No. 9 JMU women's lacrosse defeats Elon, locks up No. 1 seed in CAA Tournament

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Ninth-ranked James Madison used a big first-half run, and 10 different players scored en route to a 16-8 win against Elon on Friday afternoon at Sentara Park.

The Dukes improve to 13-3 overall and 5-0 in Colonial Athletic Association play, clinching at least a share of the regular-season title and the top seed at next month’s CAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship. The Phoenix fell to 4-11 and 2-3, as JMU remained unbeaten all-time against Elon.

Senior attacker Hanna Haven registered a six-point day with four goals and two assists to lead all scorers. Sophomore attacker Katie Checkosky turned in a career-high five points on a goal and career-best four assists.

Three players had two-goal outings, as junior attacker Maddie McDaniel had two scores with 11 draw controls and a pair of caused turnovers. Her draw-control total was one off her career high and the JMU single-game record, and she matched her personal best in caused turnovers. Freshman midfielder Rachel Matey had two goals and three draw controls, and sophomore midfielder Charlotte Haggerty added a pair of scores.

Defensively, senior Caroline Sdanowich led all players with three caused turnovers, to go with two ground balls. Freshman midfielder Mairead Durkin caused a pair of turnovers and junior Emma Johnson collected three ground balls.

JMU surged to a big lead quickly, notching the game’s first five goals by five different players before the game was 10 minutes old. After Elon scored its first of the game, the Dukes answered with three in a row to extend the lead to 8-1. Leading 8-3 at the break, JMU opened the second with four in a row to up the advantage to nine, at 12-3. JMU led by as many as 10, and Elon never drew closer than seven the rest of the way.

The Phoenix was paced by Kaley Thompson’s two goals and one assist, and both Cami Lynch and Cate Mackel scored twice.

“We’re playing a consistent level of lacrosse right now and I’m seeing this team surge and make improvements in areas we’ve been pushing them in, like second-chance opportunities. We did a great job to get the ball back today and give ourselves multiple chances in the offensive end. It’s why our shot selection looked so good. JMU shared the ball well; our ball movement was great and we only had five turnovers in the first half. We played unselfish, fast-paced lacrosse today.”

JMU secured the No. 1 seed for the 2019 CAA Championship and won at least a share of the league’s regular-season crown with Friday’s triumph. The Dukes can win the regular season outright with a win on Sunday.

For the first time in program history, the Dukes have now won at least a share of the regular-season championship in four consecutive seasons. It’s the eighth time JMU has accomplished the feat over the past 10 years and the 13th occurrence since joining the CAA. JMU will be the No. 1 seed in the tournament for the 10th time in team history and for the fourth straight championship.

JMU closes the regular season on Sunday when it hosts William & Mary. The opening draw is set for 1 p.m. at Sentara Park. Prior to the game, JMU will honor its seven seniors playing their final regular-season home game.