HARRISONBURG, Va., Feb. 15, 2014 - James Madison lacrosse opened the 2014 season with a 14-11 victory over Virginia Tech on a frigid Saturday afternoon on the University Park turf practice field.
The Dukes are 1-0 on the young season while the Hokies started the year 0-1.
JMU scoring was led by junior midfielder Ali Curwin (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Sutherland) and senior midfielder Emily Rhoads (Alexandria, Va./St. Stephens & St. Agnes), who each posted four goals in their first game of the year. Curwin added in two assists to tie junior midfielder Stephanie Finley (Media, Pa./Sacred Heart) for team-high points on the day at six as Finley posted an even split of three goals and three assists.Virginia Tech was paced by Julia Heaps, who scored five of the Hokies' 11 goals and assisted on two of their other scores.
Junior goalkeeper Schylar Healy (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty H.S.) earned the win in goal as she made four saves and allowed 11 goals. The Hokies’ Meagh Graham was charged with the loss, allowing 11 goals and making five saves.
After the squads traded goals throughout the first 17 minutes of play, a solo score by Curwin to knot the game at 3-all sparked a 6-1 scoring run to bridge the halves and give the Dukes an 8-4 lead with 27:14 remaining in the game. While Tech pulled to within two twice to put the score at 9-7, another JMU run pushed the Dukes to their largest lead of the game at 12-7 with 14:30 left in the game.
The Hokies used their own 3-0 to pull back within two points, capped by Heaps’ fourth goal of the day off a pass from Kristine Loscalzo with 3:18 remaining. Two minutes later, Finley scored an unassisted goal to push the Dukes’ advantage back to three goals, and a quick score by Rhoads off a pass from sophomore midfielder Jaci Gordon (Groton, Mass./Lawrence Academy) posted the 14th JMU goal of the day.
While Heaps added a late goal with just 10 seconds left on the clock, it was not enough to close the gap, preserving the 14-11 JMU win.
Madison held the advantage on draw controls, winning 16 draws compared to Tech’s 11 wins on the draw. The Dukes also won the battle on the ground, picking up 22 ground balls while the Hokies picked up 16 ground balls.
Curwin scored less than a minute into the season, coming from behind the cage and crashing the right side after picking up a pass from Gordon. The Hokies quickly answered and Jessi Thon knotted the game at 1-1 just 1:35 seconds into the game.
JMU heads south for the next two games as the Dukes face Florida on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in Gainesville, Fla., before traveling to Jacksonville on Saturday, Feb. 22 for an 11 a.m. match-up in Jacksonville, Fla.