HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Coming off its first national championship a season ago, James Madison will open up the 2019 campaign ranking fourth in the IWLCA Division I Coaches Poll, as the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association rolled out its preseason poll on Monday.
The Dukes received two of the poll’s 25 first-place votes. National runner-up Boston College reeled in 22 first-place votes to take the top ranking in the preseason poll. Both Maryland and North Carolina were tied for second, as UNC garnered the one other first-place nod.
JMU finished 22-1 last year, which included a 14-game win streak en route to capturing the national title. JMU won the Colonial Athletic Association championship for the second straight year to earn the No. 3 overall seed for the NCAA Championship. The Dukes notched NCAA postseason victories against Virginia, Florida, North Carolina and Boston College to win the title.
They completed the year with program records for scoring (362), assists (156), points (518), free-position goals (73) and draw controls (330). The Dukes also set a team record with four 40-goal scorers in the same season. Head Coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe was voted Division I National Coach of the Year both by the IWLCA and ILWomen and four players earned All-America accolades.
JMU will face six teams ranked in the preseason top 25 this spring, which includes opening the season with a national semifinal rematch at No. 2 UNC on Saturday, Feb. 9. JMU will also host No. 16 Virginia (Mar. 20), No. 2 Maryland (Mar. 24) and No. 11 Towson (Apr. 7) while traveling to No. 14 Virginia Tech (Feb. 13) and No. 12 Penn State (Mar. 6).
The 2019 IWLCA Coaches Poll will be released weekly during the regular season, beginning on Feb. 18.