JMU lacrosse defeated Hofstra 15-10 to improve to 15-1 on the season and 5-0 in the CAA. Senior Day at Sentara Park began perfectly for the Dukes and senior Annie Dell, who scored her first career goal less than four minutes into the game.
“It was a really cool opportunity,” Dell said. “It was just like ‘Wow, this is the perfect chance’ and then it just all fell into place.”
After missing her first three seasons with injuries, Dell started for JMU for the first time on Sunday. The first shot of her career hit the post, but her second one found the back of the net.
“[In the] last couple years, I’ve had a couple injuries,” Dell said. “I was obviously overtaken with a lot of emotions.”
Dell’s early goal put JMU up 1-0, which was the first in a flurry of goals. The Dukes set the tone and came out aggressive early, scoring three goals in the first six minutes of the game.
“It’s a crazy day, it came really fast,” senior attacker Kristen Gaudian said. “We’ve been working really hard these past four years … all of our work has been paying off.”
Senior midfielder Elena Romesburg had herself a day, finishing with five goals on five shots. She surpassed 50 goals on the season, joining Gaudian as the only other player to surpass this mark. For the first time in program history, JMU had two players with 50 scores in a season.
“It was definitely marked on the calendars,” Romesburg said. “We prepared for the game like we would any other game, but there was something special behind it.”
Hofstra would make things interesting as the first half drew to a close, as the Pride scored four of the half’s final six goals, cutting the JMU lead to 10-5. JMU outshot Hofstra 18-10 in the first half, but Hofstra hung around.
“We let them have a couple runs,” Gaudian said. “They were able to do that by capitalizing on our mistakes … we definitely capitalized on their mistakes, too.”
Coming out of the break, JMU extended its lead over Hofstra with goals from Romesburg and senior midfielder Haley Warden. The CAA’s best offense was firing on all cylinders on Sunday and would post double-digit goals for the 25th game in a row.
Hofstra sophomore Alyssa Parrella carried her team with a fantastic outing, but it wouldn’t be enough for the Pride. Parrella scored four goals to raise her individual total to 53 on the season, one goal behind Gaudian and two ahead of Romesburg in the CAA.
“We can’t look past any opponent,” Gaudian said. “We had to come out here and fight as hard as we could.”
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Molly Dougherty moved to 7-0 on the season, but JMU wasn’t at its best on defense. The Dukes emerged victorious but gave up double-digit goals in CAA play for the first time this season.
“Today, we had some lapses,” Gaudian said. “We definitely can’t [have] that as we continue on throughout the end of the CAA and into the championships.”
JMU will play Towson on Saturday for the CAA regular season title. The 13-2 Tigers will host the Dukes in a pivotal matchup with postseason implications.
“It’s an emotional game,” Romesburg said. “They always get up for us, we always get up for them. We need to focus on ourselves and realize that we are completely capable of beating them [while] holding ourselves to the standard we’ve held ourselves to all season.”