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JMU field hockey fell in its home opener to No. 14 Ohio State.

JMU field hockey fell 3-0 to No. 14 Ohio State on Friday evening. The Buckeyes scored three goals on their first three shots on goal; junior forward Nikki Trzaska scored two goals in the victory over the Dukes.

“I think we started out really flat and they took advantage of that,” head coach Christy Morgan said. “They kind of started to build strength and then finish. Once they finished one, two more came pretty easily. Once we turned it on and started to play, play our game, I think we were very effective.”

JMU’s defense held Ohio State scoreless in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Buckeyes got the scoring started in the final 10 minutes of the first half when Trzaska and freshman midfielder Mackenzie Allessie scored.

“It was a little bit of our lack of awareness in moments,” redshirt senior defender Megan Guzzardi said. “Now, we know. So now we know this weakness and we’re able to take from it, learn from it and create as an asset for the next game.”

Junior goalkeeper Caitlin Nelson got the start in net for the Dukes. She allowed three goals on three shots and was replaced by junior goalkeeper Kylie LeBlanc in the first half. In her first game this season, LeBlanc saved three shots.

“All of us are always ready,” LeBlanc said. “We work hard every day in practice, and we push each other to be [the] best we can, so when it’s our time to go on, we’re always ready.” 

The Dukes failed to capitalize on two corner attempts and had seven shots — four on goal — in Friday’s loss. In the second half, JMU’s offense started to pick up and created more chances to score. 

“I think the team is so passionate,” Guzzardi said. “I love to watch the passionate play from our team, and it’s so important to have connectedness. So, throughout the game, I think we just got more connected as a team … It’s just a matter of togetherness and just everyone having everyone else’s back. So, I think it’s so important that when we play the game, we play that connected, passionate style of hockey.”

Redshirt senior midfielder/forward Miranda Rigg and redshirt sophomore forward Marina Rupinski both led the team in shots with two. Guzzardi, redshirt midfielder Caroline Cahill and freshman midfielder Diede Remijnse played a game-high 60 minutes.

With the loss, JMU falls to 1-2 on the season. The Dukes look to snap their two-game losing streak when they host Georgetown on Sunday at noon.

“We need to have better awareness on defense and get in the hotline sooner,” Morgan said. “We need to finish, we need to finish inside the circle. We need to play more controlled hockey, we’re connecting with each other. We have the ability, we just didn’t do that today.”  

Contact Jason Clampitt at clampijt@dukes.jmu.edu. For more field hockey coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.