March 2, 2011
No. 9 Dukes outlast No. 20 Hokies, 11-9
Gale makes 10 saves in Tech's first loss.
(9) James Madison (2-0) 6511
(20) Virginia Tech (4-1) 459
  • Thompson Field - 200

BLACKSBURG, Va. – A late first half run would eventually allow the No. 9 James Madison Dukes to top No. 20 Virginia Tech, 11-9, at Thompson Field on Wednesday evening. Despite the difference in rankings, the two teams played a very evenly matched game, as Ariel Lane led the Dukes with four goals and Allie Emala, Brooke Martin and Caitlyn Wier each tallied two scores.

James Madison (2-0) got on the board first but it didn’t take long for Tech (4-1) to respond. After a free position shot by Martin was saved, it ricocheted right back towards her. She reacted quickly and immediately flicked the ball past the keeper to even things a one apiece.

Just over a minute later the Hokies took their first lead of the game when a crashing Emala received a quick pass from sophomore Julia Heaps, who was positioned behind the goal, and buried the ball.

Lane and Ashley Kimener tacked on two more goals for the Dukes to give their team a 3-2 advantage with six minutes remaining in the first half.

Displeased about losing the lead, the Hokies responded immediately, winning the following draw and quickly setting up a scoring opportunity. Wier went straight to the goal after the draw and received a relay pass from junior Jessica Nonn before finding the back of the goal to tie the game at four.

The Hokies tacked on one more goal in the first half before unraveling in the closing minutes and allowing James Madison to score three goals in the final two and a half minutes. The Dukes would take a 6-4 lead into halftime.

The two teams began the second half trading goals for the opening seven minutes, and the Hokies came together again and rallied for a three-goal run over the next seven minutes. Heaps was the first to score, on a pass from Nonn, which forced a James Madison timeout. Tech responded out of the visitor’s timeout with another goal when Emala and Martin connected for the score. Wier capped off the run with a free position goal that again tied things up, this time at eight apiece, with just less than 17 minutes to go in the game.

Play would slow but the Dukes broke the tie with two goals in a two-minute span to give them the 10-8 edge.

Tech battled and Emala was finally able to break through and add another goal for the Hokies, but another score by James Madison with under seven minutes to go and missed shots in the closing minutes would prevent a late comeback.

Tech’s sophomore goalie Alex Gale faced one of her biggest challenges thus far in 2011. Gale finished the game with 10 saves but her impact on the game went beyond her stats. She came up big for the Hokies on numerous occasions, especially free position shots, keeping Tech in the game while also creating momentum for her team.

Alex Menghetti played the full 60 minutes in cage for the Dukes and made nine saves in the game.

Tech saw the slight, 28-22 shooting edge but James Madison took the 13-9 advantage on draws. Every statistical category was nearly identical in the game.

Tech returns to the field on Saturday, March 5 at 1 p.m., hosting George Washington.

For updates on Virginia Tech lacrosse, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Lax).

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