HARRISONBURG, Va., Sept. 29, 2011 – Coming off a split in its first weekend of Colonial Athletic Association play, the James Madison field hockey team looks to establish firm footing in the CAA with a trip up to New England this weekend. JMU travels to Northeastern for a 2 p.m. game on Friday, Sept. 30, before taking on Hofstra at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2.
Last weekend, the Dukes started league play with a 4-3 penalty strokes loss to Drexel, but rebounded with a 1-0 win over Towson. Against the Dragons, freshman forward Taylor West (Princess Anne, Md./Pocomoke) recorded her first career hat trick and senior goalkeeper Margo Savage (Virginia Beach, Va./Princess Anne) made a career-high 13 saves to force the two-time defending regular season league champs into overtime.
West was named the CAA’s Rookie of the Week after compiling her hat trick. She leads JMU with six goals and 13 points in just three games played.
After penalty strokes didn’t go their way on Friday night, the Dukes returned to play on Sunday and outshot Towson 23-6 and held an 8-2 edge in penalty corner. Sophomore back Amy Goldstein (Lititz, Pa./Warwick) netted the game winner with 12 minutes, 12 seconds left in regulation as she collected a rebound off a block shot and flipped it up over the Towson goalie for her first career game-winning goal.
JMU is now 4-4 overall and 1-1 in conference play, putting them in a six-way tie for second. The Dukes are 0-1 in true road games and have played just one game away from the JMU Field Hockey Complex since a season-opening game at Rutgers. Madison did win a neutral site game, 2-1, over Richmond in Charlottesville on Sept. 17.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
The Huskies started conference play ranked 20th in Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll, but dropped games to Old Dominion and William and Mary last weekend to fall out of the Top 20. They started the season with four straight wins, but have dropped three straight and five of their last six to fall to 5-5 on the season.
Northeastern is paced by the nation’s leading scorer as junior Crystal Poland has collected 17 goals and three assists for 37 points. She has added three game-winning goals while pouring 39 shots on net. Senior Carolyn Malloy and junior Nicky Graham rank third and seventh in the country, respectively, in assists. Malloy has assisted on 10 goals while Graham has connected on nine helpers.
Junior goalkeeper Lizzie Priest has played every minute in net for the Huskies, going 5-5 with a 2.57 goals against average and a .723 save percentage. The preseason All-CAA selection has two shutouts and 68 saves this season.
Cheryl Murtagh is in her 24th season as the head coach of Northeastern. She is 324-180-10 in her tenure for the Huskies and 341-195-13 in 26 total seasons as a head coach.
The Pride starts a five-game home stand on Sunday against Virginia Commonwealth and enters the weekend having won five of its last six games. Hofstra is 8-5 overall and 1-1 in CAA play. It boasts one of the nation’s most potent offenses, ranking fifth in scoring average and seventh in goals per game.
Senior Genna Kovar leads the offense with 14 goals and eight assists for 36 points. She ranks sixth in the country in points per game and 12th in goals per game. Junior Krizia Layne is right behind with 13 goals, five assists and 31 points, ranking 14 in the nation in points per game.
Senior goalkeeper Amanda Heyde has started all 13 games in goal for the Pride. She is 8-5 with a 2.82 goals against average and a .689 save percentage.
Kathy De Angels is in her 14th year at the helm for Hofstra. She is 135-132 for the Pride and 162-211-3 in 20 seasons overall as a head coach.
JMU is a combined 16-7 all-time against this weekend’s opponents, including defeating both teams in Harrisonburg a year ago. The Dukes are 9-4 against the Huskies and 3-2 all-time in away games. Last season, JMU earned a 4-1 win over the Northeastern in the final game of the regular season.
Madison has won five straight games against Hofstra to run its record all-time to 7-3. JMU is 4-1 in games played on the road and last season beat the Pride 8-0 on Oct. 1 at the JMU Field Hockey complex.
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