May 14 / Todd

Softball Gets Semi-Screwed But Heads to NCAAs; Lacrosse Downs Louisville in Big Dance

We’ll get to the Softball juggernaut in a second, but let’s start with a huge win and a really tough loss from the women of JMU lacrosse. The Dukes went to Louisville on Friday and didn’t just win, but doubled up an ACC foe in the first round of the big dance 12-6. Quite simply, JMU was outstanding and the Cardinals were shook. The Dukes pulled away down the stretch with an impressive second-half run and won their first game in the NCAA tournament since 2010. There is no doubt this program is headed in the right direction.

Unfortunately, the Dukes couldn’t keep up their run agains the tourney’s 4th overall seed Penn St. up in Happy Valley on Sunday, falling 19-14. It certainly wasn’t for lack of effort or heart as the Dukes came all the way back from an early deficit of 8-1 to knot the game up at 9 early in the second half. Even after giving up another run to the Nittany Lions, the Dukes got back within 2 at 16-14 late before running out of gas. Tough night, but nothing at all to hang heads about as the ladies put the program back in the national conversation this year.

In Megan We Trust!

In Megan We Trust!

So now to the bittersweet news concerning the Softball bracket for the Dukes in the Big Dance. Despite 50 wins and an RPI well within the top 16, not to mention some incredible fan-support in last year’s tourney games in Harrisonburg, the Dukes were screwed out of a top 16 overall seed and the opportunity to host a regional. But enough whining. The Dukes did appear to get a certain amount of respect by being slotted in the regional with the mediocre 15-seed Baylor out of the Big 12. Baylor is trash institutionally and while we’re sure their squad is solid, we love the Dukes chances to go in with a chip on their shoulder and advance. JMU will open the double-elimination four-team regional against a middling 28-25 Oregon St. squad Friday at 5 p.m. in Waco on ESPN3. Baylor will take on MAC-trash Kent St. in the other opener. The Dukes are riding a 19-game winning streak and have one of the nation’s best players both on the mound and at the plate in Megan Good. It should also be noted that only one player (Good) and two teams (JMU and Minnesota) got any love from the ESPN crew hosting the Selection Show from outside the 16 seeded teams.

If you like projecting, and you know we do, the 2nd overall seed Arizona potentially awaits the Dukes in the Super-Regional the following weekend. The Super-Regionals also feature a return to their three-day format which means Ms. Good may be available throughout the series. For the record, JMU went to Tuscon last year in the regular season and swept two from the Wildcats so don’t think for one second they would be intimidated. Bottom line, it SUCKS not to fill The Hill next weekend, but we still love the Dukes’ chances in this part of the bracket. And in case you forgot, JMU Nation has had a little success in the Lone Star state already in 2017! Go Dukes!

5 Comments

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  1. ShadyP / May 15 2017

    Total screw-job for softball…..that makes no sense and shows a how big the P5 bias really is in college athletics. However, I think Coach Dean can ‘spin’ this snub and use it effectively to motivate this team. I look for the softball team to go in to Waco with a take no prisoners attitude and steam-roll the Waco Regional.

  2. Olderduke / May 15 2017

    So, yeah, I agree the ladies got the short-straw not being able to host, but don’t resort to calling the other schools trash. JMU will win this regional and then probably host afterwards.

  3. Duke of Richmond / May 15 2017

    @Olderduke If you’ve followed college athletics the last 3-4 years you’d know darn well the “trash” reference directed a Baylor was well deserved.

    But man guys, ruthless towards Kent State..

  4. Olderduke / May 15 2017

    I know everything that has happened at Baylor. Just don’t like lowering ourselves to that level,

  5. Ken / May 15 2017

    @Olderduke: not to burst your bubble too quickly, but for JMU to have any hope of hosting, #2 seed Arizona would have to lose its regional (probably to South Carolina). I believe the odds of that happening are slim or none and none has a 1/2 lap lead on the bell lap.

    In that event I would like to believe that the NCAA would award the super-regional to the team with the higher RPI, currently the Dukes (13 vs. USC’s 23). I would not put it past the committee, however, to reward the SEC again and name USC the host as they would’ve beaten a more highly-ranked opponent.

    Bottom line: don’t lose in-conference and don’t let the committee use one OOC loss (Mercer, 163 RPI) to define your value. Could be worse, we could’ve been 54-3 Minnesota and have to travel to Alabama…

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