JMU women's lacrosse ranked No. 17 in preseason coaches poll

James Madison will open the 2020 season with a #17 ranking in the IWLCA Division I Coaches Poll, as the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association rolled out its preseason poll on Monday.
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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- James Madison will open the 2020 season with a #17 ranking in the IWLCA Division I Coaches Poll, as the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association rolled out its preseason poll on Monday.

JMU is coming off a 16-4 record in 2019, as it captured its third straight Colonial Athletic Association title and advanced to the NCAA Championship for the fifth consecutive season.

The Dukes return eight starters from last year's squad, including All-American goalkeeper Molly Dougherty, all-region selection Maddie McDaniel and all-conference honorees Logan Brennan, Emma Johnson and Kelsey Reed. Other starters back include Katie Checkosky, Halle Duenkel and Charlotte Haggerty.

In 2019, JMU ranked fourth nationally in save percentage (.525), seventh in scoring defense (8.6) and 11th in draw controls percentage (.593).

JMU is the sole CAA team to be ranked in the preseason. Maryland edged North Carolina for the nation’s top spot in the IWLCA poll. Following the Terrapins and Tar Heels were #3 Northwestern, #4 Syracuse and #5 Boston College.

The Dukes face off against five teams ranked in the top 25, including the nation’s top-two teams. JMU heads to #1 Maryland on March 29 and opens the season at home against #2 UNC. JMU also hosts #23 Virginia Tech on Feb. 12 and travels to #25 High Point on Feb. 22 and to #8 Virginia on March 18.

JMU also ranked #14 in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division I Women’s Preseason Top 20.

Led by 14th-year head coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe, the 17th-ranked Dukes open the season on Saturday, Feb. 8 against #2 North Carolina. The opening draw is set for 1 p.m. at Sentara Park.

The 2020 JMU lacrosse season is presented by O’Neill’s Grill.