After shooting its two lowest percentages from the field last week against No. 8 Virginia and No. 2 Maryland, JMU lacrosse broke out of the funk in Saturday’s 19-8 victory over San Diego State. The Dukes scored 10 goals in the first 10 minutes and jumped out to an 11-0 lead to start the game.
“Today was just a great team win,” junior midfielder Halle Duenke said. “We’ve been focusing all week on executing the play and finishing the ball, and I think today was a really good showing of that.”
The Dukes shot 58 percent from the field after shooting 27 and 23.8 percent last week in their two games, respectively. Their 19 goals were more than they scored against Virginia and Maryland combined, where JMU scored 14.
JMU also had a lot of depth to its scoring as multiple players found the back of the net. Eleven different Dukes scored, led by Duenkel, who netted four goals. Four other Dukes had multiple goals on the afternoon. The rapid ball movement and numerous scoring outlets made it difficult for the Aztecs to cover.
“Ball movement is important,” head coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe said. “Not caring who gets the goal, and just being willing to move the ball one more because that next pass is gonna create a better shot than you would’ve had.”
JMU also heavily outshot the Aztecs 33 to 23 — a big improvement after shooting just 21 times versus Maryland. The Dukes also won the draw-control battle 16 to 12, including a career-high 12 by junior attacker Maddie McDaniel, which allowed the Dukes to get many scoring opportunities.
The defense was much stronger against the Aztecs than in had been in recent contests. The Dukes allowed just eight goals after giving up 32 against Virginia and Maryland combined. It was the seventh time this season they’d yielded less than 10 goals, with the Dukes winning all seven of those games.
“I think we’ve been really focused on communication and team defense,” McDaniel said. “From my side of the field, it looked like they were communicating very well and shifting as a team and that caused a lot of San Diego State turnovers as a result.”
JMU also received a hat trick from freshman midfielder Lizzy Fox to help avoid its first three-game losing streak since 2016. With the non-conference schedule over, the Dukes will open CAA play on the road against Delaware on Friday and look to carry their momentum victory into a strong conference start.
“Well, now I think the whole season is new,” Klaes-Bawcombe said. “We just finished our last non-conference game and we did a great job putting ourselves in an opportunity for an at-large bid. Now we’re 0-0 again, and we need to set the tone early in the conference play.”
Contact Joshua Gingrich at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more lacrosse coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.