It was an exciting week in the world of JMU sports — men’s soccer won the CAA title, men’s and women’s basketball began and football picked up a critical win. Here’s what happened in the past few days and what’s coming up this week.
Football (7-3, 5-2 CAA)
JMU football rebounded with an offensive explosion and a 48-31 win over Rhode Island (5-5, 3-4 CAA) after last week’s upset loss to New Hampshire. Redshirt junior quarterback Ben DiNucci threw for 227 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions along with a rushing touchdown. The Dukes collectively scored six touchdowns in nine red zone trips.
Five CAA teams still have a chance to win at least a share of the conference, including JMU. The Dukes need a win Saturday against Towson and a loss from Maine to clinch a share of the title for the fourth-straight year. JMU will conclude its regular season Saturday on the road against Towson (7-3, 5-2 CAA) and the CAA’s top-scoring offense at 2 p.m.
Men’s soccer (12-4-3, 6-2 CAA)
JMU men’s soccer knocked off No. 5 William & Mary 2-0 on Friday and wonthe CAA championship 1-1, 4-2 in penalty kicks against No. 3 Hofstra. The Dukes advanced to the conference title game with goals from redshirt sophomore forward Carson Jeffris and sophomore defender Tom Judge.
JMU clinched a berth in the NCAA tournament after an early goal from junior midfielder Manuel Ferriol and successful penalty kicks by senior forward Aaron Ward-Baptiste, sophomore forward Maarten Nikkessen, graduate student Yannick Franz and Ferriol. The Dukes are conference champions for the first time since 2014.
Men’s basketball (2-0, 0-0 CAA)
JMU men’s basketball is off to a strong start in the third year under head coach Louis Rowe. The Dukes blew out Division III opponent and cross-town foe Eastern Mennonite 86-58 on Tuesday as sophomore guard Darius Banks dropped a game-high 22 points.
Later in the week, JMU stunned East Carolina 73-72 on an off-balance buzzer-beater from senior guard Stuckey Mosley. Banks led the Dukes against the Pirates with 19 points, eight rebounds and seven steals while Mosley contributed 16 points. JMU will look to continue its winning ways against Bridgewater on Monday and Charlotte on Friday.
Women’s basketball (1-0, 0-0 CAA)
JMU women’s basketball opened the year with a convincing 50-37 win over defending Atlantic 10 champion George Washington. The Dukes held the Colonials to their lowest point total since 2012 in a dominant defensive display. Junior guard Kamiah Smalls led the way with an efficient 14 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor along with seven rebounds and five assists.
The Dukes entered the season as the CAA favorite for the sixth season in a row. JMU looks to pick up a pair of non-conference games this week as it faces Delaware State on Tuesday and Georgetown on Friday.
Volleyball (21-6, 13-3 CAA)
JMU volleyball closed out its regular season as co-champions with Hofstra after a 3-0 sweep of Delaware on Sunday after falling to Towson 3-2 on Friday. Junior middle blocker M’Kaela White led JMU with nine kills and eight blocks against Towson while White and senior outside hitter Bryn Recker tied for the team lead with 12 kills apiece against Delaware.
The Dukes are the No. 2 seed in the CAA tournament and will face the winner of No. 3 College of Charleston and No. 6 UNCW on Saturday. JMU beat the Cougars twice by a score of 3-1 and is 1-1 against the Seahawks this season — the Dukes lost 3-1 to UNCW on the road Oct. 27.
JMU cross country placed 23rd of 33 teams in the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships on Friday. Senior Erica Jackson led the way with a 6K time of 21:35, followed by sophomore Averi Witt with a time of 21:52.6..
The Dukes finished behind CAA foes William & Mary (19th) and Elon (22nd) but defeated College of Charleston (29th). JMU aims to defend its ECAC Championship on Saturday in New York.
JMU men’s tennis closed out its fall schedule, competing Nov. 9-11 in the Navy Invitational in Annapolis, Maryland, and the Wake Forest Invitational in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In the Navy Invitational, junior Damon Roberts made it to the championship after winning his round robin group while freshman William Karpinski, junior Tate Steinour and junior Josh Raymundo picked up singles victories.
In the Wake Forest Invitational, sophomore Alvaro Arce advanced to the semifinals with an upset win over the tournament’s No. 2 seed. Sophomore Gonzalo Adis and senior Pierre Kohler also picked up wins Sunday.
Contact James Faris at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more sports coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.