It took less than 10 minutes of play for senior attacker Hanna Haven to net her second goal of the afternoon, officially crossing the century mark in career goals. The team captain from Syracuse, New York, finished with a team-high four points off three goals and an assist — leading The Dukes to a narrow 10-7 victory.
“I couldn’t have been so successful without the team, without the girls I’ve been playing with, from defense to attack” Haven said. “I’m just really happy that I have a group of girls to support me like that.”
Haven’s rise through the ranks of JMU greats has come in short time. After playing in only two games her freshman year, a 39-goal season in 2017 was raised by a 47-goal outing in 2018 — and her 15 this season have tied the team’s high through seven games this season. With six more goals, she’ll enter the top-20 in program history for career scores.
“[Scoring 100 goals] is really hard,” head coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe said. “The first 50 are kind of easy, but once you get over that 50 hump people are going to start to prepare for you … Just really excited that she’s somebody that’s done a lot of work in the offseason to put herself in the best position possible
Aside from Haven’s consistent performance, the Dukes struggled to find simultaneous success on both sides of the field. While JMU’s offense scored six goals in the first half, the JMU defense gave up six of their own.
Rutgers was aggressive on offense from the start and wasn’t hesitant about taking shots, rattling off 22 in the first half alone. The Scarlet Knights systematically worked around the man coverage by the JMU defense and found easy shot attempts in front of the net on several occasions.
“They’re great shooters,” redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Molly Dougherty said. “They have range, they can shoot from far out, they can feed and thread the needle in with great accuracy and I think that’s something that, personally, I definitely struggled with.”
Out of the break, the Dukes switched to a zone look to aid the defenders who were being beat on individual matchups. The new look revamped the defensive play and held Rutgers to just one second-half score.
But, just as the defense was lacking when the offense was surging, the Dukes missed 17 shots on offense in the second half and netted only four goals. Through nearly the first 25 minutes of play the Dukes had one goal, scored by Hanna Haven at the 19:35 mark.
“I was excited to see that they could have each other’s backs,” Klaes-Bawcombe said. “When defense wasn’t playing well in the first half our offense was able to find the back of the net. In the second half when our offense was struggling a little bit our defense was making stop after stop. Just great teamwork.”
Tied at seven with the game winding down, a forced turnover by sophomore attacker Daria Lucchesi led to a one-on-one opportunity for freshman midfielder Mairead Durkin. Her second goal of the season ignited a 3-0 run for the Dukes, officially putting the game away.
“That [goal] really got us looking to shoot around the goalie,” Haven said. “We starting making sure to take care of our shots, a lot of our shots in the second half were just hitting the goalie or dribbling at our feet, so just making sure we were shooting wisely and smart helped us out.”
This game marked the first of a five-match homestand for the Dukes, who have nearly a week off until hosting Temple on Saturday before a tough week against No. 6-ranked Virginia and No. 2-ranked Maryland the following week. With a couple injuries on attack and two consecutive narrow wins, not having to travel gives the Dukes more time to rest up and prepare for the next several weeks.
“I’m looking to see what kind of depth I have on offense and just see if we can keep pushing this team to take advantage of that time to put the focus back on JMU and get better,” Klaes-Bawcombe said.
Contact Blake Pace at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more lacrosse coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.