Feb 26 / Rob

JMU Softball Win Highlights Big Sports Weekend


Yes, we’re leading with JMU softball, despite the fact that the men’s basketball team played its regular season finale over the weekend. The softball team split a pair on the road against the #2 nationally ranked Auburn Tigers. The Dukes snapped the Tigers’ 13 game winnings streak with a 1-0 shutout win. The mens’ hoops team on the other hand, lost a meaningless season finale to Hofstra after already locked themselves into the 7 seed and a return to Pillow Fight Friday in the CAA Tournament. We’ll always root for Coach Rowe and the Dukes, but it’s been a long season and our attention seems to have already shifted to Megan Good and the girls on the diamond. We’re not trying to throw shade at the men. We’ll address it in a separate post, but we believe there is reason to be optimistic for the program under Rowe. This spring though, it’s all about the other sports.

Quite frankly, Megan Good is a badass. If you’re not jumping on the Dukes Softball bandwagon, it’s really your loss. Coach Mickey Deane has built a tremendous program and the girls are showing no signs of dropping off after last year’s historic season. The win over Auburn today, brought the ladies to 12-2 on the season. The team is poised to make another run through the CAA and beyond. If you’re softball fan, you know this. If you’re not a softball fan, give it a chance. The team is a ton of fun.

Good and her teammates were just one highlight in an overall great weekend for the Dukes. Actually, in exception to both squads on the hardwood, it was a pretty epic few days. Coach Ike and the Diamond Dukes busted out the big bats and dropped a football score in a win over UNC Asheville. It’s early, but all signs point to Martin Ikenberry being a great hire.

Women’s Lacrosse Coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe has been at JMU has a few more years in purple & gold than Coach Ike. With the #19 nationally ranked Dukes’ 15-4 win over High Point Saturday in the home opener, Coach Shelley became the all time winningest coach in JMU lacrosse history. The win was her 119th. That’s one more than former coach and JMU Hall of Famer Dee McDonough. It’s also 119 more than any JMU men’s lacrosse coach, because JMU still doesn’t have a varsity team.

Not to be overlooked, the swimming & diving Dukes had a pretty great weekend of their own. Olivia Lehman took first place in both the 1 meter and 3 meter diving at the CAA Championships. Overall, the swimmers took 2nd behind William & Mary.

All in all, it was a great weekend to be a Duke. Just like it always is. All of the spring sports are in full swing and both hoops squads are ready to make some noise in their respective CAA tourneys. The woman probably gave up any hope of an at large bid with today’s loss, but they can still secure the CAA #1 seed with a win and some help in the regular season finale. The men have nothing to lose and are ready to make March a little mad starting Friday night. We’ll be back this week with a little pre-tourney coverage.

4 Comments

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  1. Drake / Feb 27 2017

    Good to see baseball turning things around, too. I was thinking about how our different sports are getting to be consistently ranked nationally. If you look at football (of course), softball, lacrosse, field hockey, women’s soccer (correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t they made the tourney consistently lately?), and women’s basketball, these are programs that are winning and getting recognized nationally. If we did move on to a bigger conference later on, having a recent history of beating these “bigger” programs could certainly influence their decision.

  2. Sunchase / Feb 27 2017

    Drake — women’s soccer had a bid to the NCAA’s in 2015 (lost big to Duke) and again back in 2010 (beat Texas in the first round 3-1). They have a solid squad about every other year.

    The depth of the athletic department is awesome, but it cuts both ways. It could be used as an internal argument against jumping conferences just as soon as it could be viewed as a plus for conferences extending the invite in the first place. I did a guest post on it a couple years back.

  3. CJ / Feb 28 2017

    I’m curious to learn why there’s reason to be optimistic about our basketball program under Louis Rowe. I don’t see much of anything positive you can point to this season: tied for the worst overall record in the CAA, no wins over a decent opponent, a likely early exit from the CAA tournament this weekend. And it’s a good bet next season wouldn’t be any better under Rowe. The numbers speak for themselves….Rowe has to go. In fact, he probably shouldn’t even have been hired in the first place. I loved Rowe as a player and I certainly support JMU alums, but that doesn’t mean he was a good choice for head coach. What credentials did he have? Assistant coach at Bowling Green, are you kidding me? That’s the best we could do? At least Ron Sanchez was associated with a top-tier program with a demonstrated ability to win. I wonder why we couldn’t land him.

    The fact of the matter is that Madison is an entry-level coaching job. We can only afford to pay an entry-level salary, our facilities are mediocre at best, and we can’t fill the stands. But I guarantee you that Rowe is not the guy who can turn this program around.

    JMU can and should do better. Mason found Jim Larranega, VCU found Shaka Smart, even the JMU women’s program found Kenny Brooks. And the best our athletic director can do is Louis Rowe? We might not land a superstar like Mason or VCU, but we can surely find someone who can put together a solid program that beats teams worthier than Eastern Mennonite and Longwood. With a more proven leader, we’ll at least have basis for REAL optimism.

  4. Rob / Feb 28 2017

    @CJ essentially the positive spin on things is that he seems to have recruits coming in who are more athletic than the players on the roster. And based on our conversations with folks who were a part of the program while Rowe was a player, he’s a great guy who can connect with players. This current roster has had nothing to play for pretty much all season, but they’ve gone hard every night. It’s not much, but to me it’s a sign that they haven’t given up and seem to buy in to what Rowe is selling.

    Admittedly, I’ve never been thrilled with the hire, but I’m trying to find the silver lining. I really want Rowe to be successful, but I’m blown away that JMU chose to go with a guy who in every sense of the word, is a project, instead of hiring someone who could capitalize on what Brady did and get JMU to the next level. He clearly has room to grow as a coach, but I’m hoping he can recruit more talented players that provide a bit of a cover as he grows into his role. The CAA isn’t what it once was. Kevin Keatts is likely short for the league and there are no other juggernaut programs. The reality is that it’s probably a league that can be won with little more than superior recruiting.

    Again, I’m really just trying to stay positive and find the silver lining. Rowe might eventually become a great coach. He’s not there yet, but the school isn’t going to let him go, so we might as well support him.

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