JMU field hockey drops season opener at Rutgers

Freshman midfielder Taylor West (Princess Anne, Md./Pocomoke) scored 19 minutes into her first career game, but it was not enough as the James Madison field hockey team dropped a 5-1 decision to Rutgers at the Bauer Field Hockey Complex in Piscataway, N.J., on Friday.

JMU, which is receiving votes in the Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll, lost its season opener for the first time since losing 2-0 to Kent State in 2004 and dropped to 0-1 overall. Rutgers opens its season at 1-0.

Four different Scarlet Knights combined to score Rutgers’ five goals, including two goals from Kat Rodziewicz. Gia Nappi and Nicole Gentile each chipped in with a goal and an assist while Danielle Freshnock came off the bench to contribute a goal on two shots.

In addition to her first career goal, West lead the team with three shots, all of which were on goal. Fellow freshmanYsaline Nobels (Dion-Valmont, Belgium/College du Christ-Roi) had Madison’s only other shot. West and Nobels were two of five freshmen to start the game while seven first-year Dukes appeared in the game overall.

Sarah Stuby made three saves to earn the win for Rutgers and improve to 1-0 on the year.

SophomoreStephanie Tarafas (Suffolk, Va./Nanesmond River) took the loss for JMU to drop to 0-1. She made two saves and allowed four goals in 52:48 minutes of play. SeniorMargo Savage (Virginia Beach, Va./Princess Anne) came in for the final 17:12, making one save and allowing one goal.

Rutgers outshot JMU 10-4, including a 7-2 advantage in the second half. The Dukes held a 4-2 edge in penalties corners while each team made three saves.

Gentile struck for the game’s first goal, tapping in a rebound in the eighth minute. Tarafas made the stop on the original shot, but the ball bounced right to Gentile who knocked it in for the 1-0 lead.

West tallied 11 minutes later to even the score. She broke away from the defense and drove the ball past Stuby from the slot.

Rodziewicz broke up the tie with just one minute remaining in the first half. She received a pass from Nappi at the side of the goal and tipped in up over Tarafas.

Halfway through the second half, Freshnock made it 3-1 by finding the ball during a scramble in front of the net and knocking it in for her first career goal. Three minutes later, Rodziewicz added her second goal to extend the lead to 4-1.

Nappi put the game away in the 67th minute, redirecting a shot from Gentile for the game’s final margin.

The Dukes return to action on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Easton, Pa., as they take on Lafayette at the Metzgar Fields Athletic Complex.

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