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JMU roundup: Kiefer, Ford garner CAA accolades

Daily Staff Reports - sports@nvdaily.com

RICHMOND -- James Madison sophomore pitcher Heather Kiefer and freshman pitcher/first baseman Jailyn Ford were respectively named the Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Week and Rookie of the Week on Monday after helping lead JMU to a 4-1 record last week.

Kiefer claimed CAA Pitcher of the Week honors for the second time this season and the third time in her career. For Ford, this is her fourth conference Rookie of the Week accolade and her sixth conference honor of the season.

Kiefer went 2-1 with a 0.00 ERA in the circle in three starts for the Dukes. She tossed a pair of shutouts in wins over George Mason over the weekend, holding the Patriots to six hits in 12 innings of work. The reigning CAA Rookie of the Year did not walk a batter and struck out five. Kiefer also started game one of the Dukes' doubleheader against Virginia Tech. She did not allow an earned run in 4 2/3 innings of work.

This season, the right-hander is 5-0 with a 0.20 ERA in CAA play. She has limited her opponents to just one earned run on 17 hits and three walks in 34 2/3 innings. Three of her four shutouts have come against CAA opponents while she has thrown four complete games in five starts.

Ford contributed both at the plate and in the circle for the Dukes. She hit .636 (7-for-11) with two doubles, two home runs, six runs scored and three RBIs over five games. The rookie set a JMU freshman record for home runs in a season with her 11th in Sunday's finale against George Mason. She also hit safely in all five games and scored the winning run in JMU's walk-off win over Virginia Tech. In the circle, Ford went 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA. She tossed a pair of complete games and struck out 11 in 14 innings pitched.

In league play, the Hot Springs native is hitting .581 (18-for-31) with seven home runs, three doubles, 18 RBIs, 17 runs and a 1.355 slugging percentage. She is 7-0 with a 1.04 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings of work in the circle

Hofstra's Becca Bigler earned the league's Player of the Week award while her teammate, Caryn Bailey, shared the Rookie of the Week honor with Ford.

Women's lacrosse

RICHMOND -- James Madison sophomore midfielder Steph Finley has been named Colonial Athletic Association lacrosse Player of the Week for the week ending April 14.

Finley led the Dukes to a 9-8 triple-overtime win at Hofstra on April 12, as she scored a team-high four goals and led JMU with three ground balls. She also had a game-high three caused turnovers. Her four goals tied her career high.

She played a key role in that comeback win, as the Dukes trailed by three goals late in the second half. Finley tallied the team's first two goals in a run of three consecutive goals that tied the game in regulation and forced overtime.

Finley scored twice while only taking three shots in a 16-9 victory at Drexel on April 14. She also had a ground ball and a caused turnover in the match.

With two regular-season games remaining, Finley ranks second on the team in goals with 25.

JMU improved its record to 9-5 overall and 4-1 in CAA play with last week's victories. The Dukes clinched a berth in the four-team CAA Tournament, scheduled for May 3 and 5 at the home field of the top-seeded team.


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