JMU roundup: Women’s tennis announces schedule

Daily Staff Reports – sports@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG – James Madison women’s tennis will play a 20-match spring dual schedule in 2014, head coach Maria Malerba announced today. The Dukes open the season with a conference match at William & Mary on January 18.

JMU will not face a Colonial Athletic Association foe again until March 26 when the Dukes host Drexel. The match is bookended by home non-conference matches against George Washington on March 23 and Georgetown on March 28. Conference-rival Delaware comes to town on April 1, and the Dukes then venture to Wilmington, N.C., to play CAA-newcomer College of Charleston on April 5 in a neutral-site match and UNCW on April 6.

The Dukes travel for their first seven matches of the season. After visiting Williamsburg, the team journeys to Maryland to compete against Navy (Feb. 8) and UMBC (Feb. 9). The following week, JMU proceeds to former CAA opponent George Mason on February 15 before squaring off with Washington & Lee on February 18 for their first midweek match of the season.

For the weekend of March 1-2, the team visits the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, to face Connecticut and Cincinnati in neutral-site meetings. They will make a brief stop home to take on Longwood on March 5 before heading south to Tampa, Fla., where the Dukes are slated to compete in three matches, including bouts with Old Dominion on March 11 and Evansville on March 14. The date, time and opponent for the third match are to be determined.

The Dukes’ final road match takes place at Richmond on April 9. Madison wraps up the season April 11-12 against Radford and Howard in the final home matches of the regular season before competing in the CAA tournament the following week at William & Mary.

Last spring, the third-seeded Dukes fell to second-seeded UNCW during the semifinal round of the CAA championship. It was their first appearance in the CAA semifinals since 2003. They finished the season with a 12-7 overall match record.

The Dukes were active this fall, competing in four tournaments, two of which yielded five flight titles. The Liberty Fall Classic (Sept. 13-14) produced three flight titles as freshman Rachel Nelson and senior Ruxandra Andriescu earned singles championships while freshman Alex Huie and junior Taylor Pinchoff picked up a doubles championship.

At the Navy Blue & Gold Invitational (Oct. 11-13) JMU went undefeated on the final day, winning both doubles flight titles and sweeping the open positions in three of four singles flight title matches. Pinchoff and Huie earned their second doubles championship while Nelson and senior Jacqueline Palmucci earned their first doubles championship.

NEWARK, Del. – Junior middle blocker Lizzy Briones connected for 16 kills on .556 hitting to lead the James Madison volleyball team to a 3-1 Colonial Athletic Association road win over Delaware at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del., Friday night.

JMU won by set scores of 25-22, 15-25, 25-17, 25-18 to complete the season sweep of UD. The Dukes improved to 9-12 on the season and 4-4 in the CAA while the Blue Hens dropped to 11-11 and 3-5 in the league.

Briones slammed down 16 kills against one error in 27 attack attempts to finish with her second-highest attack percentage of the season. She added a block to finish with a team-best 16.5 points. Freshman right side Janey Goodman contributed 11 kills, six blocks and six digs while freshman outside hitter Kate Whitmire had 10 kills, three blocks and two digs. Freshman middle blocker Hanna Radhi was in on 10 of JMU’s 11 blocks to give her a career-high in blocks, adding four kills and a dig.

Sophomore setter Sarah Patterson paced the Dukes to a .224 attack percentage with 40 assists, adding six digs, three kills, a block and a service ace. Sophomore libero MacKenzie Kleespies tied her career-high with 25 digs, leading four Dukes in double figures. Fellow sophomore outside hitter Meghan Niski also tied her career-best with 18 digs while junior defensive specialist Martha Stewart and sophomore defensive specialist Jaclyn Placha finished with 10 and 11 digs, respectively.

Middle blocker Chandler Bryant paced three Blue Hens in double figures with 18 kills on .389 hitting. Middle blocker Jill Meyers added 13 kills while outside hitter Katie Hillman added 11 kills, five digs, four blocks, two service aces and two assists. Libero Ariel Shonk led the defensive effort with 37 digs. Setter Kali Funk finished with a double-double with 37 assists, 11 digs and three kills.

JMU outhit UD .224 to .141 and also won the battle at the net with 11 blocks to Delaware’s six. Each team finished with four service aces while Delaware collected 84 digs to JMU’s 80.

Trailing 19-18 in set one, the Dukes won the next six points to reach set point at 24-19. The Blue Hens fended off the threat for a bit, winning the next three points, but Goodman came up with her third kill of the set to close the opening stanza out for Madison. Briones finished with five kills on seven attack attempts to power the Dukes in the set.

The Blue Hens used an early 4-0 run in set two to take a 6-2 advantage. The Dukes kept the set close for a while, cutting the lead to three on a service ace by Placha at 17-14 before Delaware went on an 8-1 run to close out the frame. UD collected four of its six blocks in the second set, led by three for Hillman.

JMU closed set three on a 10-3 run to turn a 15-14 lead into a 25-17 win. Goodman and Radhi combined for seven blocks in the set with Goodman adding three kills on 11 attacks. Whitmire finished off three of her five attack attempts to tie Goodman for the team lead in the frame.

Madison trailed 10-8 in set four before embarking on a six-point run to build a four-point lead. The Blue Hens never got closer than three points as the Dukes went on to win 12 of the final 19 points to finish off the win.

The Dukes return to play on Saturday evening as they travel to Towson for a 7 p.m. match at SECU Arena.

Swimming and diving

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – James Madison swimming and diving won two events and recorded six top-three finishes on day one of the West Virginia Invitational at the WVU Natatorium in Morgantown, W. Va., Friday.

The Dukes lead the four-team meet with 316 points through six events. Cincinnati is second with 278 points followed by Villanova with 202 points and West Virginia with 197.

Junior Sin Hye Won picked up the first of JMU’s event wins, placing first in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:21.86. Sophomore Amanda Presgraves came in third in the event with a time of 2:24.57 while senior Shannon Dubay came in fifth with a time of 2:25.34.

The other JMU win came in the 200-yard freestyle relayas the Madison team of senior Kelsey Holmgaard, junior Susanne Gingher, sophomore Carli Molano and Dubay touched the wall with a time of 1:36.10 to narrowly edge the team from Cincinnati by 0.06 seconds.

The Dukes compiled three of the top five times in the 200-yard butterfly, led by junior Melissa Criscuolo finishing in third. She timed a 2:07.85, trimming sophomore Cameron Martin who finished in fourth with a time of 2:08.19. Junior Aimee Hooper placed fifth with a time of 2:08.37.

Hooper also finished fourth in the 1,000-yard freestyle followed by freshman Claire Adkins in fifth.

Other top-three finishers for the Dukes include Gingher and sophomores Stephanie Clarke and Kacy Edsall. Gingher placed second in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 52.07 while Clarke and Edsall finished second and third, respectively in the 200-yard backstroke. Clarke timed a 2:07.23 while Edsall touched the wall just behind her at 2:07.23.

Diving results were not available due to technical issues for West Virginia.

Day two of the West Virginia Invitational gets underway at 10 a.m. with the final session scheduled for 3 p.m.