JMU's Statement Alters Nike/USA Lacrosse Division I Women's Top 20

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Katie Checkosky and James Madison upset former No. 3 Maryland 13-8 on Saturday.


Shelley Klaes has been doing this long enough to know what she’s talking about.

That’s why, on February 19, when Klaes spoke about her scheduling strategy after her team avoided an 0-3 start to the spring by beating UConn, it was hard not to trust the coach who orchestrated a 2018 national championship.

The Dukes had opened the season with losses to ACC schools North Carolina and Virginia Tech — the former more understandable than the latter — before rattling off three straight wins against UConn, High Point and Ohio State. Another two-game skid followed, with a surprising loss to Penn State preceding a seven-goal loss to Rutgers.

That set James Madison up for its toughest stretch of the season, a three-game stretch against Richmond, Virginia and Maryland — all ranked opponents.

It’s not hyperbolic to say that JMU has come out of that stretch with an entirely different national profile. While those losses to Virginia Tech and Penn State will continue to be blemishes on the Dukes’ resume, that Maryland win could be enough to carry JMU — which cannot earn the CAA’s automatic qualifier due to the school’s upcoming move to the Sun Belt Conference — into the NCAA tournament come May.

That’s why Klaes schedules the way she does. She challenges her team early so it’s peaking right around this time of season. Mission accomplished, it seems.

NIKE/USA LACROSSE
DIVISION I WOMEN’S TOP 20

 
March 28, 2022

W/L

Prev

Next

1

North Carolina

11-0

1

4/2 vs. Notre Dame

2

Boston College

9-1

2

3/30 vs. Dartmouth

3

Northwestern

8-2

4

4/1 at Penn State

4

Loyola

9-0

6

3/29 at No. 8 Syracuse

5

Maryland

8-1

3

3/30 at Georgetown

6

Stony Brook

6-2

5

3/29 at No. 10 Princeton

7

Florida

6-4

7

3/30 at Mercer

8

Syracuse

8-2

8

3/29 vs. No. 4 Loyola

9

Duke

11-1

9

3/29 at Liberty

10

Princeton

6-1

10

3/29 vs. No. 6 Stony Brook

11

Denver

10-1

11

4/2 at Butler

12

James Madison

6-4

15

3/30 vs. Towson

13

Rutgers

9-1

13

3/31 vs. No. 14 Michigan

14

Michigan

9-2

12

3/31 at No. 13 Rutgers

15

Virginia

6-6

16

4/2 at No. 9 Duke

16

Richmond

8-2

17

4/1 vs. Duquesne

17

USC

7-2

19

4/3 at No. 14 Michigan

18

Colorado

8-2

NR

4/1 at No. 19 Stanford

19

Stanford

6-5

18

4/1 vs. No. 18 Colorado

20

UConn

8-1

NR

3/30 vs. Columbia

Also considered (alphabetical order): Army (8-2), Jacksonville (5-3), Johns Hopkins (5-5), Navy (8-2), Notre Dame (4-6), Temple (7-4), UMass (8-2), Virginia Tech (8-5)





z
Nike/USA Lacrosse Rankings
Division I Men | Division I Women
Division II Men | Division II Women
Division III Men | Division III Women

HOT

Loyola (+2)

The Greyhounds boosted their resume with a 16-15 win over Princeton in cold, rainy conditions. Another win Saturday against Boston U made Loyola 9-0, the only remaining unbeaten team outside of No. 1 North Carolina.

Outside of close wins over Towson and Penn early in the campaign, Loyola has played like a team capable of reaching the top five. Now at No. 4, the Greyhounds get a true litmus test on Tuesday in the Carrier Dome against No. 8 Syracuse.

James Madison (+3)

Let’s use this space to explain why James Madison didn’t rise even more. A bump from No. 15 to No. 12 is respectable, especially considering that the Dukes weren’t even ranked two weeks ago. What’s holding the Dukes back from further climbing up the Top 20 are those pesky losses to Virginia Tech and Penn State.

While the Hokies have two quality wins this spring — over JMU and Notre Dame — that resume also includes losses to Louisville and Liberty. Penn State, on the other hand, has thus far dropped games to Drexel and Ohio State.

This doesn’t take away from the fact that a JMU at its peak (seemingly right now) can contend with just about anyone in the nation. It just means that it’s difficult to justify ranking them any higher right now.

NOT

Maryland (-2)

Maryland was shocked at College Park, as JMU’s 13-8 win represented just the sixth loss of Cathy Reese’s career at home. Still, there’s little reason to worry about the Terps long term, and a further slide down the rankings was prevented thanks in large part to their dismantling of Florida in February.

In defeating Maryland, JMU limited the contributions of graduate transfer Aurora Cordingley and kept the draw battle even (13-12 in favor of the Dukes). Those seem to be the keys to competing with Maryland right now.

IN

Colorado (No. 18)

The Buffs are back in the Top 20, as a three-game winning streak that includes a 17-16 win over Stanford were enough to re-enter the mix. The three-game streak comes after a two-game losing streak that included an understandable loss to USC but a head-scratching 20-6 throttling at the hands of Arizona State.

UConn (No. 20)

A week after falling out of the Top 20 due to inactivity, UConn is back at No. 20. The Huskies stretched their winning streak to seven games with a 15-11 win over Hofstra, a game in which Kate Shaffer and Grace Coon combined for nine goals and one assist. An All-American in the midfield (Sydney Watson), a sturdy defense that caused 16 Hofstra turnovers and a balanced attacking group makes UConn a tough draw at this point in the season.

OUT

Navy (was No. 14)

Navy falls out of the Top 20 because of a 13-12 loss to a Georgetown team with losses to Penn and Towson. The Mids’ key wins to date are triumphs over Johns Hopkins and Drexel, though neither looks particularly astonishing at this point in the season. Because the Mids didn’t have a win to anchor them into the Top 20, they fall out of the rankings.

Notre Dame (was No. 20)

At some point, Notre Dame needs to prove what team it is. As of now, the Irish have proven to be wildly inconsistent. Some days, they can hang with the best of the best — one goal losses to top-10 teams like Northwestern and Syracuse — and other days, they drop games to Vanderbilt (11-7) and Virginia Tech (13-12).

In a winnable game Saturday against Duke, Notre Dame played poorly in the first 15 minutes before basically matching Duke the rest of the way. Notre Dame has the top-flight talent to get on a hot streak, but it’s running out of time to do so.

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