Second-half surge lifts JMU field hockey past Longwood, 4-2

jmu logoA pair of goals in the final 15 minutes by senior forward Bethany Ashworth (Lititz, Pa./Warwick) and junior back Loes Stijntjes (Steenokkerzeel, Belgium/Heilig Hartcollege) broke open a 2-2 tie between James Madison field hockey and Longwood to secure a 4-2 victory for the Dukes.

JMU improved to 2-0 on the season with the win in the home opener while Longwood dropped to 1-2 on the year.

With the game tied at 2-all, the Dukes battled for possession and earned a corner in the 56th minute of play. Ashworth charged into the circle and redirected the shot from Stijntjes into the net to push the Dukes ahead by one.

After the JMU defense held strong on a corner by the Lancers, the Dukes regained possession and secured the victory when a shot by Stijntjes deflected off a defender’s stick and into the goal.

Stijntjes led the game with two tallies and an assist. Her first score came just before halftime as she rushed in from the right side and fired off a shot that deflected off the goalkeeper’s stick into the upper left corner.

Freshman Melanie Kusakavitch (Pittston, Pa./Holy Redeemer) earned her first collegiate goal off a pass from fellow freshman forward Hannah Hall (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) in the 15th minute of play to put the Dukes on the board. Hall drew the goalkeeper out of the cage and faked the shot to Kusakavitch, who fired into the net.

Senior goalkeeper Hannah George (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) earned her second victory between the posts with three saves and two goals allowed. Longwood’s Lauren Bernard fell to 1-2 on the year after allowing four goals and committing four saves.

JMU outshot Longwood 14-8, including an 11-4 shot advantage in the second half.  The Dukes earned seven corners to the Lancers’ five.

The Dukes return to the JMU Field Hockey Complex on Sunday, Sept. 7 when they face Richmond at 12 p.m. and celebrate Alumni Day. MadiZONE HD SportsNet presented by the JMU Alumni Association will carry an audio broadcast of the game.


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