No. 7 JMU earns road win over No. 19 Penn St.

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Seventh-ranked James Madison used a 7-0 scoring run and a career performance from redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Molly Dougherty to rally past No. 19 Penn State, 11-9, on Wednesday afternoon at Holuba Hall.

The Dukes improve to 5-1 on the year, while the Nittany Lions (3-3) fall for the third straight outing and for the first time at home this season. It marks the second straight year JMU downed PSU by a pair of goals, as six of the past eight meetings have been decided by two goals or less.

Dougherty turned in a record performance between the pipes, making a career-best 19 saves, including 11 in the second half alone. That surpassed her previous high of 13, set last season at Virginia.

“It was a total defensive effort,” Head Coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe said. “Caroline Sdanowich did a great job limiting Madison Carter and the team did a great job supporting the ball. All the shots taken by PSU, Molly was able to read them and clean up the trash. That’s what a good defensive unit does; they protect their goalie and force players to shoot before they’re ready. Molly was very composed, she made a lot of stops and was the backbone we needed to close out the game.”

A pair of Dukes registered hat tricks to lead the offense. Junior attacker Maddie McDaniel had three goals and an assist, while junior midfielder Halle Duenkel recorded a hat trick for the second straight game, with all of her scoring coming in the first half. Sophomore attacker Daria Lucchesi had two goals and a pair of ground balls, and senior attacker Hanna Haven matched McDaniel with four points off a goal and three assists.

Freshman midfielder Mairead Durkin gave a huge lift for JMU in the circle by winning five draw controls, allowing JMU to overcome a large gap in that category. PSU once led draws by a 7-3 margin before the Dukes won eight of the final 12.

“Mairead’s presence didn’t allow Madison Carter to have those one-hand draws where she can get in the zone,” Klaes-Bawcombe said. “She’s a top-notch player, and anytime you can limit her touches, including the draw control, you’re going to take her out of her game. Mairead was 100 percent a huge spark off the bench for us today. The moment she went in, the game changed for JMU.”

Trailing 6-4 with just under 10 minutes to play in the first half, JMU shut down Penn State’s offense for a span of 33:12, allowing the Dukes to score seven straight to capture the lead they would not relinquish. With JMU ahead 11-6, PSU ended the drought with 6:47 to play, sparking a string of three straight scores, but a turnover with 1:02 to play sealed the win for JMU.

“This win gives us a tremendous amount of confidence,” Klaes-Bawcombe said. “We found a solution on the draw when Maddie wasn’t feeling it or able to compete for whatever reason. The offense gradually chipped away at their lead and did what they needed to do to score more than the other team. It’s a huge confidence boost getting this win against a gritty Penn State team.”

--Penn State held a 38-29 shots advantage, including a 28-18 mark in shots on goal. It was JMU’s first win this season when being out-shot.
The Dukes used a furious rally in the circle to tie Penn State in draw controls, at 11-11.
--The Nittany Lions also held leads in caused turnovers (11-6), ground balls (24-16) and fewer turnovers (16-20).
--PSU was 3-of-3 on free-position shots to start the game, but Dougherty and the JMU defense limited the hosts to just 2-of-12 the rest of the way, allowing JMU to take the lead.
--PSU’s Sophia Triandafils had two goals and an assist, while Quinn Nicolai and Kristin Robert each had a pair of goals. Delaney Muldoon also had a goal and two helpers. Madison Carter had a game-high six draw controls, but was limited to just one in the second half.

JMU’s defense held Penn State without a goal for over 33 minutes to rally for the win, marking the fifth straight game JMU has held its opponent to nine goals or less. During the current five-game win streak, JMU has outscored its foes on average by a margin of 15.2 to 7.0.

Hanna Haven dished out three assists in JMU’s win at Penn State, which was the third time this season she’s reached a trio of helpers. Now with a team-high 14 assists on the season, she moved into sixth place all-time at JMU with 67 career assists, surpassing Gail Decker (2001-04), who had 66. Haven is also 15th all-time at JMU in career points, with 165, as she passed the 163 accrued by Betsy Angel (2014-16).

JMU returns home on Sunday, March 10 to host Rutgers. The opening draw is set for noon at Sentara Park.