JMU roundup: Defense leads Tribe past Dukes

Daily Staff Reports – sports@nvdaily.com

WILLIAMSBURG -Unable to convert three William & Mary turnovers into points, No. 16/19 James Madison lost a Colonial Athletic Association road contest at William and Mary, 17-7, at Zable Stadium on Saturday night. With the loss, the Dukes fell to 5-3 and 2-2 in CAA play, while the Tribe improved also to 5-3 and 2-2.

Down 10-7 with 7:43 remaining in the fourth quarter and facing a 3rd and 6 on William and Mary’s 31 yard-line, Michael Birdsong threw an interception that was returned 90-yards by Jared Velasquez for a touchdown to put the Tribe ahead, 17-7 and the Dukes couldn’t recover.

Despite recovering three fumbles, including two in Tribe territory, the Dukes were unable to capitalize on good field position as they failed to score a single point off turnovers. JMU stalled on all three of their drives that started on William and Mary’s side of the field during the game.

JMU’s defense limited William and Mary to just 251 yards of offense but allowed William and Mary to convert 7 out of 15 (47%) of their third down attempts while the Dukes struggled to convert on third down offensively, only going 5-for-17 (29%).

In the third quarter with JMU leading 7-3, redshirt-senior linebacker Stephon Robertson forced a fumble after sacking Tribe quarterback Michael Graham and the ball was recovered by redshirt-senior defensive lineman Bingham Togia on the Tribe’s 23-yard line, his second fumble recovery of the game.

Unable to gain a first down, William and Mary blocked a 31-yard field goal attempt by Cameron Starke and recovered on their own 26-yard line. The Tribe then went on a 12-play, 77-yard drive led by backup quarterback Brent Caprio, in place of an injured Graham. The final result was a 28-yard touchdown on a screen pass to Tre McBride that put William and Mary ahead for good at 10-7.

The Dukes, who could only muster 90 yards rushing on 38 carries, leaned on the passing game and Michael Birdsong who finished the game 18-for-34 for 208 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

JMU took the lead 7-0 with 14:05 remaining in the second quarter after Birdsong found redshirt-senior running back Dae’Quan Scott for a screen pass as he went 40 yards untouched into the end zone. From there, the offense struggled.

After a string of three and outs by both teams, William and Mary got on the board with an 11-play, 49-yard drive that resulted in a 29-yard field goal by John Carpenter with 3:53 left in the first half and cut JMU’s lead to 7-3.

JMU marched down the field right before halftime but a fake field goal by the Dukes on 4th and 15 with 0:11 remaining was snuffed out by the Tribe and Quintin Hunter was stopped on a fake field goal attempt just short of the first down.

Scott led JMU with eigh catches for 81 yards and a TD but managed only 14 carries for 41 yards. Robertson led all tacklers with 15 stops, including 5.0 for loss, 1.0 sack, one forced fumble and one pass breakup.

The Dukes will return to Bridgeforth Stadium for homecoming on Nov. 2nd as they face play Villanova at 2:30 p.m.

Swimming and diving
Morgantown, W.Va. – James Madison swimming and diving won 10 of the 20 women’s events, including seven on Saturday as it claimed first place at the four-team West Virginia Invitational at the WVU Natatorium in Morgantown, W. Va., this weekend.

JMU scored 1,077.50 points to outrace Cincinnati, West Virginia and Villanova in the Invitational. Cincinnati claimed second with 882.50 points followed by West Virginia (747) and Villanova (724) in third and fourth, respectively.

Of the Dukes’ seven victories on Saturday, three of them came on relays as they won the 200-yard medley relay, the 400-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard medley relay to claim 120 points in those three events. Junior Susanne Gingher swam all three of the relays for Madison as she teamed with senior Shannon Dubay, junior Sin Hye Won and sophomore Kacy Edsall to win the 200 medley and Edsall, Won and junior Melissa Criscuolo to win the 400 medley. The 200 team turned in a time of 1:47.42 to edge the team from West Virginia by 0.04 seconds while the 400 medley team touched the wall at 3:52.63 to outrace its nearest competitor by over two seconds.

The 400-yard freestyle team was made up of Gingher, senior Kelsey Holmgaard, and sophomores Carli Molano and Kristen Zielinski. The quartet teamed up to time the 10th-fastest time in school history at 3:29.83.

Individual event winners for Madison on Saturday included Holmgaard, Gingher and Won. Holmgaard claimed two individual event titles as she won both individual medley events, timing a 4:33.94 in the 400-yard IM and a 2:06.93 in the 200 IM to earn 40 points for her team.

Gingher glided through the water in a time of 23.91 to win the 50-yard freestyle.

Won finished first in the 100-yard breaststroke beating the field by over one and a half seconds as she touched the wall at 1:05.06. JMU also claimed third and fourth in the event as Dubay and sophomore Amanda Presgraves earned points for Madison. Dubay placed third with a time of 1:07.16 with Presgraves right behind her at 1:07.42.

Other top finishers for the Dukes include Criscuolo placing second in the 100-yard butterfly (57.67), Edsall finished third in the 100 backstroke (59.56) and junior Aimee Hooper claiming third in the 500 freestyle (5:01.25).

On the diving boards, Madison was paced by redshirt freshman Taryn McLaughlin placing second in both events. She scored a 249.40 on the one-meter board to trail only WVU’s Haily Vandepoel (279.00). Vandepoel again claimed first on the three-meter board, scoring 321.30 points with McLaughlin in second with 264.50 points. Freshman Olivia Lehman was the second finisher for Madison on both boards placing fourth on the one-meter (222.95) and sixth on the three-meter (218.60).

JMU returns to action next weekend as they host their first home meet of the season. Delaware, UNCW and William & Mary all make the trip to Harrisonburg for the annual CAA Pod Meet at Savage Natatorium.

TOWSON, Md.- Towson hit .315 as a team, receiving double-digit kills from three players as it swept the James Madison volleyball team 3-0 at SECU Arena in Towson, Md., Saturday evening.

TU won by set scores of 26-24, 25-20, 25-19 to earn its first Colonial Athletic Association win of the season. The Tigers improved to 8-20 on the season and 1-9 in the CAA while the Dukes dropped to 9-13 and 4-5 in league play.

JMU was paced by junior middle blocker Lizzy Briones with 15 kills on .375 hitting. She added a block, a dig and an assist for Madison. Freshman right side Janey Goodman added 10 kills, three digs and a block while fellow rookie outside hitter Kate Whitmire had seven kills and two blocks. Sophomore setter Sarah Patterson paced the JMU offense to a .168 attack percentage with 27 assists, adding seven digs and three kills.

Defensively, sophomore libero MacKenzie Kleespies led the Dukes with 17 digs while sophomore outside hitter Meghan Niski had 10. Freshman middle blocker Hanna Radhi tied Whitmire for the team lead with two blocks.

TU outside hitter Haley Pa’akaula led all players with 12 kills, adding seven digs and two blocks. Outside hitter Saitaua Iosia did a bit of everything for the Tigers with 11 kills, 10 digs, four blocks and three service aces while middle blocker Dayane Van Ass finished with 11 kills on .409 hitting. Setters Aimee Schubert and Kyana Miller combined for 42 assists and 13 digs while defensive specialist Capri Tirrell led all players with 22 digs.

Towson outhit JMU .315 to .168 and knocked down eight blocks to Madison’s three. The Tigers collected five points on service aces while the Dukes only picked up one while the Dukes had more digs, 57-56.

JMU led 23-19 in set one, following a 9-3 run, but TU rebounded with a 3-0 run and ended up closing the set on a 7-1 run to come from behind and win the set 26-24. Briones finished with six kills on .500 hitting to lead the way for Madison in the stanza.

The Dukes never led by more than one point in set two and eventually ceded a three-point run to fall behind for good with the score 12-9. Madison trimmed the lead to one point twice, but never overcame the Towson advantage, giving up a 3-0 run to close out the set in in the Tigers’ favor.

With JMU leading set three 14-13, Towson embarked on a 12-6 run to close out the set, finishing off the three-set sweep of the Dukes.

Madison returns to Sinclair Gymnasium next weekend for Homecoming as it welcomes Hofstra and Northeastern to Harrisonburg for a pair of matches.

Field hockey
HARRISONBURG – Drexel scored in the third minute of overtime to defeat the James Madison field hockey team 1-0 in home conference play.

After a defensive battle for the full 70 minutes of regulation, Drexel’s Elise DiDonato took a pass from Lauren Hibshman on the right side before flicking it into the left corner of the goal to earn the 1-0 win for the Dragons in sudden-death overtime.

The Dukes fell to 8-8 on the season and 1-3 against Colonial Athletic Association opponents. The Dragons improved to 12-5 overall and 3-1 in league competition.

Drexel held a slight shooting advantage in regulation, firing off nine shots to Madison’s seven. The Dragons’ Jantien Gunter earned the win (12-5) with four saves and no goals allowed while the Dukes’ senior Stephanie Tarafas (Suffolk, Va./Nansemond River) tallied the loss (4-4) after six saves and one goal allowed on 10 shots.

Just three corners were earned in the game. JMU earned its one to close out the first half, and Drexel earned two, both in the second half.

JMU returns home on Friday, Nov. 3 for a 7 p.m. match-up against league-foe Hofstra.