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After reaching the Colonial Athletic Association semifinals in 2011, the James Madison field hockey team was picked to finish fourth in 2012 in the CAA in a vote of the league's head coaches.
JMU finished with 28 points and trailed 2011 champion and national semifinalist Old Dominion which finished atop the poll with 48 points and six first-place votes. Northeastern, which reached the NCAA tournament last year and Drexel were tied for second with 40 points each. Following the Dukes in the poll was Delaware in fifth (27 points), Hofstra in sixth (20 points), William & Mary in seventh (14 points) and Towson rounding out the final spot in eighth (7 points).
JMU returns eight starters and 15 letterwinners from last year's squad that went 9-10 overall and 4-4 in conference play. Leading the way is senior midfielder Jenna Taylor (Midlothian, Va./James River) a First Team All-CAA selection a year ago. She finished third on the team in scoring with three goals and four assists for 10 points. Also back is redshirt freshman forward Taylor West (Princess Anne, Va./Pocomoke) who led the team in scoring with six goals and 13 points despite playing in just three games. She was a CAA All-Rookie team selection a year ago.
Other key contributors returning for JMU include senior midfielder Auburn Weisensale (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield), junior back Amy Goldstein (Lititz, Pa./Warwick), redshirt junior forward Rachel Wein (Perryville, Md./Perryville) and sophomores Rachel Palumbo (Schwenksville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley), Dana Allaband (Elkton, Md./Rising Sun) and Taylor Bailey (Fredericksburg, Va./Stafford).
JMU continues its preparations for the 2012 campaign on Saturday as it hosts Penn State at the JMU Field Hockey Complex for a scrimmage before opening the season next Friday with a neutral site game in Kent, Ohio against Vermont.