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JMU women’s lacrosse excited for future in AAC

Dukes excited to join AAC
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 9:57 PM EDT|Updated: May. 17, 2022 at 11:52 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The James Madison women’s lacrosse team is preparing for a new era.

The Dukes’ 2022 season came to an end Sunday with a second-round loss to Loyola in the in the NCAA Tournament. JMU is now preparing to move to a new conference prior to the 2023 campaign.

“This is an opportunity for us to re-create our identity and continue to be a leader by example in our department and within the sport,” said JMU head coach Shelley Klaes.

JMU will join the American Athletic Conference as an affiliate member in women’s lacrosse. Most athletics programs at James Madison are getting ready to leave the Colonial Athletic Association and join the Sun Belt Conference. However, the SBC does no sponsor women’s lacrosse.

“Excitement, opportunity,” said Klaes, when describing anticipation for the program to join the AAC. “The only thing constant is change.”

Despite competing in a mid-major conference as a member of the CAA, JMU has developed into one of the top women’s lacrosse programs in the country. The Dukes have advanced to the NCAA Tournament for seven straight seasons and won a national championship in 2018.

“Always looking to the future and always looking to get better and always learning from your mistakes,” said JMU redshirt junior defender Rachel Matey. “I think that’s one thing our team does better than any team is the nation is learning from our mistakes. We learn fast and we grow fast so that’s just going to keep getting better and better with the years to come.”

For more information on JMU’s move to the AAC, click here.

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