Halle Duenkel

Junior midfielder Halle Duenkel had the third hat trick of her career against Canisius.

A 15-0 run from JMU lacrosse led to an unloading of the bench, as all but two Dukes saw action in their 21-4 win over the Canisius Griffins. Fourteen Dukes scored or assisted on the night, led by freshman midfielder Lizzy Fox’s four points, and 12 players recorded a goal, led by junior midfielder Halle Duenkel’s three.

“The coaches stressed all week how our attitude and personality needs to shine through in this game,” Duenkel said. “I think today was finally the day where we got to show who JMU really is in 2019.”

Despite the lopsided affair, Canisius struck first at the 27:43 mark with a goal from senior attacker Jourdan Roemer — who finished with a team-high two goals. From that point, it took until the 20:55 mark in the second half for the Griffins to score again, and by then, James Madison was up by 13.

Nine Dukes scored two or more goals, including four members coming off the bench. JMU also saw action from three goalkeepers, as both senior Ellie Harmeyer and freshman Kat Buchanan stood in front of the net during the second half.

“Coach Shelley really challenged us to come out today and really give it our all,” Fox said. “I think it was just a total team effort today and we all pulled through.”

Not only did the game provide an opportunity for JMU to keep its starters rested, but it allowed the Dukes to find out what’s on their bench. Doing so this early on in the season gives the players a boost of confidence and the coaching staff a better understanding of the roster.

“If you put in the work, you’re going to reap the benefits at some point,” head coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe said. “Credit to the starters for having a strong presence in the first 10 minutes of the game to set the tone and give the coaches the opportunity to take a look at some other athletes.”

Duenkel’s hat trick was the third of her career and her first since playing William & Mary last season. The Great Falls, Virginia, native now has six goals and two assists on the season — upping her career points total to 31.

“My teammates were able to set me up for some really nice, easy shots, and each goal that we all scored was well deserved,” Duenkel said.

It was another strong outing for the JMU defense, allowing five goals or less for the second game in a row. After allowing 18 goals in the season opener to UNC, the Dukes’ average goals allowed per game has dropped to 8.8 — an average of 6.5 goals per contest.

Next up for JMU is its first ranked opponent since playing the then-No. 14 Virginia Tech more than two weeks ago. Penn State, the No. 11 team in the country, boasts a 3-1 record and scores 13 goals a game. PSU senior Madison Carter already has 15 goals on the year, the 15th-highest mark in the nation.

“Really excited to get Penn State,” Klaes-Bawcombe said. “Really looking forward to sending a message that JMU is here to stay.”

Contact Blake Pace at breezesports@gmail.com. For more lacrosse coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.