JMU women’s lacrosse to join AAC

JMU women's lacrosse to join AAC, preparing for 2022 season
Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 4:55 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The James Madison women’s lacrosse program has found a new home.

JMU announced Friday morning that the Dukes will join the American Athletic Conference as an associate member on July 1, 2022. The move comes as James Madison prepares to leave the Colonial Athletic Association and join the Sun Belt Conference, a league that does not sponsor women’s lacrosse.

“Membership in the American Athletic Conference provides a great opportunity for our lacrosse program,” JMU Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne said in a statemtn. “We believe JMU lacrosse strengthens The American with our program’s storied tradition and a great presence within the footprint of the lacrosse community. We have been a consistent factor in the postseason, including a recent national championship in 2018. For JMU, The American is a great blend of challenging opponents within a natural, geographic proximity while also providing the opportunity to continue to compete for conference championships and postseason appearances. We’d like to thank Mike Aresco and The American for this opportunity and look forward to great competition.”

According to a press release from JMU: With the addition of the Dukes for the 2023 spring season, The American will have seven schools that compete in women’s lacrosse: Cincinnati, East Carolina and Temple as full members, while JMU, Florida, Old Dominion and Vanderbilt will compete as affiliate members. South Florida will begin women’s lacrosse competition in The American for the 2024 season.

“We are pleased to add James Madison’s highly successful women’s lacrosse program to the American Athletic Conference,” said American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco in a statement. “JMU is firmly established as one of the nation’s top programs, with sustained success that aligns with our conference’s objective of competing for championships at the highest level. We look forward to further strengthening our profile in women’s lacrosse with another perennial NCAA tournament contender. I would like to thank Jeff Bourne and congratulate him for his leadership of an outstanding program.”

JMU is preparing to compete in the CAA for one final season in 2022. The Dukes were picked as the league’s preseason favorite, despite being banned for the CAA Tournament due to the Sun Belt move. James Madison is ranked No. 12 nationally in the IWLCA/ILWomen Preseason Poll and is schedule to open the 2022 campaign next Saturday (2/12) at home against No. 2 North Carolina. Start time is set for 1 p.m. at Sentara Park.

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