‘If we’re looking for a spark, we believe anyone on our team can do it.’ JMU freshmen stepping up

James Madison head coach Shelley Klaes
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 11:13 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Maddie Epke and Caitlin McElwee are just some of the James Madison lacrosse players that stepped up over the weekend as both players played key roles in the comeback win against Maryland on Sunday.

What’s even more impressive. Both are wise beyond their years.

Epke and McElwee are just freshman.

The spotlight hasn’t been too bright for either player. Epke scored two goals against Army and two more goals against Maryland.

McElwee go-ahead goal against Maryland helped send JMU to the Elite Eight.

The decision to insert McElwee late into the game on Sunday speaks to the confidence JMU head coach Shelley Klaes has in her team.

“Caitlin has played every single day that we’ve stepped onto this field at practice. For us, we recognize the environment we have at practice is more difficult sometimes than gameday. She’s a great player. We believe in her,” said Klaes. “I think that shows in the willingess to go to her late in the game. If we’re looking for a spark, we believe anyone on our team can do it. Credit to her for stepping up and getting it done.”

JMU takes on Syracuse Thursday afternoon. The winner advances to the Final Four in Cary, N.C.

The Orange are averaging 16.7 points per game, good for the second-best scoring offense in the country.

Syracuse is coming off a 25-8 win over Johns Hopkins in the second round.

Thursday’s game begins at noon.