Without the ball, JHU women fall

James Madison dominates second-half possessions, eliminates Blue Jays, 14-9

College Lacrosse

May 14, 2004|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Early in yesterday's first-round NCAA Division I tournament game, Johns Hopkins' women's team hung with James Madison, thanks to the Blue Jays' ability to maintain possession in stretches.

But in the second half, the Dukes had the vast majority of possessions and converted seven goals in a row to earn a 14-9 victory before 275 at the JMU Lacrosse Complex. In Sunday's quarterfinals, the Dukes (16-3) will play host to Vanderbilt, an upset, 5-4 winner at Loyola.

Yesterday, the Dukes had the ball about 80 percent of the second half, thanks in large part to controlling 12 of 15 draws -- all in succession.

"Possession off the draw is what won the game," said James Madison coach Kellie Young. "We really felt watching past games they had played that the draw dictated who was going to come out in the end."

Senior midfielder Gail Decker, who had handled most of the draws for the Dukes this season, struggled early, she said, so she opted off the draw. Johanna Buchholz stepped in and the Dukes finished the game with an 18-6 edge in draw controls.

In a game that was tied at 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7, the Dukes broke away after back-to-back goals from Hopkins' Anne Crisafulli and Heidi Pearce tied it at 7 with 23:53 to go.

Decker, a Mount de Sales graduate, broke the tie and scored three of the next five goals, including the game-winner with 20:38 left that boosted the lead to 10-7. With seven goals yesterday, Decker broke the Dukes' career scoring record, amassing 264 points to pass Megan Riley, who had 260 between 1996 and 1999.

While the Blue Jays (12-5) did a good job of double- and triple-teaming Decker in the first half, they couldn't keep her under wraps in the second. The attention she drew also helped Kelly Berger find the openings to score four of her five goals in the second period.

"I don't think they did anything special as far as plays," said Blue Jays defender Lacey-Leigh Hentz. "They have a lot of players who go hard to goal and draw a lot of attention by the defense."

For Hopkins, which was making its first appearance in the NCAA Division I tournament, missed opportunities in the first half loomed large. In one 13-minute stretch, the Blue Jays had five good looks at the net and missed them all -- three wide and two stopped by Dukes goalie Amy Altig.

Top Blue Jays scorer Mary Key was held without a goal but had three assists. Pearce, Crisafulli and Kelley Putnam scored two goals each for Hopkins, which was called for 31 fouls compared with nine for the Dukes, a differential on which Blue Jays coach Janine Tucker would not comment.

Despite the loss, Pearce, one of six Hopkins seniors, said she was happy to have finally made it to the NCAA tournament.

"I've worked for four years to get here," the Chestertown native said. "Today was one of the goals when I came in as a freshman and I got to experience it. I wish my career wasn't ending right now, but this season has been incredible."

James Madison 5 9 -- 14

Johns Hopkins 4 5 -- 9

Goals: JH--Pearce 2, Crisafulli 2, Putnam 2, Riordan, Voight, Wittelsberger; JM--Decker 7, Berger 5, Buchholz, Brownridge. Assists: JH--Key 3, Pearce, Dean. Saves: JH--Riddick 12; JM--Altig 9.

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