HARRISONBURG, Va., May 2, 2012 – After challenging a young squad with one of the nation’s toughest schedules in 2011, the James Madison field hockey team hopes to capitalize on that experience with another challenging slate in 2012 as head coach Antoinette Lucas announced the team’s schedule for next season on Wednesday.
"I am very happy with how our 2012 schedule has worked out," Lucas said. "Our out of conference schedule is extremely balanced and competitive with a sound variety of styles of play from seven different conferences. This will not only assist us to prepare for an extremely competitive conference schedule in October, but for NCAA play in November. Having 11 of our 18, plus a scrimmage scheduled at home is an extreme positive as well."
Madison unveiled a campaign that features 18 games and one scrimmage. Of the regular season games, 11 are set to be play at home at the JMU Field Hockey Complex while five will be true road games and two will be played at a neutral site. The schedule includes 10 non-conference matches against some of the nation’s top teams while eight will be played against foes from the Colonial Athletic Association.
Four of Madison’s 18 opponents participated in the 16-team 2011 NCAA Championship, including one team that reached the final eight and one that advance into the semifinals. All of the opponents finished in the top 52 in the Ratings Percent Index (RPI) with eight teams receiving votes in the final coaches poll of the 2011 season.
The season kicks off the weekend of Aug. 24 in Kent, Ohio as the team will play a pair of non-conference games. On Friday, Aug. 24, the Dukes play Vermont in a neutral site game before taking on Ken State on Sunday. The only other road non-conference game includes a trip to take on Boston College, in College Park, Md., hosted by the University of Maryland (Sept. 16).
After the trip to Kent, Ohio, the Dukes play four straight home games, hosting Lafayette (Sept. 1), American (Sept. 2), Davidson (Sept. 9) and Longwood (Sept. 14). JMU also hosts Radford (Oct. 9), Duke (Oct. 12) and Richmond (Oct. 16) in non-conference action.
CAA play begins Sept. 21, with Madison traveling to Drexel. The team also makes trips to Towson (Sept. 23), VCU (Oct. 5) and Delaware (Oct. 26) in CAA play while hosting Northeastern (Sept. 28), Hofstra (Sept. 30), Old Dominion (Oct. 19) and William & Mary (Oct. 21).
The CAA Championship begins Nov. 1 with the Quarterfinals, with semifinal action occurring on Nov. 3. The CAA Championship game is schedule for Nov. 4 and will be hosted by the highest seeded team. NCAA tournament play begins weekend of Nov. 10 with first and second round action. The semifinals and championship game occur the weekend of Nov. 16.
The Dukes return 16 players from last year’s team, including 11 players who started at least three games. First Team All-CAA selection Jenna Taylor (Midlothian, Va./James River) returns along with CAA All-Rookie team honoree Taylor West (Princess Anne, Md./Pocomoke) for a team that advanced the semifinals of the CAA Championship a year ago.
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