Lacrosse Wins CAA Title, Earns NCAA Bid
The JMU lacrosse team staged an incredible comeback to beat Loyola 9-8 for the Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship and earned a bid to the NCAA national championship tournament for the second time in the program's history. The Dukes were ranked fourth, but fell to fifth-ranked Temple 17-10 in the NCAA tournament.
Junior Jessica Kane scored both the tying and winning goals as JMU rallied from a five-goal deficit for the victory against Loyola's top-seeded Greyhounds. Trailing 8-3 with 13:36 left, sophomore Megan Riley scored back-to-back free-position goals at 12:50 and 11:56 to jump-start the Dukes. That kicked off a string of six unanswered goals. Senior Shelley Klaes scored at 6:21, then a Riley goal 20 seconds later pulled the Dukes to within one, 8-7.
With two defenders in her face, Kane netted the tying goal with 3:29 remaining, then Riley fed Kane for the winning score with 2:31 to go.
Loyola was the defending CAA champion and had won three of the past four CAA titles. The Dukes won their first CAA crown and their first conference title since 1986, when they won the South Atlantic Conference tournament.
Klaes was named to the first team, Riley to the second team and junior defender Aimee Vaughn to the third squad of the Brine/IWLCA All-America Team. Klaes is only the fourth player in JMU history to earn first-team honors. She finished her career with 124 goals, a school-record 71 assists and 196 points, just short of JMU's career points record of 199. Her season points total of 71 was also a JMU record.
Freshman Amy Brew was named the CAA Rookie of the Year, and Klaes and Riley were named to the All-CAA first team. Junior defender Lindsay Manning and freshman Julie Martinez earned second-team laurels.
The Dukes' 13-5 record tied a school mark for wins in a season.
Fall Sports Teams Ready to Charge Ahead
What Division I volleyball program showed the most improvement in 1996?
Answer James Madison University
Coach Chris Beerman guided the Dukes to a 25-9 overall record, a second-place finish in the regular season of Colonial Athletic Association play and to the title match of the CAA tournament. All of the Dukes' success moved them from 200th to 62nd on the NCAA's ratings percentage index, the biggest jump on the scale. There are 292 Division I teams.
Sophomore Lindsay Col-lingwood returns after earning numerous honors, including CAA Rookie of the Year and All-State. Second-team All-CAA members Beth Tyson and Kari Kopnicky are also back. The Dukes have also added a strong freshman class.
The Atlantic 10 Football Conference is the new name for the Yankee Conference. For many JMU fans, the 1997 Dukes will look rather "new" as well. After winning 25 games during the past three seasons, this fall's squad will be younger and less experienced than in recent years.
Third-year head coach Alex Wood and his staff will have no less than 12 first-time starters. The offense will consist of new faces at every skilled position, with the exception of part-time starting quarterback Greg Maddox. The returning offensive linemen include guards Carter Robertson and Chet Mitchell and center Sonny Hathaway.
Returning outside linebacker Doug Bigelow was second on last season's team with 81 tackles, and middle linebacker Jason Parmer had 75. Other defensive starters returning include Tony Booth, Marcus Ordonez, Torrey Tillman and James Roberson. Second-team all-conference punter Nelson Garner returns.
The men's soccer team will also have a number of new faces among the starters. Coach Tom Martin has to replace six starters from last year's 14-5-2 team. The Dukes will be gunning for their sixth straight NCAA tournament appearance.
Coach Dave Lombardo's women's soccer team has a bit more experience back as nine players return that started 11 or more times in 1996. The Dukes went 15-6-2 overall and made their second consecutive NCAA playoffs.
The field hockey team will play 15 home games and only five away. Coach Christy Morgan returns her top two scorers from last fall's 13-9 team in sophomore Julie Martinez (18 goals) and senior Diane Cegielski (11 goals, 8 assists).
The women's cross country team returns two All-CAA performers from their second-place CAA team of last fall. Bethany Eigel and Jenae Strader placed third and 10th, respectively, in the CAA meet as sophomores. The men's unit also finished second on the strength of NCAA qualifier Ryan Foster, who's back for his senior year. Foster placed second in last year's CAA meet to earn All-CAA laurels along with teammates Pat Anderson (ninth), Russ Coleman (10th) and Jason Alexander (12th), all of whom return.
Childers to Coach Women's Basketball
||Bud Childers has joined JMU as head coach of women's basketball. He succeeds Shelia Moorman, who resigned after 15 seasons to take a position in athletics administration at JMU.
The head coach at Louisville since 1989, Childers has a 16-year coaching record of 298-174 (.631), including a 152-88 (.633) record in eight seasons at Louisville. He was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year last year when the Cardinals finished in a three-way tie for first in the league and advanced to the NCAA tournament.
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