Trailing by three goals with 22:44 to play, 15th-ranked James Madison women’s lacrosse finished the game on a 6-2 run to knock off No. 9 Penn State 13-12 on Wednesday afternoon at Penn State Lacrosse Field.
The win moves JMU to 6-1 and extends the Dukes’ winning streak to six games. The streak is tied for the second-longest winning streak since Head CoachShelley Klaes-Bawcombe took over the program in 2007. On five other occasions under Klaes-Bawcombe, JMU has won six games in a row, the most recent coming during the 2012 season. Penn State falls to 4-2 with the loss.
“We showed tremendous composure to stay in the game against a very strong Penn State team,” Klaes-Bawcombe said. “Our poise on defense, despite Penn State slowing things down late in the second half and our aggressive offense, were big keys to the game and the win. Schylar Healy came up with big late-game saves to secure the win, but this was a total team victory against a very good team.”
The Dukes are now 2-1 on the season against ranked opponents. JMU opened 2015 with a hard-fought 13-9 loss at No. 2 North Carolina and knocked off No. 14 Loyola (Md.) on Feb. 28 before topping Penn State.
Down 10-7 with less than 22 minutes to go, freshman Elena Romesburg scored her second goal in as many games to spur the 6-2 run with 21:28 to play.
After a goal from redshirt-sophomore Betsy Angel – who scored her team-leading 17th goal of the season – to make it 10-9 Penn State with 19:51, senior attacker Stephanie Finley knotted the game at 10-all with 16:21 remaining.
Following a goal from Tatum Coffey to make it 11-10 in favor of Penn State, junior midfielderBrooks Lawler knotted the game at 11-all with 4:53 to play. From there, JMU never looked back as senior midfielder Alison Curwin gave JMU a 12-11 lead with 3:16to play.
With Penn State picking up a yellow card down the stretch in the final minutes, Finley notched what turned out to be a crucial insurance goal to make it 13-11 with 17 seconds to play. Penn State cut the lead to 13-12, but the goal came too late for the Nittany Lions with just four seconds remaining on the clock.
Five JMU players scored at least twice in the contest with Finley leading the way on three goals and two draw controls. Curwin, Lawler, junior midfielder Jaci Gordon and sophomore midfielderTaylor Gress each notched two goals while Angel and Romesburg rounded out the scoring for the Dukes with one apiece. Redshirt-senior defender Kaci Starkloff and senior goalie Schylar Healyled the defensive effort, as Starkloff collected a team-high three ground balls while Healy made 11 saves in the cage to earn her 34th career win in purple and gold.
Though Tatum led the way for Penn State with three goals, three players – Kelly Lechner, Maggie McCormick and Jenna Mosketti – each scored twice to help the cause while Mosketti picked up a game-high five draw controls.
Penn State won the draw control battle 17-10, but the rest of the contest was relatively even. Both teams had nine free position shots with JMU converting five of them to the Nittany Lions’ four and both teams committed single-digit turnovers. Each team fired 31 shots in the contest.
With its three-game roadtrip concluded, JMU returns home to host Rutgers on Saturday, March 14, at 1 p.m. at University Park. Last season, Rutgers came away with an 8-7 victory over the Dukes in Piscataway, N.J. The loss came in the midst of a four-game losing streak after the Dukes had beat both Loyola and Penn State.