James Madison took a giant step closer to establishing itself as a power in women's college lacrosse this past season, advancing to the national Final Four for the first time in school history.
Yesterday in the Division I/II North/South Senior All-Star Game, two big reasons for the Dukes' success were blatant.
Amy Brew, a former Annapolis star and The Sun's All-Metro Player of the Year in 1996, and Julie Martinez combined for all but one of the South's goals, leading their team to an 8-6 victory over the North at Minnegan Stadium.
Hofstra's Janet Welsh had three goals for the North.
"It's hard to get out to some of these senior all-star games sometimes and know exactly what's going to happen," said Brew, the game's MVP. "But when you've got a couple teammates out there, you kind of click a little better."
With the score tied at 6 after the North's Brooke Jenkins (Pennsylvania) found the back of the net with a one-hopper, Brew recorded her fourth and final goal. The second-team All-America defender sneaked a low shot past goalie Alex Kahoe (Maryland) for a 7-6 advantage with 6:44 left in the game.
Two minutes later, Brew fed Martinez for the game's final score, a fitting end for the teammates who dominated play.
"We were getting it done in the midfield," said Martinez, a second-team All-America attack. "It just so happened that Amy and I were the ones who were able to finish it on our end."
Brew, in particular, displayed her blazing speed and a knack for capitalizing on opponents' mistakes.
Her third goal came on a heads-up play with 1:25 left in the first half and put the South up 4-2.
Kahoe, a first-team All-American for national champion Maryland, botched a clear attempt, sending the ball directly to Brew who was standing just beyond the midfield line. Brew streaked down the field immediately - outsprinting the defense handily - and dumped a low shot past a helpless Kahoe.
"The girl she was clearing to didn't see it, and it just fell that way," Brew said. "That made it easier, because she was backpedaling to the goal and wasn't ready for the shot. It always helps to catch Kahoe off guard, because if she's ready, she's on."
The game put the finishing touches on a good year for the Dukes, who went 14-5 and ended their season with a 15-9 loss to Princeton.
"It was a nice cap for me to be able to come out here and coach all of this excellent talent, all of these seniors who I've been coaching against for four years," said JMU coach Jennifer Ulehla, who, along with Loyola's Diane Geppi-Aikens, coached the South. "It was a lot of fun just to get to know their personalities and bring them all together, and hopefully let them have a little fun together."