HARRISONBURG, Va., Oct. 12, 2011 – As the entire league takes a weekend off from Colonial Athletic Association play, the James Madison field hockey team continues its season with a pair of non-conference games this week. On Thursday, JMU travels to Farmville, Va., for a showdown with in-state rival Longwood before returning home on Sunday to host No. 2 North Carolina.
Thursday’s game at the Longwood Athletic Complex is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start and will be available via video through LongwoodLancers.com. Sunday’s game from the JMU Field Hockey Complex begins at 1 p.m. and is available live through MadiZONE audio.
The Dukes split a pair of results last weekend, defeating VCU in a CAA clash, 2-1 in double overtime before falling on the road at No. 8 Duke.
Junior midfielder Jenna Taylor (Midlothian, Va./James River) scored the game winner against the Rams, her first career game-winning goal. It came 5 minutes, 27 seconds into the second overtime off a pass from junior back Auburn Weisensale (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield). It was JMU’s fifth overtime game of the season and the third to reach as far as two overtimes.
Also registering goals for JMU last week was senior back Lindsay Cutchins (Suffolk, Va./Lakeland) and redshirt sophomore forward Courtney Versfeld (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe/Dominican Convent). Both players tallied their second goal of the season with Cutchins scoring the first goal against VCU and Versfeld finding the net against Duke.
Senior goalkeeper Margo Savage (Virginia Beach, Va./Princess Anne) started both games in goal for JMU. She made seven saves in over 90 minutes of action against VCU to earn her fourth win of the season. She played most of the first half against the Blue Devils, making four saves before being subbed for by sophomore goalkeeper Stephanie Tarafas (Suffolk, Va./Nanesmond River).
Madison is looking to earn its first true road victory of the season on Thursday as it comes into the game with a 0-4 mark on the road.
The Lancers enter Thursday with an 8-7 overall record, including a 2-1 mark in the NorPac conference. They have won three straight games and five of their last six, including a 4-0 win over Saint Louis on Monday. Longwood is 4-2 at home this season and has won its last three straight at the Longwood Athletic Complex.
Stacey de Grandhomme is the team’s top offensive threat, leading in goals with 10 and points with 21. She has a team-high 60 shots with 33 of them reaching net and has registered five of the team’s eight game-winning goals. Sarah Bietsch leads LU in assists with six while Jessica Diaz is second on the team with five goals and 12 points. Two of Christina Verhulst’s four goals have been game-winning goals.
In goal, Kaye Goulding has started 14 of the 15 games and is 7-7 with two shutouts. She has a 1.80 goals against average, an .802 save percentage and has recorded 101 saves. Olga Knop and de Grandhomme each have one defensive save for the Lancers.
Longwood head coach Iain Byers is in his fourth season at the helm. He has gone 36-43, including reaching the 10-win plateau twice.
The Tar Heels are 13-1 and were ranked second in this week’s Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll. Their only loss this season came against No. 1 Old Dominion back on Sept. 16. They are 3-0 in road games and have won eight straight overall.
Kelsey Kolojejchick leads the team with 15 goals and 35 points. She has a team-best 60 shots, 36 shots on goal and five game-winning goals. Samantha Towers provides a spark off the bench for UNC, ranking second in goals with nine and points with 20. Katie Ardrey leads all players with eight assists while Elizabeth Stephens has six goals, including three game-winners.
Sassi Ammer and Caitlin Powers have split much of the action in goal this season. Ammer is 10-1 with a 0.33 goals against average while Powers has gone 3-0 with a 0.57 GAA. Ammer has three shutouts and has stopped 19 of the 22 shots she’s seen for a .864 save percentage.
This is Karen Shelton’s 31st season as the UNC head coach. She is 517-137-9 in that time while leading the Tar Heels to six national championships.
JMU and Longwood are meeting for the 21st time on Thursday with Madison holding a 17-3 advantage in the all-time series. The Dukes have won 16 straight against the Lancers and are 5-0 all-time in Farmville. Last season, JMU hosted Longwood, winning 3-2 on Sept. 22.
North Carolina has won nine straight meetings with JMU to improve to 32-6-1 in the teams’ 39 meetings. Last season, JMU traveled to Chapel Hill, N.C., falling to the top-ranked Tar Heels 4-0.
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