Cutchins leads JMU to CAA title

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 7, 2006

VIRGINIA BEACH – Behind 14 saves by freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Cutchins (Lakeland) and a penalty stroke goal by sophomore Melissa Walls, second-seeded James Madison defeated top-seeded Old Dominion on Sunday in the championship match of the Colonial Athletic Association Field Hockey Championship.

ODU led the match in shots, 23-1, but Walls’ one shot, in the 22nd minute, was enough.

JMU and Cutchins withstood 14 corners, 17 shots (12 shots on goal) and a saved Monarch penalty shot during the second half.

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Senior midfielder Darcy Pinchbeck (Lakeland) and sophomore forward Katelyn Smither (Lakeland) had two and one shots, repectively, for the Monarchs.

Cutchins finished the three-game tournament with 24 saves and one goal allowed.

Cutchins was named to the All-Tournament Team and JMU’s Baillie Versfeld was Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

ODU’s Caroline Nichols was named the regular season’s Player of the Year.

&uot;It’s a fantastic feeling,&uot; said JMU head coach Antoinette Lucas.

&uot;We’ve wanted o beat a high nationally-ranked opponent all year and I’m not sure we realistically thought it would come in the CAA championship match.&uot;

JMU (15-7) was ranked 17th in the nation coming into the tournament.

With the win, JMU gets an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, which begins on Saturday.

It was JMU’s second CAA championship ever.

ODU (19-3) was ranked second in one national poll and third in another this past week.

ODU had won 13 of the last 15 conference tournaments and the Monarchs have qualified for 25 straight NCAA Tournaments.

The 16-team field for the NCAA Tournament will be announced today and ODU is still expected to be one of the at-large selections.