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JMU lacrosse celebrates a goal.

JMU lacrosse finished last season at No. 13 in the country, and the Dukes will start the 2021 season right in the same spot, as they were ranked No. 13 in the nation in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division I Preseason Top 20. 

JMU went 5-1 in the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season, which included a pair of top-25 wins and double-digit victories. The Dukes ranked in the top 10 in save percentage, draw-control percentage and scoring defense. 

Ten starters return for the Dukes, including redshirt junior goalkeeper Molly Dougherty and redshirt junior attacker Katie Checkosky. Another starter, redshirt senior defender Emma Johnson, elected to return via the NCAA spring-sport eligibility relief. JMU also adds nine freshmen for the 2021 season.

The Dukes were the only CAA team ranked in the preseason top 20. Hofstra was one of the teams also considered, just outside of the rankings. North Carolina, who beat JMU in 2020 15-7, was ranked No. 1. 

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