JMU women's soccer defeats UNCW, advances to CAA semifinals
James Madison scored a pair of goals immediately after halftime on Friday afternoon, breaking a deadlock and propelling the Dukes to a 3-2 victory over third-seeded Delaware in the Colonial Athletic Association women's soccer quarterfinals at Stuart & Suzanne Grant Stadium.
The sixth-seeded Dukes (8-11-1) battled powerful wind in their face for the first half, but held the Seahawks (10-6-1) to just five shots and just one on frame as the sides went into the break tied at 1-1, before erupting for four shots and both second-half goals inside the first eight minutes of the half.
Seniors Haley Crawford and Maia Foley and junior Ginger Deel all scored for the Dukes on the afternoon, as JMU put four of its nine shots on frame and scored three of those chances in an efficient offensive afternoon.
Crawford and Deel each tallied two shots on the day to lead a well-balanced JMU attack, while senior goalkeeper Hannah McShea made a pair of saves to preserve the victory for the Dukes.
With the Dukes' win, they will return to the CAA Semifinals for the sixth time in seven seasons, dating back to the 2013 season. In the other five trips, JMU has moved into the finals three times, winning the 2015 CAA Championship along the way.
16' | Morgan Nanni opened the scoring on a well-taken free kick, ripping a 20-yard shot into the top corner to make it 1-0 just past the quarter-hour.
90' | Audrey Harding scored with just seven seconds remaining to make it 3-2 after cutting inside from the right wing and ripping a left-footed shot to the right post.
25' | Crawford provided the equalizer from the penalty spot, slotting home her fifth goal of the year after UNCW committed a handball in the box.
49' | Deel put the Dukes ahead for good just after halftime, hitting a through ball from Crawford with a sliding first touch from 12 yards to make it 2-1 on her team-best eighth goal of the year.
51' | Foley doubled the margin less than two minutes later, knifing between a pair of defenders at the six-yard line to slam home a low, driven cross from Deel for her third goal of the season.
"That game was a tale of two halves because of a very strong, one-direction win. It pinned us in the first half and we felt good about going into the second half tied 1-1. With the wind at our back in the second half, we were able to attack and hold down a good UNCW defense. In the post-season, it's about finding ways to win and the team put in a good performance today."
In the last eight matches, the Dukes have lit up the scoreboard from a variety of sources, with 11 different goalscorers providing 23 goals despite no one player scoring more than one in a single match.
With a goal and an assist on the day, senior Haley Crawford now has five goals and 12 assists this season. Her 26th career goal tied her with Tasha Ellis (1995-97) for 12th-most on the JMU career chart, while her 34 assists put her alone with the third-most assists in program history.
Junior Ginger Deel also notched a goal and an assist on the day, giving her eight and three, respectively, this year. Her 19 career goals are now tied for 17th on the career lists, alongside Teri Joyce (1999-02) and her 48 points already rank 22nd at JMU.
The Dukes advance to Sunday afternoon's CAA Semifinals, where they will face No. 2 Delaware at 1 p.m. on the Blue Hens' home field. Earlier this year, Delaware bested the Dukes in a 1-0 battle in Newark in both teams' second CAA match.