Led by a career-high five-goal performance from redshirt-sophomore attacker Betsy Angel, the James Madison women’s lacrosse team earned a 15-11 victory over UConn Sunday afternoon at University Park.
Facing adverse conditions with temperatures in the teens and a wind chill below freezing, the game was forced to be played in four quarters with each frame lasting 15 minutes instead of the typical two, 30-minutes halves.
The win pushes JMU to 2-1 on the year while UConn drops its season-opener to fall to 0-1.
UConn’s only lead of the afternoon came minutes into the game, as the Huskies went up 2-1 on JMU with 10:46 to go in the first quarter. With 9:50 to go in the quarter, senior attacker Stephanie Finley knotted the game at 2-2 and sent the Dukes on a 6-0 run that JMU up 7-2 with 1:25 to go in the first.
Even with Connecticut scoring with 13 seconds remaining in the first quarter to make it 7-3, JMU continued its run deep into the second quarter by scoring the next four goals – all of which came from different players – to open up an 11-3 lead five minutes before halftime. Playing for the last shot in the first half, Finley notched her third goal of the contest nine second before halftime to give the Dukes a 12-5 lead at the break.
Out of halftime, Angel tallied her fifth goal of the contest and junior midfielder Jaci Gordon found the back of the net to extend JMU’s lead to 14-5. The nine-goal advantage was the largest of the day for the Dukes.
Though trailing big with 15:14 to go in the game, the Huskies went on a 6-1 run through the final fourth of the game to make things interesting late in the fourth quarter. After UConn had tallied four straight and trailed 14-9 with 8:56 to play, sophomore Taylor Gress stopped the bleeding for the Dukes with her second goal of the afternoon with 6:52 to play to make it 15-9 JMU.
Five Dukes scored in the winning effort with Angel’s five goals and one assist leading the way. Gordon tallied four goals and two assists to tie Angel with a game-high six points. Finley finished with three goals and an assist while adding two ground balls and six draw controls. Gress notched two goals while senior midfielder Alison Curwin scored once and added two assists. She also tied her career-high with five ground balls. Curwin last picked up five ground balls in last year’s regular-season meeting with Towson on April 13, a 12-11 loss for the Dukes. Though not finding the back of the net, junior midfielder Brooks Lawler added two assists, three ground balls and three draw controls – all of which tied career highs – while senior defender Lexi Cross picked up a career-high six ground balls and forced three turnovers.
The Huskies were led by Emily Anderson, who scored five goals while picking up four ground balls, six draw controls and four caused turnovers. Both Carly Palmucci and Grace Nolan scored twice with Nolan adding two assists and three ground balls. Alexandra Crofts and Molly O’Reilly each tallied once in the loss. Crofts came away with four draw controls. Lau Kwasnowski was not directly involved in any of the 11 UConn goals, but did come up with five ground balls and caused four turnovers.
The Dukes return to action next Sunday, Feb. 22, when they will play host to High Point. The first meeting all-time between the Panthers and Dukes is set for 1 p.m. at University Park.