0509_dnr_JMU-Drexel CAA WLAX_14

James Madison head coach Shelley Klaes talks to her team as they wait for the start of the trophy ceremony following their CAA Championship win over Drexel in May.

There are high expectations for the James Madison women’s lacrosse team again this season.

The Dukes were ranked as the No. 12 team in the country in the Nike/USA Lacrosse Division I women’s preseason top 20, according to a release from USA Lacrosse Magazine on Monday.

JMU finished ranked 12 in the final Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association poll from the 2021 season and were also 12th in the Early 2022 Rankings released in September.

Defending national champion Boston College, unsurprisingly, is ranked as the preseason No. 1.

Last spring, the Dukes went 12-5 and reached the NCAA tournament once again. JMU entered the tournament on a seven-game winning streak before falling to North Carolina in the opening round.

Earlier this month, JMU redshirt junior Rachel Matey and redshirt senior Molly Dougherty were recognized as third-team preseason All-Americans by USA Lacrosse Magazine.

The Dukes will certainly earn respect with their difficult non-conference schedule this season.

JMU will face six opponents in 2022 that are also ranked in the top 20 of the preseason poll.

Those opponents are the No. 2 Tar Heels, No. 6 Maryland, No. 11 Virginia, No. 16 Rutgers, No. 17 Drexel and No. 19 UConn. The Dukes open the season against UNC on Feb. 12 at Sentara Park.

In other college sports:

BC, EMU Making Schedule Changes

The Bridgewater College women’s basketball team and Easter Mennonite men’s squad have both had to make schedule changes this week due to COVID-19 issues inside other programs.

The Eagles announced late Monday that their game against Washington and Lee on Jan. 3 had been postponed. The two programs are preparing to play the game at a date later in the season.

Early Tuesday, the Royals announced their game with Wilson College, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 16 at home, has been reset for Dec. 31 at 12 p.m. inside Yoder Arena.

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