RICHMOND, Va. - Senior forward Haley Crawford was named the Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while junior forward Ginger Deel was named to the Preseason All-CAA Team and the James Madison women's soccer team was picked to finish second in the league, as announced by the CAA on Thursday afternoon.
Crawford, who was named First Team All-CAA and First Team All-East Region last year, is coming off her best season at JMU to date. As a junior, she racked up a career-high nine goals--tied for second-most in the league--and six assists on the year, both tops for JMU. The effort saw her climb the JMU record books, as she is already 15th in career goals (21), tied for ninth in career assists (22) and 13th in career points (64).
Crawford is the first JMU player to earn Preseason Player of the Year honors since then-senior Ashley Herndon garnered the nod prior to the 2016 campaign.
Deel, also a 2018 First Team All-CAA pick with a spot on the 2018 All-East Region Third Team, erupted in her second year on campus last year, springing for seven goals--tied for fifth in the league--and tying for the team lead with six assists as a sophomore. Deel also matched her timely scoring from her freshman year, scoring three more game-winning goals to give her six through just two seasons at JMU.
JMU, the reigning CAA regular season champion, was tabbed to finish second in 2019, tallying 74 points (three first-place votes) in the coaches' vote to narrowly finish behind defending tournament champion Hofstra, who picked up 78 points and the remaining seven first-place votes.
Northeastern (67) rounded out the top three, followed by College of Charleston (52), Drexel (47) and William & Mary (39).
The Dukes take the field this evening for an exhibition match against Radford at Sentara Park at 7 p.m., before opening the regular season next Thursday, August 22, at 7 p.m. when they welcome No. 7 Georgetown to Harrisonburg as part of the Fairfield Inn by Marriott Invitational.
In all, the Dukes return all but one starter from 2018, when they completed a massive midseason turnaround to win the CAA regular season title at 11-8-1 while reaching the CAA finals for the third time in six years.