Redshirt senior forward Sam Lofton (Lock Haven, Pa./Central Mountain) got the Dukes on the board early with her first goal of the season. Lofton collected a ball from sophomore midfielder Allie Bunner (Bristow, Pa./Patriot) 10 yards in front of goal, took a touch and beat VCU goalkeeper Emma Kruse to the near left post for the score.
JMU redshirt junior goalkeeper Ellen Forrest (Midlothian, Va./James River) made three saves in the match while recording her first shutout of the season. She now has seven shutouts to her name at James Madison.
The 24th-ranked Dukes (4-1) had a vast amount of chances to extend the lead and finished with a 21-9 advantage in shots, but the VCU (1-3-2) defense stood tall on numerous occasions to keep the Dukes to the lone goal.
JMU’s best chance to extend the lead came on a penalty kick in the 41st minute. Sophomore forwardAshley Herndon (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) was taken down in the box and JMU was awarded the penalty. Herndon stepped up to take the kick and fired left, but Kruse guessed right and made the save to keep the deficit at 1-0.
In the 74th and 77th minutes, sophomore forward Sydney Braun-McLeod (Ottawa, Ontario/Glebe Collegiate Institute) had three chances to put an insurance goal on the board for the Dukes. On the first chance, the sophomore collected a pass from senior forward Katie Hyland (Islip, N.Y./Islip) in the middle of the box with only the keeper to beat. With Kruse coming out to contest the shot, Braun-McLeod’s shot glanced off the head of Kruse and was cleared away.
Braun-McLeod’s second and third chances to score her third goal of the season came in the 77th minute when she got loose through the middle of the field on a breakaway, but her initial shot was saved by Kruse and the rebound attempt sailed just over the crossbar.
Overall, Kruse made 11 saves, which was one off her career-high of 12.
Looking for the equalizing goal, VCU’s Maren Johansen, who has scored five of the team’s six goals this season, had two quality chances in the box in the 85th minute. Her first shot was blocked by Bunner and the second, a heavy left-footed shot from 15 yards out, was stopped by Forrest to preserve the victory.
Madison returns to action Friday night, Sept. 12, in Philadelphia, Pa., against Villanova. The match between the Dukes and Wildcats is set for 7 p.m.