JMU Holds Off Connecticut in Frantic Finish

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Elena Romesburg had two goals and an assist to help James Madison to an 11-10 win over Connecticut in the first NCAA regular season women's lacrosse game on Tierney Field.


SPARKS, Md.  – With four minutes to play and a five-goal lead, James Madison looked like it was going to coast to a victory over Connecticut in the first NCAA regular season women’s lacrosse game at the new US Lacrosse headquarters. When it was over, the Dukes won their third straight game, but it came by a narrow 11-10 margin that saw a game-tying attempt by the Huskies go inches wide in the closing seconds.

 “I’m proud of these young players on this squad finding a way to win,” said JMU head coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe. “These are wins we didn’t have last year and I see that, and I value that. We had a lot of tough things that happened – pipes in the first half, goals called back, these guys powered through that and made a really nice run in the second half to give us the cushion we needed to win.”

JMU’s defense was rock solid for the first 55 minutes of the game. The Dukes (3-1) held UConn (1-1) scoreless for a 21-minute stretch that bridged the two halves, and then another 17-minute stretch in the second half. JMU goalie Emily Poelma made eight saves, six of them in the first half, and the Dukes’ defense held Connecticut star Grace Nolan off the scoreboard for the first 57 minutes of the game. But UConn never quit.

After Hanna Haven tallied her second goal to give JMU an 11-6 lead with 4:24 to play, UConn stormed back. Lexi Kenneally scored with 3:40 remaining and Nolan scored with 2:08 to play. Just 21 seconds later Brooke Jensen made it 11-9 with 1:47 to play. JMU won the ensuing draw, but turned it over and the Huskies pulled to within one when Kelsey Catalano found Nolan alone off the crease on a free position attempt, and Nolan buried the shot with 18 seconds remaining to make it 11-10.

JMU again won the draw, but another turnover on a day when the teams combined for 51 turnovers, gave UConn one final chance. The Huskies pushed the ball up the field and Jacquelin Jordan got the ball in traffic near the front of the cage. Forced to try a back hand shot in the tight confines, her attempt with under five seconds to play went wide and JMU secured the victory.

Haven, Elena Romesburg, Maddie McDaniel and Kristen Gaudian all had two goals for JMU, which may have positioned itself to move into the national Top 20 this week. The Dukes only loss this year was a two-goal setback to defending national champion North Carolina in its opener, and Wednesday’s win over Virginia Tech picked up added value with the Hokies upset of Boston College on Saturday.

PHOTO JOHN STROHSACKER

Kelsey Catalano ripped home two goals, both in the second half, but Connecticut's comeback attempt came up one goal short against James Madison.

Connecticut was led by Jordan with two goals and two assists, and Nolan, Jensen and Catalano all had two goals.

After opening with four straight games away from home, JMU will play its home opener on Saturday against High Point, but the opportunity to make history wasn’t lost on Klaes-Bawcombe, who won her 118th career game at James Madison, tying the school record set by Dee McDonough.

“This is a huge opportunity for us,” Klaes-Bawcombe said. “I’m so thankful to be a part of the IWLCA and our commitment to US Lacrosse and our ability to support this facility here. For us to be able to be the opener for the college game was really exciting. It was beautiful weather, just a great celebration of college level lacrosse.”







Top 20 Games

No. 11 Colorado 22, Stetson 3

Thirteen different players scored goals as No. 11 Colorado improved to 3-0 with a 22-3 win at Stetson. Darby Kiernan set a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation record with 19 draw controls in the win while Marie Moore and Sophia Castillo each had three goals and two assists for the Buffs.

No. 19 Elon 14, High Point 7

Elon continued its hot start to the season with a 14-7 victory over High Point. The Phoenix (4-0) scored the first five goals and controlled the game throughout. Stephanie Asher and Anna Vitton each had four goals for Elon and Shannon Horan had a team-high five points (1g, 4a). Elon, which already owns a win over Virginia, has another big test this week when it hosts Notre Dame on Thursday.

Other Division I Scores

Drexel 14, Columbia 8
Fresno State 12, Mercer 10
Massachusetts 14, Jacksonville 13
Ohio State 17, Cincinnati 8
Oregon 18, Cal 9
St. Francis 15, Radford 10
Winthrop 11, Siena 10

Division II

Lindenwood 16, Rollins 8: Lindenwood dominated the second half to earn a 16-8 victory at Rollins on Sunday in a top 10 showdown. The score was tied 7-7 at the half, but No. 3 Lindenwood then scored the first six goals of the second half. Maria Johnson led Lindenwood with four goals and an assist, and added seven draw controls. Hannah Ashton had a pair of goals for No. 8 Rollins.

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