches poll, running its streak of consecutive poll appearances to 42 weeks. The Dukes tied for second in the CAA at 6-2 and fell in overtime in the semifinals against Delaware. JMU was the highest-rated team in the RPI not selected for the NCAA field of 16.
As a team, JMU was 11th in the nation in goals against average (1.52) and seven in save percentage (.794). Individually, Kelsey Cutchins wrapped up her stellar JMU career as the program's all-time leader in goals against average (1.10) and minutes (5.581:22). She was named to the CAA Silver Anniversary Team as one of the top 25 players in the league's history. Four other Dukes joined Cutchins as All-CAA selections while Meghan Bain wrapped up her stellar career ranked seventh in goals and second in game-winning goals.
After finishing fifth in the CAA in 2010, Lucas returned her team to the CAA Championship in 2011. Her team compiled a 9-10 overall record and a 4-4 mark in CAA play despite sporting one of the youngest rosters in the country. The fourth-seeded Dukes took down Delaware 2-1 in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals against Old Dominion. The Dukes battled the nation's second-ranked team to a 1-1 tie for the first 49 minutes, but ultimately fell to the eventual national runner-up. Junior midfielder Jenna Taylor earned First Team All-CAA honors and senior goalkeeper Margo Savage was selected to play in the NFHCA Senior Game.
The former coach of the U.S. Under-16 National Team, Lucas possesses 12 years of Division I coaching experience as well as 12 years of competitive playing experience with the U.S. National Team.
Lucas was an assistant coach at New Hampshire for two seasons before coming to JMU in 2004. She was also formerly an assistant coach at Northeastern (1999-01), Duke (1996-99) and Connecticut (1992-95).
She competed for the United States from 1990-2002 and was a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team that placed fifth in the Atlanta Olympic Games. Lucas played in the 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cup tournaments. The United States was 12th in the World Cup in 1990, won the bronze medal in 1994, finished eighth in 1998 and was ninth in 2002. She also played on U.S. teams that won two silver medals (1995, 1999) and a bronze medal (1991) in the Pan American Games.
In May 1998 she played in the World Cup (Utrecth, Holland), and in 2002 Lucas was a starter on the U.S. team as it competed at the 1st Champions Challenge in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Japan Six Nation Tournament, the New Zealand Test Series and the India World Cup Qualifying Series.
Lucas retired following the 2002 World Cup with 173 international caps (game appearances).
"Antoinette's credentials are impressive, including her extensive elite playing career and years of experience at successful Division I programs," says JMU Associate Director of Athletics Shelia Moorman. "Equally important are the high marks she receives as a person and professional from her peers at the intercollegiate and USA Field Hockey level.
As a collegian, Lucas was a two-time All-America selection (1989, 90) in field hockey and lacrosse (1988, 89) at Northwestern. She was a member of the Wildcats' team that placed third in the 1989 NCAA Tournament. Lucas is ranked eighth in career scoring at Northwestern with 90 points on 27 goals and 36 assists from 1987 to 1990. She is also fourth in season points with 45 as a senior, third in career assists, and second in season assists with 21 as a senior. In the lacrosse record book at Northwestern, Lucas is fourth with 113 career goals, eighth with 129 career points, fifth in season goals with 56 in 1988, and tied for the most goals in a game with nine.
Lucas, who received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Northwestern in 1992, was inducted into the school's' Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001. Lucas is a native of Richmond, Va., and a graduate of The Collegiate School.
Lucas' Six Seasons at JMU
Lucas' Major International Competitions
*International information courtesy USA Field Hockey