Dukes hitting the practice field early in preparation for title defense

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- The defending national champion James Madison women's lacrosse team has a new practice schedule in 2019.

The Dukes are preparing for the upcoming season by practicing in the morning hours at Sentara Park. During the week, JMU starts some days as early as 7 a.m. and is wrapped up no later than 10 a.m. each week day.

Despite being on the field early on cold January mornings, players say they enjoy the change in practice time.

"It's been nice because it is a good way to start your morning," said junior attacker Maddie McDaniel. "You can focus just on lacrosse and then for the rest of the day you can focus on class."

JMU won the program's first national championship in 2018 when the Dukes defeated Boston College in the title game. James Madison enters the 2019 season ranked No. 4 in the IWLCA coaches poll.

The Dukes begin the 2019 campaign Saturday, February 9 at No. 2 North Carolina.