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James Madison defeated Towson, 17-6, in Harrisonburg Va. Sunday to earn its second consecutive berth to the DII Final Four. With strong defense and dominance in the set piece, JMU stymied the Towson attack all afternoon.
A defensive struggle, this game was physical from the onset. Both teams tackled extremely, well limiting offensive opportunities. Eric Sweeney put Towson up 3-0 with a penalty, but JMU responded with two tries off penalties. The Dukes outflanked Towson off a quick-tap for the first and used a penalty to get close to maul over a try for the second. On the afternoon, JMU scored three tries coming from wingers Matt Nazerkill and KB Kamane, as well as from prop Mo Katz.
JMU imposed its will all over the field, but especially in the set piece. “I think we dominated every facet of the game today,” said James Madison coach Mark Lambourne. "We dominated them in the scrum and we physically dominated them.” Even with a man advantage from a yellow card to Katz, Towson struggled to get any go forward.
The Dukes kept Towson away from its own try line thanks to solid defensive shape and sure tackling. “We never really got anything going offensively,” said Towson head Coach Don Stone. “Remember we scored 60 points yesterday using the same offensive scheme and to James Madison’s credit, they did nice a job of tackling.”
Despite JMU’s control of the game, a long penalty from Sweeney put Towson within four points of the Dukes with 10 minutes to go. However, James Madison got its third try of the game late to seal the victory.
“When it's all said and done, they reminded me a lot of Towson University, they move the ball, they are always moving forward and they are always moving quickly" said, Stone. "The fact is they did a better job of executing, and they were the better team today.”
James Madison will now travel to Furman University in South Carolina to take on the reigning champions, Minnesota-Duluth in the national semifinals. “There are no easy games now,” said Lambourne. “Duluth will be strong, they are well coached, they have had two big wins and we will have to be at the top of our game to beat them.”