With the sun finally coming out and the wind picking up, the Dukes continued their five-game win streak at Sentara Park with an explosive start as they defeated their first CAA opponent this season, the Delaware Blue Hens, 19-5.
The impressive first half for the Dukes was essential to defeat a team that held their own against ranked competitors this season, like the No. 17 Virginia Tech Hokies. The Dukes were able to hold the Blue Hens to two points while they compiled 12, with 28 shots on goal compared to just eight in the first half.
“I think we killed their spirit in the first half,” head coach Shelly Klaes-Bawcombe said. “I think we took a lot of their competitive drive away, from coach to player, and I think that’s a huge compliment for this team and the way that they played today.”
The Dukes didn’t hold back prior to coming out at halftime. JMU’s lineup was impressive after the offense added seven points to the first-half score and the defense kept the Blue Hens under double digits with only eight shots on goal.
“It’s a possession game,” Klaes-Bawcombe said. “I thought our draw control presence was a big factor in that, and then just really sound basic defensive presence today.”
With 11 minutes left in the game and a commanding lead, JMU was able to sit its starters for the rest of the game, giving playing time to the freshmen and sophomores on the team. The energy didn’t let up when the adjustment was made, mostly because the team had confidence in the underclassmen.
“It’s awesome to see all of the underclassmen come on,” senior midfielder Elena Romesburg said. “We were cheering just as much as they cheer for us, and it’s just awesome to see because they deserve that.”
JMU controlled the technical aspects of the game; not only did the Dukes dominate in shots on goal, but they also caused a havoc against the Blue Hens when it came to draw controls. JMU gained possession from 20 draw controls as opposed to just five from Delaware.
“We knew that we needed to come out really strong in that aspect of the game [draw controls] today,” senior attacker Kristen Gaudian said. “I think we worked on that and it showed.”
Four Dukes stood out and racked up hat tricks against the Blue Hens. Romesburg, Gaudian, sophomore attacker Maddie McDaniel and sophomore midfielder Halle Duenkel each added at least three points to their overall goal totals and helped the Dukes claim their first CAA win this season.
Although excited to play their first CAA game this season, the Dukes knew it was going to be a tough battle facing a team that’s been known to cause problems in the past. Being able to beat a competitor such as Delaware was a big start to an already admirable season.
“It feels awesome, especially against that program,” Romesburg said. “They’ve given us problems in the past. So, it being the first CAA game and it being them, this was huge to come out strong.”
Contact Paige Ellenberger at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more lacrosse coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.