HARRISONBURG, Va. — Behind a career-high five goals from both senior attacker Kristen Gaudian and senior midfielder Elena Romesburg, 16th-ranked James Madison topped No. 3 North Carolina 15-14 in double overtime in the 2018 season opener on Saturday afternoon at Sentara Park.
The win marked JMU's first against the Tar Heels since Feb. 29, 2000, ending UNC's five-game win streak in the head-to-head series.
Trailing 14-12 with less than five minutes to play, JMU scored twice down the stretch to force overtime. Romesburg pulled the Dukes to within one with a goal out front with 4:41 to play, and Gaudian squared the game at 14-14 with only 1:26 left when she ripped a shot through multiple UNC defenders for the score. After a scoreless first overtime, Gaudian rushed past a defender down low and placed a bounce shot in the bottom corner of the cage for the game winner just 1:07 in.
Gaudian tied her career-high with five goals and four draw controls, while Romesburg had a career-best five goals and matched her single-game best of five draw controls. Senior midfielder Haley Warden won a career-high eight draw controls, as the Dukes won the battle in the circle 18-15. Warden is now third all-time at JMU with 145 career draws.
Senior attacker Katie Kerrigan also dished out four assists, one of her career-best, and senior defender Rebecca Tooker notched a career-high five ground balls.
JMU out-shot UNC 34-31, including a 27-24 edge in shots on goal. JMU also forced 11 caused turnovers, to UNC's six and the Dukes held a 17-14 advantage in ground balls.
Molly in the clutch
Sophomore goalkeeper Molly Dougherty made her collegiate debut late in the second half, and she came up big in the clutch time and time again in JMU's double overtime win. She recorded eight saves while allowing four goals in 24:14 of playing time. Six of her saves came in the final 17 minutes of regulation before she made two tremendous overtime stops.
Back and forth
JMU and North Carolina played in a classic to open the 2018 campaign, which saw five lead changes and 10 ties in the ball game. UNC never led by more than two goals and JMU took the largest lead of the contest, at 12-9, in the second half before the Tar Heels used a 5-0 run to grab a 14-12 lead with 5:29 to go. JMU scored the game's final three goals, with two in regulation and Gaudian's winner in OT.
Kerrigan's timely passing
Kerrigan tallied four assists in the win, with three coming in the second half. Two of her helpers came during JMU's 4-0 run that gave the hosts its largest of the day. She also recorded the game's final assist on Romesburg goal late in the second half to bring the Dukes to within one. Kerrigan is now 13th all-time with 51 career assists.
Causing problems for UNC's offense
JMU's starting defenders accounted for all but two caused turnovers in Saturday's win, led by Tooker's four. Junior Caroline Sdanowich had three caused turnovers, while sophomore Emma Johnson had a pair. JMU's defense also tallied 10 ground balls, led by Tooker's five and Sdanowich's three.